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Summary of the Issue

This is the first of three meta questions on site tags (, , ) so that each tag can have its own relevant discussion/answers, allowing for upvoting on individual thoughts about a particular tag.

The question arises from a recent (as of this post) discussion in the Library starting here and going through a few back and forth iterations. That discussion revealed some different tagging philosophies on these three distinct tag names.

The primary issue with them is pointed out in that Library discussion by Dɑvïd (bold added):

I think we need some discipline in the use of especially these sorts of tags, because on the grounds you suggest here, probably 90%+ of our Q's could have these tags! There are precious few questions on BH.SE that won't have some historical or contextual element!

However, I'm not really sure that the "grounds [I] suggest" are that different from what Dɑvïd holds. Rather, I just think the question that engendered the discussion is being viewed from two different perspectives by each of us. He sees it:

The Q is about the extent of Pauline knowledge one can find in Revelation

The result is he does not consider any of the three tags in question as appropriate for the question.

I see that same question as much broader than that, in line with what the OP actually stated in the question title and summary (bold added)

[Title =] What evidence is there the writer of Revelation was aware of the apostle Paul?

[Summary =] Is this evidence the writer of Revelation was aware of the apostle Paul? Is there other evidence the author of Revelation was aware of Paul and his work as an apostle?

So then I see the question as being about any/all of:

  1. The related to the author's historical context that might shed light on the author's knowledge of Paul.
  2. The literary of the book of Revelation that might shed light on the author's knowledge of Paul.
  3. The apparent author's awareness (as the OP noted) that shed's light on the of Revelation.

So how/when to actually use these tags apparently needs some discussion.

This question is about the tag.

Currently our site tag summary for is:

Events in the Bible, the wider cultural background of those events, and the biblical text itself, all have a historical dimension.

The extended description is:

Questions with this tag may be interested in either the history of events narrated within the Bible or of Bible times generally, or about the history of the biblical text itself.

Examples of questions about biblical history include:

An example of an interest in textual history:

It has been determined before that history questions, assuming some relevant relation to the Bible is made, are valid.

But if most textual questions could be tagged , what specific parameters make a question actually worthy of having this tag applied?

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As you noted, virtually any question here could be tagged with . As such, it becomes almost meaningless. I propose the following:

When a question is tagged with , the question is seeking extra-biblical historical source(s) with the purpose of understanding something in a primary (or secondary) text.


CAVEAT: I'm not too confident about using the terms/phrases "extra-biblical" (since a different biblical text could serve as an adequate historical source for another) and "primary (or secondary) text" (since this may be too narrow; I can envision good questions about tertiary texts that elucidate the study of primary biblical texts). Feel free to propose a better-worded answer and DV this one. I'm just getting the discussion/voting started.

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  • I'm not sold on this by any means. I just figured I'd kick things off with something to vote on. – Dan Aug 2 '17 at 16:51
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    I understand (and to some extent agree) with your Caveat on the use of "extra-biblical." We do have an intertextuality tag that may cover questions that are cross-textual (though that tag has no description, and is applied to only six questions, so its use may need more defining also). But your description here does not cover the case of the last example question in the tag description, which is more about history of a Bible translation, and not about "understanding a primary (or secondary) text." But thanks for a contribution to get the discussion started. – ScottS Aug 2 '17 at 18:53

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