For a summary of issues that engendered this question, see its initial sister question.

This question is about the tag.

Currently our site tag summary for is:

The immediate literary setting in which a text appears.

The extended description is:

Context is the broad literary setting in which a given smaller text appears. It is sometimes distinguished from the co-text, a more specialist term for the immediate literary setting of a given text. In text and language analysis, "context" is especially associated with the concept of "pragmatics",

Pragmatics is sometimes characterized as dealing with the effects of context. This is equivalent to saying it deals with utterances, if one collectively refers to all the facts that can vary from utterance to utterance as ‘context.’

Questions with this tag will focus on the nature of the context of the specified text, and the constraints it places on the understanding of that text.

As its sister question summary of issues reveals, most textual questions could be tagged . But if most could be tagged so, what specific parameters make a question actually worthy of having this tag applied?

  • 1
    Perhaps we need to get rid of the context tag and specify the type of context: Eg, historical-context and literary-context (are there more types of context?) Aug 1, 2017 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


First of all, as noted by James Shewey in a comment, there are different types of contexts.

I think this easily becomes way too complicated and will inevitably lead to more confusion and frustration for new users as to when to use this tag over others.

I propose burnination of the tag.

  • I think tagging questions about extra-biblical writings using the history tag is a great idea, but if we do this, then the context tag should not be synonymous. The reason being, there is also cultural context which uses anthropology and archeology and literary context (the context of a passage within the manuscript) neither of which necessarily involve other historical writings. Aug 2, 2017 at 17:47
  • But I too vote for burnination of the context tag! Aug 2, 2017 at 17:48
  • 1
    @JamesShewey I think we should keep tags such as literary-genre, literary-structure, and cultural-analysis, which I believe adequately address these.
    – Dan
    Aug 2, 2017 at 18:25
  • 1
    @JamesShewey I don't see why we need a tag at all for internal context of a text. That's like tagging every question on Stack Overflow with programming-language - it's implied and adds no value for finding questions by tags. Every answer about a text should consider its internal context where relevant.
    – Dan
    Aug 2, 2017 at 18:28
  • What about a question that specifically asks about the literary "context" of a passage? One might ask a question such as "Why does X writer use Y terms in other places, but Z term here?" That is not a genre or a structure question, but maybe grammar. But since you note the "a hyper-/hyponymous" relation of "context" to these other tags, maybe it would be useful to only allow the context tag on questions that have particular tags also applied. The value of that would be that if one were doing a "contextual" study of a passage, one only need search "context" (not every subtag of it).
    – ScottS
    Aug 2, 2017 at 19:04
  • @ScottS The computer scientist in me is screaming "NOOO!!" The correct way to handle that would not be to have multiple tags (again, it will be too confusing for new users and isn't sustainable), but rather to prefix tags names with some common search element. So context-genre, context-structure, etc. That way context-* finds them all. To illustrate this, type [literary-*] into the search bar on the main BH.SE site.
    – Dan
    Aug 2, 2017 at 19:44
  • Okay, so are you proposing that we consider changing "literary-genre" to "context-genre," et al.? And maybe even "cultural-analysis" to "context-cultural"? My point was more that somehow all "contextual" questions could be searched easily, which your point about [X-*] makes sense (though some non-programming users may not find that intuitive).
    – ScottS
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:16
  • After reading ScottS's three questions, this tag stood out to me as too broad to be helpful. Agree on burnination.
    – Soldarnal
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:39
  • @ScottS no, I'm proposing we just burninate this tag and stop using it. But I wanted to point out there is a better way to find things by tag than requiring two tags (there is no way to make a tag dependent on another and thus it would be unenforceable and quickly unmanageable).
    – Dan
    Aug 3, 2017 at 0:06
  • I think it would be better to make history a synonym of historical-context, and to add other history-based tags as needed.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:51
  • @Dan Literary-context is definitely valuable in some places, because it's often ignored by exegetes. Proverbs, parables, psalms - they're all frequently considered in isolation, and it's fair for wanting a tag for questions explicitly after a contextually-informed interpretation.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:54
  • Another type of context would be canonical-context.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:54
  • @curiousdannii see my comments above. Specifically, if we are keeping those tags, it may make sense to frontload context- in the name so we can easily find those tags. As an example, go to the main site and search for [literary-*]
    – Dan
    Aug 3, 2017 at 15:27

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