I'm a mod on Christianity.SE and I get some flags for questions that users think belong here. Like this one:

I'd agree, this is a hermeneutics question and it matches up with the flowchart (which is a very handy guide for non-migration).

The problem is the last sentence is asking for "what is the Catholic Church's take on it". I'm a Catholic and I would usually answer these questions by consulting some ancient commentary, but isn't this practicing hermeneutics?

Or is it that since it's a grab-bag style question where any non-heretical-to-Catholicism interpretation would suffice that this is not an appropriate style question for this site

Or are question specifically not supposed to be scoped to denominations here? I notice you don't have a , which is a pretty popular one over at Christianity.SE.

  • I thought the rule of thumb is whether a traditional interpretation is being challenged, or whether a tradition is being relied upon for proper interpretation. We seem to challenge everything here, (even concordances, lexicons, grammars, etc.,). But - historical interpretations from the earliest church are often on topic-here. So, why not discuss it, in comments, with the OP? Dec 12, 2017 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


Sometimes oven on C.SE people tack on a denominational angle like that just to obey the letter of the law hoping to ask their generic truth questions in spite of the guidelines against that sort of thing. Catholisim as one of the largest and most namable traditions is receives the lions share of these jury rigged questions.

There is no single right way to handle them. In the case of the question you cited it doesn't look too tacked on — the OP is at least sort of thinking along the necessary lines to ask a question there. The fact that they cite the RSVCE is a good hint in that direction. I might suggest they re-ask their question on this site if they want a particularly hermeneutical answer. If what they really want is as exposition of the text from a Catholic perspective then they are already in the right place. I certainly wouldn't migrate that question as-is.

On the other hand I've seen plenty of questions where the "according to X" is literally tacked on as an after thought or edit trying to dodge closure. In these cases you have to feel out what they are after. If they have a really thoughtful question arising naturally from a text then I will often migrate and maybe lightly edit to be appropriate here. On the other hand if they have a question about some Christian belief and are just using a text as a reference point (sometimes this is even in the form of an challenge: "How can Christians believe X when Y says Z?") or if they seem to be more interested in figuring how they should practice some element of the faith then those questions are not good candidates for migration.

  • So there are numerous hermenuetics within Catholicism. But I don't think anyone asks many questions on either site asking for a specific one. But if they did, which site would be a better fit? Dec 6, 2017 at 13:27
  • @PeterTurner I'm pretty sure you don't mean "hermeneutics" in this context but something closer to "interpretive framework". The literal answer if you actually mean questions asking about how an actual hermeneutical method works would be this site, but I'm pretty sure the answer to what you're actually thinking about is they belong on Christianity.
    – Caleb
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:07
  • I've heard the way Pope John Paul II constructed the Theology of the Body referred to as "a hermeneutic". And he uses the word frequently here to mean different things you might consider interpretive frameworks. I guess if hermeneutics is one thing (a purely anthropological understanding of the Bible; which would be antithetical to Catholicism) then there's no point in ever migrating a question that remotely asks for a Catholic answer on Christianity Dec 6, 2017 at 15:52

I believe that all on this site have a common understanding that "hermeneutics" means simply the principles by which Biblical texts are interpreted.

Although many of the most active and highest reputation members seem to favor a hermeneutic style more rooted in Protestant traditions, Roman Catholics and Orthodox believe that the Bible must be interpreted "with the mind of the Church" (an Orthodox expression, at least).

As one of the few Orthodox participants here (I think), I generally don't get into too much trouble with my Protestant brethren (anymore, at least). I try to focus on the literal meaning of Greek (and sometimes Hebrew texts). When I do call attention to an Orthodox interpretation of Scripture, I generally try to confine myself to Church Fathers of the first millennium, and I quote them either to illustrate how someone (Greek) understood the text in antiquity or to simply amplify a point that I tried to make otherwise without reference to the Church.

When discussing the meaning of a word, I sometimes prefer to illustrate how it is used in the context of something the Church Fathers wrote about the passage. I do this not to hammer some doctrinal point, though, but rather as an alternative to cutting and pasting pages from a Lexicon (which are based partly on the same material anyway).

So I guess what I am saying, is that I think I have been able to participate here as a firmly believing Orthodox Christian without throwing Orthodox doctrine in people's faces, so to speak. When someone asks, for example, for the Biblical definition of something, I might consult Philaret of Moscow, but rather than quote him directly ("Metropolitan Philaret says in Article 255 of the Longer Catechism of the Orthodox Church ..."), I might simply quote and discuss the same Scriptures that he quotes and discusses, following more or less his interpretation.

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