The post In Gen. 4, Seth is “appointed” as another seed “instead of Abel.” What is the ancient interpretation of this appointment? was quickly put on hold with the reason:

"Questions about biblical topics but without a specific Bible passage are off-topic as hermeneutical methods cannot be applied when no text is referenced."

However, in What texts are open for examination? (meta) (also linked to in comments for explanation) I currently fail to read the the original question was indeed 'in violation' of these site rules. This is not to challenge the site rules or moderator decisions. This is just a request for clarification to help me understand better how this site is supposed to work.

In my eyes the original post might have been a little tad on the periphery of the subject, which should have been fine according to e.g.

If there are related texts which experts in this field tend to study because the texts are so closely tied to the subject, I would include them as "on topic" for this site.
Annotate those texts here, if you must, but err towards being inclusive if the experts here can authoritatively answer the questions posed.

Since I do not know what to make of that: are the close reason given and the meta-post in conflict with one another or have I misread the meta-post?

1 Answer 1


As I check this question, it appears to be open and not on hold. This question seems to be asking about the interpretation of Genesis 4:25, but then also asks about a pseudepigraphal text. It is probably the pseudepigraphal text which caused some users to feel this was off topic. My personal feeling is that this should be on-topic because the pseudepigraphal text is used to illustrate the historical interpretation of Gen 4:25 - and this question is asking about the historical understanding of this verse. This seems wholly on topic to me and if it comes across my review queue, I would vote to keep or re-open.

In any event, I will draw your attention a post I made a few weeks ago for situations just like this that may be helpful. This seems to be one of those cases where

Closures and holds aren't necessarially final and community moderators are often split on their views of a question. Just as 5 community moderators voted to close your question, if you can make your case to the community, you may be able to convince 5 it is a worthwile, topical question and get then to vote to reopen the question.

It will now take an additional set of 5 votes to close this by users who have not already voted because the system itself is architected to err towards being inclusive. If community moderatorship is split, the system errs towards inclusivity.

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    This info is true enough in general but is not what happened to this question. The edit history for tells a bit more of the tale: the community being split wasn't the issue here so much as the original question was coming at the problem from an extra-Biblical literature angle and an editor completely refocused it to approach the problem from the direction of this site's expertise, hence bringing it on topic and getting it reopened.
    – Caleb
    Dec 21, 2017 at 9:00
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    @LangLangC - I believe what you are looking for can be found in this meta post Dec 21, 2017 at 18:01

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