This question currently has two close votes for the following 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, I would argue it is on-topic as it is about "hermeneutical approaches". The close reason is, as I see it, meant for questions like these: four words; favourites of Christ; involuntary singles. The question linked at the start of this post falls into a broader group of 'meta-questions' about hermeneutics, together with several of our highest-voted questions: exegesis vs. hermeneutics; Jewish vs. Christian; Enoch; LXX.

Can we reformulate the off-topic close reason to not generate this confusion?

  • IMO that question is on-topic but too opinion based.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 7:03
  • @curiousdannii I modified the question to ask what the alleged hermeneutic value chiastic structure has.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 7:07
  • Why not use the "Other" close option so that you can better explain the specific close reason? Commented Jul 24, 2018 at 17:41

2 Answers 2


I agree the close reason is sometimes miss-used, and would be incorrect applied to that question, but that doesn't mean it's actually an invalid close reason.

Questions "about Biblical topics" is meant to cover abstract doctrinal questions. Questions about the application of hermeneutics itself as a field are of course on topic and should not have this close reason applied to them.

The specific question you pointed to is clearly a question about a hermeneutical method and on topic even without a specific passage.

  • 2
    I agree that the close reason is a good one, and would not want to remove it. However, changing the wording can help the users who seem to be miss-using it. Apparently, they only read the close reason, not the help centre, and see if the close reason can be applied strictu sensu to the question. Changing the wording to something that better fits the intention can help with this.
    – user2672
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 17:36

Questions about hermeneutical approaches are unambiguously allowed by the help center even when not based on biblical passages.

Questions that do not arise from a Biblical text are off-topic unless they are about hermeneutical approaches. Not sure? You can find much more detail and all the nuances on our meta site.

It seems to me that the enforcement of the biblical text rule is getting a little more aggressive than it was in the beginning. Compare some old (and well-received) questions with these new ones:

Why is the Septuagint (LXX) significant? and Nestle-Aland equivalent critical apparatus for early New Testament translations (!) vs. What are the biggest differences between a textus receptus and a Nestle-Aland critical text? (closed, deleted)

Did John know about the Synoptics? vs. Is John 1:1-18 a forgery? (closed, deleted)

What distinguishes an excellent concordance? vs. Which resources are essential for self-study of Biblical Hebrew? (closed)

Arguments for early/late date of authorship of Daniel vs. Dating the New Testament (closed)

Whatever issues these questions might have, the close reason given for all of them (except one) was that the question was off-topic.

It's a little concerning to me that this close reason, which was intended only to keep away doctrinal questions, is used so often, because it prevents a lot of potentially good questions about the Bible, which is the topic of the site.

  • 1
    I agree that there seems to be a trend, thanks for the other references. About the reformulation: if the reason is meant to prohibit doctrinal questions, maybe it should just say that. That seems safer than whitelisting all kinds of questions that would be on topic even without biblical reference. I'm not quite sure what would be a good formulation for this, however.
    – user2672
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 21:18
  • On Philosophy, we have a close reason "While this question may be related to philosophy or occur in a philosophical context, the question itself doesn't seem to be about philosophy, and is therefore not a good fit for our site." Perhaps something along those lines would be good - although Philosophy's text is too vague; ideally the text is helpful for the OP.
    – user2672
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 21:21

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