7

Reviewing recent questions tagged , I couldn't help but notice that quite a few of them have been marked "on-hold." Some are closed as "primarily opinion-based" while others are marked "off-topic." A couple of my own were marked on-hold, but I noticed some others as well that I was surprised to find off-topic:

How do we decide if a biblical instruction is cultural or transcultural?

Don't we need Biblically definitive eisegesis to Exegete properly?

Is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis relative to the reader?

In one a comment says, "Ask questions about specific passages."

In another, the asker was told, "On this site, topics (which are not attached to specific biblical texts) are, necessarily 'off-topic'. Such is the nature of hermeneutics."

However, our help pages clear list questions about hermeneutical approaches as being on topic and these questions do not strike me as fundamentally different from old well-accepted questions asking about the hermeneutical process itself on the site like:

How can we determine if a text is sarcastic?

What is the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics?

Where does the "slippery slope" of allegorical interpretations start?

Neither do these questions seem to run afoul of our don't ask guidelines. They're not "What's your favorite hermeneutical approach" type questions.

I have a number of other theory questions I'd like to ask concerning context and its effects and relation to texts, but I don't want to ask them if they are no longer welcome here.

My theory, though, is that there is confusion created by the off-topic close reason #1 which says, "Questions about biblical topics but without a specific Bible passage are off-topic as hermeneutical methods cannot be applied when no text is referenced." I have long understood this close reason as intended to guard against questions like, "Can God see the future?" or "Is Hell a real place?" But it seems to have been interpreted as saying all questions that aren't directly exegetical questions are off-topic.

Are questions about still welcome? And if so, is the existing close reason a source of confusion? And if so, are there suggestions for how we can clarify it?

| |
9

As far as I'm concerned, yes these always have been and still should be on topic. I've been kind of frustrated when I've run across similar things where some of our community can't seem to separate the field of hermeneutics from random theological debate.

I understand why theological topics not framed against a specific passage on which hermeneutics can be exercised would be off topic (and fully in agreement), but that doesn't mean that all the questions that are about the process of hermeneutics are not of imminent topicality to the expertise we're supposed to have here should be off topic.

Sometimes these genre of question are poorly framed because what the author is really fishing for is "whose dad can beat up whose dad", but the issue of framing questions in a way that makes them answerable –even if you disagree– is a different from the subject matter being off topic.

| |
  • 1
    Couldn't agree more on all counts. I've voted to delete hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/28728/… but not because it is off topic. – Jack Douglas Feb 13 '19 at 10:06
  • Hear, hear! Good to have this Q&A in Meta. – Dɑvïd Feb 13 '19 at 10:32
  • 3
    Agree! Newer users need to be educated that questions about hermeneutics itself (theory, approaches) do not require a text. I've been frustrated by that being used as a possible close to questions that are valid, but not textual based, because they fall under this. – ScottS Feb 13 '19 at 17:51
  • Are questions actually being wrongly closed? I don't hardly even remember seeing any of these questions come up in the close vote queue. – curiousdannii Feb 16 '19 at 6:27
  • @curiousdannii Yes. I unilaterally re-opened two of the ones listed in this question, and dozens more over the last couple years. – Caleb Feb 17 '19 at 7:41
  • @Caleb Here's one I think was wrongfully closed. It's already actually be reopened once before so I can't vote again. – curiousdannii Feb 22 '19 at 3:02
  • 1
    @curiousdannii I tend to agree with you, but I've already been the one to vote that back open once, and with the issue of being broad still out there I'm a little shy to just mod-hammer it back open. I think we could use a meta post dedicated to that one. – Caleb Feb 22 '19 at 5:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .