I am referring to this question where it is quite clear that the OP refers to the transfiguration but has not stated which gospel account or the actual text reference.

It is not a 'topic' question : the request is very specific about a single occurrence of an event.

The question is up-voted four times (no down-vote) and has three answers, all from users with high reputation figures.

Was it really necessary to close this question ?

Could there not have been a simple request for the (new) user to edit and include a reference ?

I note that the user has only been with us for four days and thus is deserving of extra courtesy and assistance.

Could we please open re-open this question and could we just edit in (or request the OP to do so) the required textual reference.


If a question is about a passage which can be clearly identified, and which is in just one part of the Bible, I think you're right that we should edit the question to explicitly mention it.

But I don't think we should necessarily do that for the Gospels. What you have written above implies that for a passage like the transfiguration each Gospel is interchangeable. Or perhaps instead that we can simply harmonise the passages, and that a Gospel harmony is as relevant as the Gospel texts themselves.

While Gospel harmonies have their place, to say that we should interpret any question about the Gospels that doesn't explicitly state a passage reference as instead referring to the relevant part of a Gospel harmony is something I cannot do. The Gospels are not interchangeable, and any Gospel harmony is a work of human analysis, not a primary text (and especially not an inspired text, for those of us who believe in divine inspiration.) I don't think we can actually do Biblical exegesis on a Gospel harmony. We could study one, but the result would not be an interpretation of the Bible.

Alternatively, such a question asks us to consider the texts separately and bring them together - which is theological synthesis, or systematic theology - another important discipline, but not the topic of this site.

So for these reasons I think the question should stay closed, until the author specifies a particular Gospel they want answers to investigate. Maybe there wouldn't be any practical difference, but I think it upholds the important principle that the subject matter of this site is the investigation of Biblical texts, and not theology or Biblical topics more broadly.

  • Thank you for the rapid response. Yes, I take your point on the gospels and the necessity of not conflating them. So, a simple edit and a choice of one gospel should do the trick ? – Nigel J Apr 7 at 12:21
  • @NigelJ Yes but I think it should be the original author who is choosing which Gospel to focus on. Both so that they learn how the site operates, and so that someone else doesn't bias the question according to their own inclinations some how. Even though it probably wouldn't matter for this specific question if someone else did it, I'd prefer the OP did it. – curiousdannii Apr 7 at 12:24
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    In the interim I have edited and added the following comment I have edited to focus on Matthew's account in order to bring the question into line with site requirements. Please feel free to edit to another gospel account, if that is desired For all we know the user is now discouraged and may never visit the site again. So I would like to preserve the question, whatever the situation may be. – Nigel J Apr 7 at 12:32

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