I wasn't able to find in the on-topic page what exactly are like the...rules or paradigms or not sure of term for the site. Hopefully you'll know what I mean by the end of this post.

The thing is...there are these rules in, say, Christianity se that are like 'no truth questions', 'specify a denomination when necessary', etc. Meanwhile I notice many questions here don't specify a denomination (or even a religion in the case of overlapping stuff of Judaism and Christianity, or even possibly Islam or Baháʼí or whatever Abrahamic thingy. Or even atheist viewpoints according to the on-topic page)

Here, let's say I ask a question about some particular Bible verse. Say in Genesis.

  1. How am I not expecting that there could be possibly like a hundred answers each coming from different denominations of Judaism or Christianity (or whatever re round bracket remark earlier)? I can imagine there would be a Roman Catholic answer, an Eastern Catholic answer, a JW answer, a greek orthodox answer, an Orthodox jewish answer, a Conservative jewish answer, a Reform jewish answer etc and then somehow all these answers would be different. And then ostensibly I end up with, to paraphrase the words of 1 of my philosophy instructors in university towards the end of the course, 'not really an answer/answers, but instead another question/more questions'. (In the philosophy class, we don't really learn the answers to things like the trolley problem but rather we end up thinking about questions for these kinds of things.) This sounds like 'asking for a link to your institution's credit by exam policy'.

  2. I mean...Is there some underlying assumption that there's really some unique interpretation (or like only a few distinct interpretations) of what a particular verse means? Or are questions really intended to get/should questions be ready to get potentially a hundred answers like they're list questions?

1 Answer 1


thanks for this question, it's a great observation that does express a challenge many new users find when getting acquainted with the site.

Essentially, the key you're looking for is wrapped in the opening paragraph of the Site Tour:

Biblical Hermeneutics is a question and answer site for anyone who wants to know what a Biblical text means (exegesis) using the techniques or rules of interpretation (hermeneutics). We welcome Jewish, Christian, Atheist and other viewpoints as long as they take seriously the process of understanding the Biblical texts.

There are also some good thoughts on the points of differentiation between the BH and Christianity SE sites, which you may find helpful.

Essentially the key here is to try your best to leave your starting assumptions for any text 'at the door', and use the tools of hermeneutics to exegete texts in their own context. So we're less interested in your starting biases and more interested in whether your answers demonstrate good exegesis and critical thought.

  • ok thanks this does seem to answer my question but it does seem a little weird...why isn't it in the on-topic page? i've never seen so far someone answers on meta with the site tour...i never check the site tour for answers about the site XD
    – BCLC
    Aug 25, 2021 at 15:59
  • 1
    The paragraph I've quoted is also more or less the first two lines of the On Topic page too! Is there something specific from the other link I provided which you think would be helpful to add? Thanks again for the feedback.
    – Steve can help Mod
    Aug 30, 2021 at 13:16
  • So I can ask without specifying from what perspective I want an answer and could end up with, say, 2 different and possibly even conflicting answers, 1 from a Christian perspective and 1 from a Jewish perspective?
    – BCLC
    May 27, 2022 at 5:44
  • @BCLC - Yes, though properly in hermeneutics all answers should all be anchored on the text, not the interpreter. It's all about what the text meant to the original author or recipients, using the tools of textual analysis. We all being our own biases, but we try not to!
    – Steve can help Mod
    May 27, 2022 at 14:55

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