Judaism.SE (which is my usual stomping grounds) has quite a few hermeneutics[1] questions (only of Tanakh, naturally, not the Christian Bible). They are definitely considered on-topic there. Examples:[2]

But on J.SE they're tackled differently from how they'd be tackled here: both with different assumptions (postulates) and with different methods. Two questions may be worded identically on the two sites, but someone asking here would be seeking answers based on Christian Bible hermeneutics, whereas someone asking on J.SE would seek answers based in Judaism. In my opinion, that's not a bad thing. But there are two practical results of that consideration:

  • that users should not be reprimanded for asking the same question both sites — since the questions are not duplicates; and
  • that posts should not be moved from the one site to the other in general. (It does, however, provide an interesting reason to move posts when necessary: namely, when the asker's postulates match the other site's.)

That's my view. Now I'll open the floor to your-all.

[1] At least, what I think is hermeneutics. I'm not that familiar with the term, actually, and not familiar with the field.
[2] There may be much better examples. Again, I'm not familiar with hermeneutics.

  • 4
    One possible view alternative to mine is that hermeneutics questions and answers grounded in Jewish tradition can be on-topic here. While I'll grant that that's worth consideration, in my opinion it is not the way to go, since (a) the expert base is very, very different and (b) J.SE is glad to have those questions.
    – msh210
    Oct 6, 2011 at 22:38
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    Also, just because the expert base is different right now does not mean that we can't bring others from J.SE (or C.SE) over here. If we don't attract experts, this site might fail.
    – Richard
    Oct 7, 2011 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


There's a fine tradition of sites with overlapping scopes but different audiences

SU vs. SF. Unix & Linux vs. AskUbuntu. SciFi vs. Literature... There's nothing inherently wrong with being able to ask more or less the same question on multiple sites...

Of course, the key to making this work is to have different audiences. I'm not necessarily talking about different people - there's no reason someone couldn't answer a question on, say, bash on both Unix & Linux and AskUbuntu, nor is there any reason you couldn't answer a question both here and on Jewish Life and Learning... But the expectation is that you would tailor your answer to the audience: so while your Judaism.SE answer might expect the reader to have some working knowledge of Judaistic doctrine and tradition while glossing over the details of the hermeneutical methodology used to answer, your answer here might be more specific about the method but less concerned about how the results relate to the practice of Judaism.

In other words, the exact same question asked on both sites should result in answers usable to folks who "... base their lives on Jewish law and tradition ..." and answers relevant to "... professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts ...".

But of course, word-for-word identical questions should be somewhat rare, because

Askers should tailor their questions to match the expertise they expect to draw on

There's a fairly common pattern on some sites, where someone will ask a question that's already been asked, in more or less the same form that it has been asked previously, even going to far as to cite the previous question... And then state: "But the answer there doesn't work for me" or "But I can't use that answer". These are sad, because if the asker had only specified why he couldn't use the existing answer, or how the answer failed him, it wouldn't be a duplicate question!

The same principle applies when someone asks a question they've already asked on another site: just specify why you want us to answer it now!

  • +1. Nicely written. Unless I'm misreading you, you agree with the position I outlined (but worded it better :-)).
    – msh210
    Oct 7, 2011 at 6:55
  • I strongly agree that cross-posting is acceptable when you're seeking a different audience. A DBA.SE example of when cross-posting is very useful. If the question needs answers from different (multiple) perspectives, cross-posting is really the only solution. (This reminds me of how wiki posts allow people from different expertises to fill in a complete, canonical post.)
    – Richard
    Oct 7, 2011 at 13:08
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    @msh210: more or less. I feel there's a place for answers here based around the hermeneutical traditions of Judaism as well as Christianity; when it comes to applying the results to one's life questions would be better off on Judaism.SE (or, for that matter, Christianity.SE).
    – Shog9
    Oct 8, 2011 at 4:19
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    J.SE folks consider "there's a place for answers [at J.SE] based around the hermeneutical traditions of Judaism", even without practical application. I suppose it can be the case they're good at both sites.
    – msh210
    Oct 10, 2011 at 20:08
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    Right, @msh2010 - I'm not suggesting that the existence of this site makes anything off-topic for Mi Yodeya... Rather, that if you see a question here that you can answer from the perspective of Judaism hermeneutics, you should feel free to do so.
    – Shog9
    Oct 10, 2011 at 20:33

We need a "real" JudaismSE.

Mi Yodeya is "a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more." This means that Reform Jews and Secular Jews are second-class citizens on the site. So are non-Jews. A "true" JudaismSE would be structured like ChristianSE... not a "Jewish site" per se, but a site to discuss Judaism in all its varieties.

Note: the last sentence above was poorly expressed. What I should have said is 'A "true" JudaismSE would be structured like ChristianSE where all denominations are welcome as equal contributors.' See the chart below and associated article for demographic evidence. enter image description here

  • I've asked 15 questions on Judaism.SE, and never felt like a second-class citizen. (I did feel generally ignorant with respect to the site, but that's because I am.) Oct 16, 2022 at 16:29
  • I would not complain if inot for the fact that "those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition" are placed in a superior position to those who simply identify as Jews. In 2013, Pew Research's Jewish population survey found that 35% of American Jews identified as Reform, 18% as Conservative, 10% as Orthodox, 6% who identified with other sects, and 30% did not identify with a denomination. These statistics have probably shifted in favor of Orthodoxy, but relegating Reform and secular Jews to that status of "learners" is unacceptable IMO Oct 17, 2022 at 1:17
  • I did not place the first paragraph in large type, so it must have been edited by someone. This sort of feels like SHOUTING to me... although I do appreciate that someone must have felt my complaint worthy of attention ;-) Oct 25, 2022 at 3:21
  • also... I should have said "structured like BH.se" rather than C.se... because BH.se accepts Jewish as well as Christian answers, while C.se does not, apparently. Oct 25, 2022 at 3:24

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