Just now, I asked an extremely general question. When I first began formulating it, I had two specific texts in mind (the two times I remember Jesus using Aramaic in Mark). But as I researched the question, I found more and more texts that fit my criteria and I morphed the question into an answer (since the answer became clear at that point). The question I posed in the end, didn't reference any particular text at all.

But now I wonder if we should deal with questions that don't ask about particular texts. Since I knew exactly what I was asking, I was able to answer in what I believe is a manner appropriate for the site. But when the site goes into the public beta, I suspect questions such as mine will be answered by some newcomers in a more general fashion. (E.g., "My pastor says Jesus always spoke Shakespearean English.")

Requiring interpretive questions (as opposed to questions of hermentutical methods themselves) to include at least one quotation, might discourage overly board questions such as What Does the Bible Teach About Hell? It would also limit doctrinal questions to some degree.

What say you?

  • Just so everything is clear (as mud), I've been reworking the question so that I think it fits with the aim of this site. My solution was to ask about one of many uses of Aramaic and thereby avoid the general question. If the trick works, it's evidence that asking about specific texts is a good path to use for fixing overly-general questions. Oct 10, 2011 at 22:16
  • The issue is not so much whether you've quoted some scripture in your question--it's more about whether that's what your question about. In the case of your question, we weren't being asked to interpret that verse specifically; rather, the question was about background information, and the verse seemed to be a springboard to the question. Don't get me wrong--it's a good question. We just need to be pretty strict on this site about what is on-topic and what is not.
    – Ray
    Oct 11, 2011 at 10:29
  • @Ray: I think we are in agreement. However, my suggestion here is that some of these questions can be fixed by requesting the asker rephrase the question to focus on one (or, in the case of a survey-type question, a representative sample) text. Oct 11, 2011 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


Yes and No

There are two types of questions here that seem to be on topic: hermeneutical questions and exegetic questions.

If you're asking about hermeneutics, you're asking about a particular approach or theory. There's not really much "text" involved unless your quoting text from a theory. In this sense, we can't really require text.

If you're asking for exegesis, then you're wanting the translation or interpretation of a given piece of biblical text. In this case, you really do need to include at least some text for the question to make any sense.

For example of a survey question regarding a word in multiple places, see How can we understand “fear”?. I included multiple passages for exegesis and translation so that people answering the question would have some traction to the question. Otherwise, the question becomes impossibly broad.

  • Good point. Late in the formulation of the question, I noticed that difference myself. I think what you call exegetic questions is what I called questions of interpretation. But I didn't think of survey questions, which it turns out my question (about Aramaic) really is (or rather was when I first started asking it). Oct 10, 2011 at 22:32
  • 2
    Exegesis coves both interpretation and translation. It's really applied hermeneutics.
    – Richard
    Oct 11, 2011 at 0:01

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