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12:14 AM
@swasheck The snark is strong ....
1 hour later…
1:16 AM
It's starting to smell like copy paste
3 hours later…
4:16 AM
I expected more than a pure assertion of opinion from an experienced user: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/4064/208
@JackDouglas in your second post to me, I'm afraid. It looks like what you call "doctrine" (in that case) I call "hermeneutics"; if reasoning from different uses of the same word, expecting them to be related (or have clear reasons they aren't), is doctrine, then (a) everything here is and (b) maybe we're having one of those semantics arguments that can't possibly be resolved. How could we hope to understand the meaning of text if we can't use any of the words it contains? I'm missing something.
1 hour later…
5:34 AM
@MonicaCellio do you mean this one?
Jan 1 at 16:30, by Jack Douglas
@MonicaCellio Implicit in your answer (I think) are the ideas that the text has consistency (the same word used elsewhere can help with the meaning of it here), that the text is speaking to our reasoning minds ("the text seems to be saying..."), that the 'plain' meaning is important (others might argue that 'hidden' meanings are more important). These are all doctrines you and I have in common, but it is good to recognize them as part of our framework nonetheless I think.
@MonicaCellio I've thought all along this is a semantic argument
I want us to define any new guidelines for the site avoiding the word 'doctrine' completely
precisely because it means different things to different people
8 hours later…
1:49 PM
@JackDouglas that's the one. And I'm sorry; if I'd realized we were having a semantic argument I would have bowed out. I thought we were arguing about the role of doctrine in answers, not definitions. If we can agree on the former we can hammer out the latter, but the latter on its own doesn't matter.
But if you prefer: how about we exclude unsupported assertions of truth? It's one thing to say "this is true"; it's quite another to say "such-and-such {doctrine, person, book...} says this is true". (Better still if the answer goes on to explain why that source says so...)
2:38 PM
@MonicaCellio I'm open to the idea of new guidelines that rules that change the balance of how we deal with answers, but I don't personally want to see that rule as it would exclude far too many useful answers.
Something along the lines of: "no answers which contain only unsupported bald doctrinal statements" would be where I'd suggest starting. If we find that helps we could then consider further steps. btw, wheras I think 'doctrine' is very hard to pin down, imo 'bald doctrine' is much easier to agree on (we'd need to test that though).
@MonicaCellio on this, I'd say that 'hermeneutics' is not doctrine, but 'your hermeneutic' is.
@JackDouglas but doctrine is well-enough defined that we can bar it from questions?
@JackDouglas sorry, not following that.
@MonicaCellio we don't afaik?
@MonicaCellio choosing the hermeneutic you like best is a 'doctrinal' choice, no?
@JackDouglas the only thing I find on meta is this, which is related but not what I was remembering. I am 99% certain I've seen either commetns on meta or messages in chat from you saying that doctrine in questions is off-topic. So rather than digging I'll just ask: do you believe that?
@JackDouglas since nobody is going to write a treatise applying all hermeneutics to a question, people always choose where to focus in answering. It sounds like we're in "semantics" territory again.
2:55 PM
@MonicaCellio I don't believe we all mean the same thing when we say 'doctrine', so my best summing up of all those comments on meta has been: "start from the text"
@JackDouglas ok. Why isn't that a reasonable thing to apply to answers too?
(oops, meeting coming up -- not ignoring you)
It could be, and I think Jon suggested it once, but I'm not convinced that it would be helpful, because the question has already done that.
no worries btw
again I think there are many useful answers on the site that do not start from the text
here's a good example, the highest voted, accepted answer here:
A: The Eye of the Needle

Bruce AldermanThe idea of the "eye of the needle" being a gate apparently had its origins in the Middle Ages. From The Straight Dope: Next, the history and archaeology. The notion your Baptist friend has picked up apparently comes from a single ninth-century commentary which asserts that in first-century ...

I much prefer my answer (of course!), because it goes back to the text:
A: The Eye of the Needle

Jack DouglasIf it did refer to something that was merely difficult, the immediate reaction of the disciples would be incomprehensible: 26And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?"   ESV As would Jesus' response: 27Jesus looked at them and said, "With ...

but I don't want to start saying we don't want answers like Bruce's
3 hours later…
5:33 PM
@JackDouglas +1 ... nice work keeping the logic simple and straight-forward. clean answers like this deserve more praise
2 hours later…
7:26 PM
@JackDouglas I agree that Bruce's answer is good. (I had previously upvoted yours.) Questions that ask about historical context, like that one and my Avram-rescuing-Lot one, may be different. Need to think more (and cull some counter-examples from my downvotes list).
8:00 PM
@JackDouglas Hmm... I think you can have answers that start from the text and build up an argument organically or you can have answers that report what experts have said on the question, but if we've been asking our questions well, answers that assert truth without starting from either the text or scholarship will fail to be answers.
(Obviously I'm mostly thinking of the "What does this passage mean?" class of questions which are the most common type.)
8:15 PM
@JonEricson yes, me too, but I think there are probably many other useful answers even to these questions that don't neatly fit the "build up an argument organically or [...] report what experts have said" mold. I just don't want to be unnecessarily prescriptive—I think sometimes a 'common sense' answer could be a good answer, an emotional response could possibly be a useful answer and so on...
8:47 PM
@JackDouglas I've been pondering this for a while and while I don't want to be prescriptive either, I can' think of any examples. Do you have one?
2 hours later…
10:43 PM
@JackDouglas wouldn't a "common-sense" answer be one that's built up organically from the text? I won't speak for Jon (though I don't think he would disagree), but I don't think all answers need to be appeals to authority. There is room here for original work. But that's not the same thing as the bald assertions of truth, err Truth that characterize some of our answers.
We can cite and talk about doctrinal positions without asserting them as Truth. Answers should be supportable by facts and arguments. We should all try to talk a little less personally and more dispassionately about the doctrines we hold dear.
@MonicaCellio I agree with you, but you must also recognize that this is not possible for some and they would argue that those who can do this are postmodernists ;)
10:59 PM
@DanO'Day postmodernists are supposed to be the ones who can set aside emotion and personal opinion in favor of a scientific method? I'm not really up on this but that's not what I would have expected.
@MonicaCellio not exactly, but the hyper-fundamentalist types (most JWs, some Christian groups) would argue that not asserting their truth as the Truth means they don't really believe it, and so those who are content to present their ideas on a smorgasbord of others don't really believe them.
@MonicaCellio again, I agree with you. To me it's a courtesy issue. I'm just playing devil's advocate a little
@DanO'Day oh, like what Kazark said here?
@MonicaCellio a perfect example
@DanO'Day It is a courtesy issue. I respect Kazark (and others who follow that approach), and if we were in a church I'd say "hey, go for it!". But here, I think the need of the community has to trump individual feelings of obligation to spread Truth, and that that can be ok if we say firmly "we recognize that we are limiting your need to spread the word here, but we don't say it's bad for you to do that elsewhere".
Besides, as noted in the comments on Kazark's post, if we go down that path we're signing up for knife-fights. Really, do we need that? Can't we all agree up front that we hold different Truths but we find each other worth talking to anyway? Can't we check those assertions of Truth at the door and get on with the discussion?
@MonicaCellio and that's a compromise those folks won't make.
11:10 PM
@DanO'Day that's sad. :-(
@MonicaCellio they would argue that "checking assertions of Truth at the door" doesn't allow them to participate
@DanO'Day I take it none of these folks feel comfortable in secular academia either?
@MonicaCellio I agree.
I'd like to have both Kazark and a knife-fight-free zone, but if I have to choose I will reluctantly opt for the latter.
I do not think we can have that perspective without fights and people getting upset.
@MonicaCellio yes and no. Anti-intellectualism can be a staple for many (especially in religious movements that de facto make false historical claims), but others retreat into enclaves where they have fairly scholarly folks who were educated at great institutions (who can/could make these compromises) who now teach in institutions dedicated to a perspective so that others do not have to make them
11:14 PM
@DanO'Day yeah, I assume the dynamic is completely different at an affiliated school vs a secular one. (I've been to Jewish seminaries and I know what we do. :-) )
I've got to drop off for a couple hours. Back later.
@MonicaCellio adios, me too soon. Probably won't be back on until tomorrow (but ya never know)

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