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12:10 AM
@JonEricson I think that my answer will stop the knife fights by dropping a bomb.
@JackDouglas ... i know you're going to hate it ... and please know i respect you for that :)
6 hours later…
6:24 AM
@swasheck :)
'hate' is a bit strong, but like Jon I don't think it is a silver bullet
@MonicaCellio That's great observation, just another example of why you are such great value to bh.se—I know I don't say that enough in among all the debating
I would probably be gearing up to DV in a day or two if it hadn't been for Mike's comment. It's interesting that in the mind of the OP this is not 'wild guesswork' even if it looks that way to us.
This is a short answer linking bruising alone to red, purple and blue, but as Christ was the tabernacle of God and his flesh was bruised and these colors are similar to bruising I think it is a excellent hypothesis (+1) I wonder if these colors can be argued to mean the same in other locations of the bible as well that would probably speak to swashek's comment? Welcome to the site! — Mike 6 hours ago
6:43 AM
Hi @Prabhpreet what brings you in here :)
3 hours later…
9:40 AM
Biblical Hermeneuticshermeneutics.stackexchange.com

Beta Q&A site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts.

Currently in public beta.

^^^^^ we just broke 1000 visits per day!!!
(they can't all be Jon)
5 hours later…
2:52 PM
> The term "Judeo-Christian" has no meaningful definition; it decodes as "Christians, but we'll throw a sop to the Jews to keep them quiet". Many of the people who throw it around say other things which are appallingly anti-Semitic.
stardreamer42, comments on Slacktivist
3:06 PM
@TRiG that's a convenient, and overly-simplistic reduction of the term. the use of "other" indicates that it's also "appallingly anti-Semitic" when it's not related to people groups at all.
@JackDouglas while i dont believe it's a silver bullet, i also believe that the site will devolve into knife fights and petty personal wars if subjectivity isnt maintained. the reality is that among differing opinions, doctrine and theology appear subjective.
3:22 PM
deleted my answer because ... meh
technically i edited it
i understand that i'm in the minority and that's fine. the community can decide what it wants. i just see opportunity to reduce the knife fights but sense the general reluctance to it.
@swasheck As a political term it's used as an in-group/out-group mechanism: "Judeo-Christian" values are actually the values of the American Christian Religious Right (in their guise as the majority, who should get to rule the country because they are in the majority, damnit!, and they'll pretend to include the Jews to be even more of a majority and to claim an even longer tradition for their "values" (which actually date back about 50 years or so)).
@TRiG source?
You'll notice that the term "Judeo-Christian values" is not used by the American Christian Right in their guise as the poor persecuted minority in the terrible country where it's now illegal to pray in schools.
The fact that the same people can be the vast majority of a "Christian country" and a poor persecuted minority at the same time depending on whatever it is currently convinient to (claim to) believe, tells you as much as you need to know.
@swasheck Source (ish; that and other posts on the same blog)
in The Upper Room, 20 hours ago, by TRiG
@El'endiaStarman I try to avoid trolling the site (I do it in chat instead).
3:42 PM
@TRiG clearly i took the bait. this is standard fare. someone keys in on the anachronistic fallacies rife within christianity and then applies it to the broad spectrum of events, becoming that which they're attacking. meh. nothing to see here. move along
@JonEricson @JackDouglas @MonicaCellio and anyone else who cares ... here's what i wish. i wish that we would all stop talking in terms this rut mentality. if i wish to apply socio-rhetorical critical methods to a text, then that doesn't make me wrong (unless i apply only socio-rhetorical criticism, nothing else, and then draw my conclusions from that sliver of research). that doesn't mean that i'm bound forever to a postmodern thought rut, though.
instead, it's about apply all appropriate methods to a given text in order to arrive at a well-rounded observation from which we draw conclusions.
4:00 PM
@swasheck depends what you mean: I mostly like the same answers that you do I'll wager. It's possible we disagree about how to encourage them: I want to avoid using the word doctrine because it is, in my opinion, too ambiguous. All I want us to do is use terms that are well-defined when we tell folk what they can and can't post.
eg a rule like "all answers must be sourced" would work (imo it would not be a good rule, but it would be possible to enforce it fairly)
on balance I'm happy with what we have, and I think as the community grows quality will get better and better not worse and worse as some (like yourself?) seem to fear...
@JackDouglas not sure it'll be "worse" per se, but i think that if this is an inter-faith gathering of biblical exploration, then we're constantly going to rub against these sorts of things and we're going to "seem" exclusive even if we aren't trying to be exclusive
@JackDouglas this is not a good rule. it'd be nice to know that someone put in some external research and is not just giving a regurg. answer from their pastor/priest/?.
@swasheck even if were 'Christian-only' it would be inter-faith
@JackDouglas tell me more
4:24 PM
@swasheck sorry, got distracted
@JackDouglas no worries. it happens
It all depends how you categorise faiths
if you go with grace v works for example...
... some might consider Catholicism and Islam to have more in common that Catholicism and Calvinism
that's fair, i guess i was speaking more broadly. do you believe these intraChristian divisions to be the sort of thing that @JonEricson is addressing in his meta question?
@swasheck no, I think @JonEricson is probably a bit more inclusive in his thinking than I tend to be
I'd rather we were all judged purely by our contributions in an ideal world: readers can make their own mind up if we are credible without worrying too much about labels
which is fundamentally why I think good answers need to appeal to others on some level other than just because they happen to like your theology
the obvious common link is reasoning from the text
@JackDouglas i completely agree with everything you've said. so why is this so hard to establish?
4:38 PM
@swasheck well we do quite a bit to encourage it already
eg questions from the text, answers need to answer the question
@swasheck There's trolling and then there's trolling. I don't say things unless (a) I actually believe them to be true, and (b) they are at least somewhat relevant / on topic. I just mind my manners less in chat. (And I'm quite strict about point b on the actual site; far less so in chat.) I never post just to get a rise out of people.
@TRiG we respect that, but even if you don't post for that reason, sometimes what you say gets that reaction, and I reserve the right to intervene if it does ;)
@swasheck the thing is though, one man's reasoning may seem alien to me but it may still be reasoning when understood properly. I think Bob's posts may be a case in point.
He insists his techniques are nothing like free allegory
I think we can afford to be slow to judge: the truth will out in the end
and the whole SE Q&A system will always favour posts that can be understood by more than a small number of people: there is a downside to that too, populist posts getting lots of votes, but, meh
it's not like that problem is unique to bh.se
and we have chat to redress the balance
@JackDouglas i've never downvoted any of Bob's posts. i've only upvoted one (the colors one, i believe) but it's mostly because they tend to lose focus (for me, at least) and i can't follow them that i dont upvote
@JackDouglas populists. nice
5:30 PM
@JackDouglas thank you. I appreciate that. I want BH to work for a broad community and I know we're both frustrated by the scope problem and the issues that derive from it (like editing). If we can't solve this somehow I worry that I and @swasheck and @bmargulies and others may become less active. If that's offset by bunches of new people (congrats on 1k visits/day) then maybe that doesn't matter in the grand scheme, but it matters to me.
@MonicaCellio i'd still visit the site, but chances are that my contributions would only be valuable to a small slice of the community. as such, i'd be dissuaded from answering and just spend more time commenting. after a while i'd probably find it an unrewarding use of my time.
@swasheck and the challenge there is in defining "appropriate". You and I tend to agree on what makes a good answer, but it seems to be a minority view.
also, my +1 here is more of an olive branch to Mike than anything. i felt somewhat attacked by his answer (though i'm certain he wasnt actually targeting me, i'm just insecure).
A: To what extent do deductive approaches consider authorial intent?

MikeThe simple answer is to the extent that the person making the deductions care about the original author's intent. Let's use a legal document like a contract as a start. This is less complex as it is a human document, but it still can furnish us with a basic process of understanding an author's ...

@JackDouglas And the right to ask me to prove something, and then delete my posts when I do ... ;)
@swasheck I think that's about how it would play out for me too. (I already spend less time answering than I once did.)
5:38 PM
@JackDouglas In this case, I thought the reference to the fake inclusivity of "Judeo-Christian" in the broader culture might possibly be of interest to this community, and perhaps be somewhat relevant to some of the concerns expressed about the direction of this site.
@TRiG well ... you've somewhat admitted to trolling (though are you a white-hat troll?) so my inclination is just to not engage you.
@TRiG strawman ... anachronistic fallacy ... etymological fallacy ...
@TRiG I'd no worries about that, but I admit getting a tiny bit concerned about the ensuing rant ;)
@swasheck Darn. That started off sounding reasonable, and then he got to the part where he says you can't understand text without divine inspiration and faith. He's arguing that you can't understand text without doctrine. (Actually he doesn't argue it, he asserts it. No sources or logic to back it up.) You probably can't apply text to your life without doctrine, but that's not what we're about. I feel a DV coming on...
@MonicaCellio i missed that part of the answer
on the whole it is a well-thought-out answer that demonstrates a clear line of thought. having said that, i disagree with it but to be a person of integrity i upvoted. i've said that i wont downvote things with which i disagree as long as there's some coherence of thought applied.
@swasheck if he supported that argument then I wouldn't DV even if I disagree. But it's just his opinion, or doctrine if you prefer.
5:51 PM
@MonicaCellio good point and i agree
6:38 PM
@swasheck My answer to my meta-question would focus on all the little things that we say that leave the impression that we are predominately Christian: OT vs. Tanakh, BC/AD vs. BCE/CE, etc. But other than encouraging people to demonstrate inter-religious language, I don't know what else to do. I feel bound by a Catch-22: if we "force" people to demonstrate openness to other views, we are not ourselves open to them.
@MonicaCellio I'm beginning to feel like anonymous (or at least commentless) downvotes are the only remaining path before us. We should, of course, comment if we feel there is hope to get an answer changed or to correct major misconceptions, but then we must downvote and walk away.
7:30 PM
@JonEricson we don't "force" people to use good grammar, or to format their posts a particular way, or a bunch of other things, but we accept edits that improve posts in that area. If there were an agreement that the neutral terms are preferable but we don't want to berate people for not using them, no problem -- those who care would edit and everybody would win. But @JackDouglas objects to that editing and @Caleb thinks "tanakh" isn't neutral (but he hasn't answered my request for elucidation).
If we can't even agree on these kinds of basics, I don't have much hope for agreeing on bigger things like appropriateness of doctrinal answers (and definition of doctrine).
There's not much benefit to be had from visiting a site where I feel marginalized, so rather than DV and move on I would probably just skip to "move on". That makes me sad.
And here I am just rehashing things I've said before, so I'll stop now.
7:43 PM
@MonicaCellio I'd like to invite you to answer my meta-question: what would help you feel less marginalized? I've seen you use the adjective "meritorious" to describe behavior that we should encourage. It would help me if you would compile a list of things that would help you feel more part of the target audience for the site.
Maybe even ordering them by impact somehow. I imagine finding the trinity in a random stanza of Ecclesiastes is more troublesome than using BC/AD, for instance.
@JonEricson Ok, I will do that. I don't have a complete answer to the problem which is why I didn't start down that path, but let's not let the best be the enemy of the good or some such, right? Partial answers work better on meta than on main.
@MonicaCellio Interestingly, I think we actually agree on the basic shape of a good answer. Our voting patterns show that certain types of answers get voted up more consistently than others. If you look at our most active users, you'll see that there is a pattern of appreciation for certain approaches.
@JonEricson yes, I think you and I tend to be pretty well aligned on approaches to content here. You're not one of mods I keep ending up in tussles with. :-)
What we don't agree on are smaller deal-breakers. I don't like to vote up answers that are short on links or attributions, for instance. But others are willing to overlook that if there's some other positive thing in the answer.
(Hey, how did you do that tooltip in your link?)
7:58 PM
[link text](example.com "Tooltip in quotes")
@JonEricson I'm willing to vote up answers that lay out clear reasoning (even if it's the poster's own). I know I've posted answers like that. What I really don't want to encourage, though, is bald assertions that neither source nor reason. Show your work, in other words.
@JonEricson cool! Thanks.
I really hope nobody perceives my ongoing comments as some sort of consternation over rep, or feeling unappreciated. I know where I am in the top-users list and I appreciate that. And now that someone (Jack?) has suggested it I use chat to highlight answers that I think deserve more votes (in either direction) than they have. It's not about me; it's about the kind of content I want to see, and relatively few of us are producing that right now.
@JonEricson Mike also lags a bit in reputation per answer. He has about forty more answers and twenty more questions than Monica and about 1500 less reputation.
@MonicaCellio I don't know your reasons for not asking questions here, but I think one of the biggest helps to making this site feel less Christian is more questions from users who are not.
I feel like users naturally gravitate towards answering questions using the terminology of the asker.
@Soldarnal mass production.
@Soldarnal in talking with @MonicaCellio yesterday (i think), she tends to view Mi Yodeya as a more suitable place for the types of questions she has. If she were to ask here for a Jewish understanding of a text she then runs into the same tension that we have with Christianity.SE ... does she post it here and then run to MY chat and say "Go answer over there?" It's a possibility.
@swasheck Yeah, I think the general consensus in the chat here is that his answers aren't as quality as some others, and my point is the voting shows that.
@Soldarnal i also think that so many of the questions have been so Christian-centric it's been somewhat natural to answer in the vein of the question. If it's absolutely foreign (and there are certain users who seem obstinately against answering without Christianity) I wonder what the response would be like.
It's why I've been so vocally against doctrine or theology. If we could lay a foundation of research then maybe we could get back to how different frameworks incorporate the implications of that research into their systems.
@Soldarnal right.
The unnecessary inclusion of things like "Furthermore as human reason can't understand either author's intent without illumination of the Holy Spirit, prayer and faith must govern both our inductions and deductions if we hope to arrive at any understanding." is necessarily Christian-ese and doesn't really find a home in the research endeavor.
8:12 PM
@swasheck Right, the answers so far tend to match the theology of the asker. It appeared to be the same with questions from Jewish users as well. I looked through a number of Amichai's and Monica's answers and all of the ones I looked at had either solid answers from either Jewish users or people like Jon or Frank who already tend to avoid that kind of thing.
@Soldarnal but we've somehow alienated Amichai and Monica ... Frank is making a comeback ...
@swasheck I don't dispute that. I'm just saying, when the top three Jewish users have more combined reputation than Jon Ericson, but combined 120 fewer questions, is it any wonder that our site has a distinct flavor?
Questions shape the site a quite a bit. For example, I remember @JonEricson seeing Amichai using the JPS in a question, and then deciding that he wanted to do so too.
@Soldarnal that's fair. i'd like to see @MonicaCellio and Amichai post more questions ... and maybe they'll have to specify the "neutrality" of their anticipated answers ... and then we ruthlessly downvote those answers that don't adhere to the constraints?
@Soldarnal As @swasheck said, a lot of it is that I believe I'll get better answers to my questions on Mi Yodeya. Regardless, in the past I've considered asking questions here to help build up this site, but I don't want to "host" Christian answers to tanakh questions (makes the internet worse). Now that @JackDouglas has (recently) clarified that I can restrict the question and off-topic answers will be deleted, I'm willing to ask and just need to think of good questions.
@MonicaCellio i think that framework-agnostic questions would work the best. e.g. What evidence is there for the presence of polytheism influencing the temple cult?
8:22 PM
@Soldarnal Yes. I'm feeling like asking more Tanakh questions. That's one path to pursue.
@swasheck yea, a reason to ask here (rather than Mi Yodeya) would be to seek answers that derive from the text and historical context, and explicitly not from doctrine (anybody's). Where "the text" is scoped, of course.
@MonicaCellio Just want to clarify, I do wish you would ask more questions here and think that it would help in this area; but I do also respect that you might have perfectly valid reasons for not doing so.
@JonEricson but does "Tanakh" indicate a framework-specific approach? does it imply that answers must follow Judaism's framework?
@Soldarnal understood. I'd like to support the site with questions and not just answers, votes, and rants (:-) ). I've only recently realized that there is a principled way for me to do that.
@swasheck Judaism's framework includes extra-textual sources, same as many others. A "Tanakh" framework (to me) would be "support drawn exclusively from the tanakh text" -- not allegorical overlays, not rabbinic midrash filling in details, not kabbalah, etc.
@swasheck At one point we had divided questions into those tagged (to be answered from a historical perspective) and (to be answered from a Christian perspective). I'm not sure of the usefulness of that system anymore.
@MonicaCellio (By the way, that feature is what screwed up my bounty comment.)
8:29 PM
@MonicaCellio i'm just asking if "Tanakh" would, in and of itself, cause the same sort of framework consternation. does it imply "Judaism" through connotative meaning?
@swasheck There's no good term. Even "Hebrew Scripture" pulls in some associations that aren't wanted, I think.
@swasheck hmm, good question. The first time I try it I would word the restriction something like "I am seeking answers that can be supported from the text of the tanakh directly" or some such. Need to worsdmith that.
@JonEricson agreed :) now we're getting into my original rant^H^H^H^Hanswer to your meta question.
@JackDouglas, I think you're confusing origin with meaning. Yes, the Jews invented "Tanakh" (I wouldn't be surprised if academics invented "Hebrew bible"), but it's not a term that conveys a particular doctrine so far as I can tell. It's an abbreviation. Contrast with "old testament", which implies there's a newer one -- no one ever uses the word "old* to refer to the latest of something. That's why "OT" is inherently offensive to many Jews. We know at least some people don't mean it (others do), but it's bothersome and, here, unnecessary -- people can learn Tanakh like you did. — Monica Cellio Jan 9 at 15:55
i just wonder if we condition the community to answer without these concepts of "right" "wrong" "best way ..." and simply apply methodologies to texts, then these sorts of issues become peripheral distractions
8:34 PM
On "Hebrew Bible" Wikipedia says: "The term is an attempt to provide specificity with respect to contents, while avoiding allusion to any particular interpretative tradition or theological school of thought. It is widely used in academic writing and interfaith discussion in relatively neutral contexts meant to include dialogue among all religious traditions, but not widely in the inner discourse of the religions which use its text." — Monica Cellio Jan 9 at 16:55
(The rest of the comment thread may be interesting.)
@MonicaCellio so your initial hunch was confirmed. those zany academics
@swasheck Ah. On that topic, I'm forming an opinion that if questions must spring from the text to be ontopic, then answers must start from the text to be actual answers.
@JonEricson then we have an accord
@JonEricson i'd say "textual studies"
@JonEricson I'm thinking I should post more than one answer so the voting will be clear. One on terminology, one on Christian answers to tanakh questions, at least. Ok by you?
@JonEricson What about answers that start from history?
8:37 PM
@MonicaCellio Perfect. Thank you.
@Soldarnal meaning?
@swasheck Like this answer
@Soldarnal The jump from the text to history (or any other context) might be a short one. ;-)
@swasheck There've been a few questions that are history questions inspired by the text, not direct text questions (like did Jesus have the authority to clear out the temple, and how were executions carried out).
@Soldarnal and that one. :-)
@Soldarnal I notice that I did start with the text there.
Or at least the NET Bible's footnote about the text.
8:40 PM
@JonEricson Sure, the text in this case probably gives insight into the history
The text itself doesn't live outside history and is itself a window into history
@JonEricson @Soldarnal but i would find an atheistic answer that was rooted in archaeology and anthropology which simply discussed day-to-day life in ancient Israel to also be perfectly acceptable.
@swasheck Exactly
@Soldarnal what about this? I didn't start from the text; the question didn't ask for that. Should I have traced the path from the text to the gemara I quoted? (No judgement/defensiveness, just asking!)
@Soldarnal Agreed. The question itself dictated the topic of the answer.
@Soldarnal in a Hermeneutics site i might even find it more tasteful than the NET Bible's footnotes (apologies to @JonEricson)
8:43 PM
@MonicaCellio Yep, another good example of a good answer that doesn't originate from the text
@swasheck All these questions are on topic because they begin with a nugget in the text. (It's like the text is the bit of grit that produces a pearl.)
@Soldarnal on a question that's asking about history, not the text directly. If that kind of history question is on-topic (and I think it should be), whatever policy we come up with for answers has to allow those questions to be answered.
@JonEricson not saying it's off topic ... or even a bad answer (my upvote is recorded)
@MonicaCellio Yeah, that's why I brought them up. Jon's rule above would have ruled them out and I think they are good answers appropriate to the site.
@Soldarnal Hmm... I think those answer are good. But the rule doesn't necessarily apply to those types of questions.
8:46 PM
@Soldarnal i think the key is that they dont wander off into reading theology in to the answer. @JonEricson doesnt wander off into some theological implications of sacrifice and somesuch.
@JonEricson I think we all want the same thing with respect to these kinds of questions; we just need to make sure that the guidance that gets written down takes these into account.
@JonEricson I'm confused. Your proposed rule was "Answers must start from the text to be actual answers." These are answers that do not start from the text, but I think are actual answers.
Maybe we mean different things by "start from the text."
@MonicaCellio The questions that cause answer trouble are either questions that drift close to the line of inappropriately doctrinal or those that are purely "What does this passage mean?" without any particular restrictions.
@Soldarnal i think his point was that questions that originate with the text should have answers that originate in the text
@swasheck All those questions also originate from the text or they would already be off-topic.
8:50 PM
@Soldarnal I'm thinking of wide-open exegesis questions rather than the excellent questions you pointed to.
@JonEricson Yeah, I know you want these kinds of answers, that's why I brought them up as answers your rule would exclude. I'm simply saying the rule is too broad.
@Soldarnal it'd be interesting to see how your examples compare with the wider sample of questions
@Soldarnal They were once questionable:
@JonEricson The entire purpose of hermeneutics is to ascertain, "What does this text mean?"
Q: Are questions about historical context on topic?

RichardThere is an existing question asking about what language Jesus spoke. This question is well worded. But it's not hermeneutics and it's not exegesis. Furthermore, it's not regarding historic interpretation as we've already determined is on topic, but rather history itself. There's no doubt t...

@Soldarnal Right. But meaning is relative. (Or at least, it can be.)
The problem questions can be interpreted to be "What does this text mean for me?" Or asking about absolute Truth.
8:54 PM
@Soldarnal hermeneutics are applied to all forms of communication. the goal of exegesis is to ascertain what this text means, but your point is well-taken
@JonEricson no. meaning is singular. significance and application are relative
@swasheck Ah. I admit I'm too post-modern to agree with that. ;-)
@JonEricson i know. i think we've had this discussion before.
@swasheck Yep, although a lot of times you read people calling even, say, "history" a text.
@Soldarnal I'm not that postmodern, however. ;-)
@JonEricson Curious, have you read Wright's The New Testament and the People of God?
Or at least the first major section of it
9:00 PM
@JonEricson PM will (some would say already has) cannibalize itself. modernity is broken, but PM is not the answer/solution.
@swasheck Have you read any Thomas Kuhn? He was a philosopher of science who argued that scientists can't be objective since they must see the world through the lens of their theoretical framework.
@Soldarnal I've read two three of Wright's books, which is probably enough to know the basic outline. But I haven't looked at that volume.
@JonEricson i havent, but that's a good point. that's why scholarship shouldnt be done in a vacuum. it's why peer review is so important. it's why academics can destroy each other in reviews, but be great friends on the whole.
@JonEricson Gotcha. The first section is all epistemology, so was curious what you thought of his thoughts there.
@Soldarnal Oh. That sounds excellent. I'll have to hunt that down.
@Soldarnal so here's my thing. i love Tom ... he's great. and i agree with what i've read so far. i think the issue at hand is one of site governance not of which approach is correct.
9:06 PM
@swasheck I agree. The great insight of postmodernism is that we can't know beforehand what framework will work best. It calls for humility when we talk about our assumptions.
@swasheck I'm not touting his approach per se. I'm not even interested in which approach is correct here. I'm interested in a site that allows the full range of approaches.
@JonEricson indeed.
@Soldarnal i am too, but is that possible in its current state?
@Soldarnal meaning, we currently have a free-reign sort of attitude on theology/doctrine because most of us a Christians and most of that majority seem to believe that not including theology/doctrine (primarily of the Christian persuasion) borders on heresy.
all we have are downvotes and comments.
@swasheck It just seems like the main solution given by you so far to promote a full range of approaches is to restrict certain approaches, which seems antithetical to exactly what we're trying to promote.
On a tangentially related topic, lot's of people seem unable to separate the idea of a site about something from a site advocating that very thing:
Q: That was painful

bytebusterProposal: Atheism/Agnosticism No, really. Breaking a democratic process The discussion at Meta.Philosophy.SE has not been announced here. Sorry if we, the committers, haven't occasionally visited Meta.Philosophy site, as well as Meta.Cooking, Meta.Travel, and Meta.Astrophysics searching for an...

@Soldarnal i perceive some of these approaches as not necessarily "hermeneutics." i also see the site growing increasingly exclusive and i dont want it to become a framework turf war. my proposition is to guide questions and answer into a more neutral place that does temporarily restrict certain approaches until there is a more definite ethos of actual critical methodologies.
@Soldarnal until such time as the expectation of not flippantly injecting theology and doctine into the process has been absorbed and assumed.
i will once again repeat. if this site and its community wishes to become Christian Biblical Hermeneutics, i'll gladly fall into place and answer questions. I'm a Christian. I have an M.A. in Biblical Studies. The shoe fits. I will continue to illuminate logic flaws and egregious and irresponsible injection of theology and doctrine into answers. I will continue to highlight presuppositions that come with questions.
I'll source Mi Yodeya when there's a question as to how rabbinic tradition understands something in the Tanakh. I'll lament the loss of @MonicaCellio's contributions.
Or, if it's better for the community, I'll just stay out of it. I don't want to upset too many apple carts.
9:26 PM
@swasheck Over my dead body, by the way. ;-)
@swasheck Do you see me as wanting this to be Christian Biblical Hermeneutics?
@Soldarnal not at all. i see you defending the methodologies of those who do. you provide a nice balance to my hardline approach
@JonEricson, part 1:
A: Friends, we are not Christian!

Monica CellioOne site policy that makes the site "look Christian" to me is our handling of doctrine in answers. Doctrine-based questions are not permitted, but the policy our mods are currently following is that doctrine in answers is ok (and according to some, unavoidable). Answers constitute the majority ...

@JonEricson so you dont want me to provide error correction? :)
@MonicaCellio Thanks. I'm glad you separated this out, since I'm not sure I can support that. I want more Jewish answers and more atheist answers to counter our Christian biases. (But I see your point on how the current state appears.)
@swasheck No. We need a whole lot more of that, I think.
9:35 PM
@JonEricson I'm not proposing a ban, just a change in the default. The current policy was not, so far as I know, ever discussed by the community; it just happened because that's what people (almost always Christians) did here.
A: Are questions about the Old Testament from a purely Christian perspective off-topic?

Jon EricsonI think if we start down the path Richard suggests, we will greatly limit the scope of the site and probably not get much traction as a community. The simplest defense of these sorts of questions is that they reflect a particular principle of Biblical hermeneutics: The Christo-Centric Princi...

Is this site just too ambitious?
i mean, nobody has the time to sit down and completely develop an answer from a particular "school of hermeneutics." additionally, anybody who only sticks with one "school" will necessarily have blind spots. i think that the reality is that it's easier to give what feels like a more comprehensive answer by regurgitating the doctrinal connections to questions.
like i said in my initial answer, many of these questions may have already been answered by monographs that took many years and many more pages to answer. and new questions that are not yet answered will require years and pages.
@swasheck The nature of SE is not to create new research, but to make the findings of experts easier to discover. Ideal answers would regurgitate relevant scholarship in an easily digestible form.
9:50 PM
@JonEricson ok.
I don't know if anyone would complain about doctrinal answers if they were all properly sourced. It's the unsourced doctrinal answers that are problematic. (Though I'm not sure @MonicaCellio agrees.)
i tend to be ignorant in the ways of SE
@JonEricson it doesnt suit my taste
@JonEricson I see that I up-voted your answer sometime in the past. With the benefit of hindsight I think the problem there is the question "does X mean Jesus?" as the question. The only way (IMO) to really get the variety of perspectives you're looking for is to instead ask "what does X mean?" and have one (or more) of the answers be "Jesus, because...". (Under my scheme, the asker would have to opt in if it's a tanakh text. That's fine.) (cont)
@swasheck My experience comes from Philosophy.SE and (now) Christianity.SE.
Do you see the difference? Mine puts the Jesus answer on equal footing with others; the other makes it a binary question. With respect, the "does this mean Jesus" question skirts close to "prove this isn't Jesus" and puts Jewish readers on the defensive. That didn't go so well in the middle ages. :-)
@JonEricson Sourced doctrine would be a major improvement. Such a requirement would probably rule out all the sensus plenior answers, though, and some might object to that.
9:54 PM
@MonicaCellio I clicked through to the question and saw that it was closed. What do you think of my answer? (I'm a little proud of my 2011 self. ;-)
That said, I'd still like us to reduce the doctrinal footprint. I think we can. How does academia do this? Or is there no such thing as religion-neutral academic biblical scholarship?
@MonicaCellio academia does it through peer-review. in my experience, the scholars are also not really afraid to interact with material outside of their framework.
@swasheck What do their answers (well, papers) end up looking like, doctrinally speaking? Is it sprinkled throughout, like many answers here, or what?
@MonicaCellio This, I think, is the critical question.
@MonicaCellio mixed bag and depends on the format/audience. peer-review is for process control.
10:00 PM
@swasheck and fact-check and logic-check (and source-check :-) ), I assume.
@MonicaCellio certainly.
@MonicaCellio generally speaking and in my experience there is wide interaction with varying methods and biases. the merits of each are weighed and a logical conclusion is drawn. this is the model that i've seen for synthesis of extant research.
@JonEricson nice job on that answer. Your 2011 self should be pleased. :-)
peer-review involves all of the things mentioned above, plus a) did the author accurately represent the perspectives in question, b) does the conclusion make sense?
new research is different (and in my experience is difficult to come by) but usually involves a smaller section with a summary of the history of research, and a proposal of new conclusions (which incidentally are observations made by the research that's already been done and is "now" being summarized), a presentation of the findings
and sometimes the doctrinal/theological implications of findings.
i do have to admit that most of my experience is in Christian (Protestant) research so the conclusions are either in support of or a tweak to extant Christian theology. that is, unless it's related to manuscript evidence
also ... ideally, peer-review is never personal. it's procedural. it's the approach i take here (generally). so if i ever identify weaknesses in anybody's answer, it's not to belittle. if anyone feels that, please feel free to call me out in here
10:15 PM
@swasheck Yes. If you are writing a commentary for use by pastors, you must conform to a different set of standards than if you are writing for a journal.
@JonEricson indeed. usually the commentary is a summary of other commentaries/monographs. it's rare to see journal research included.
@MonicaCellio To me, this is were the editing restrictions sting the most.
@JonEricson but comments can be peer-review.
@swasheck That's unfortunate.
@JonEricson it is - but it's also hard to keep up with scholarship when you're writing a commentary. they take a very long time.
10:18 PM
@swasheck And comments and alternate answers can simulate the peer-review process. What I miss editing for is when a good answer is hampered by an unfounded assertion.
@JonEricson downvote and comment. i've found the newer users don't really have the desire or capacity to address my concerns
@swasheck that's about what I expected. Thanks for the explanation. (I've read some journal articles and the like from Jewish sources but never seen anything from academia that wasn't tied to a particular doctrine, e.g. a seminary. And I'm not well-versed in academia in general; I hear things but I never went that route myself.)
@swasheck some users respond to such comments; others don't. Is there a time limit after which we should be willing to edit anyway? @JonEricson commented on that in the editing question.
@MonicaCellio most of the research i've done has been for implications of Christianity at large (e.g. my thesis was on the Essene influence on the First Century Jerusalem Church's wealth and possession management). i had to include practical implications as a matter of process, but i was clear that it was not a biblical theology of money.
@swasheck Link?
@MonicaCellio i cant really remember the questions that have caused me such consternation. it'd be nice to have a facility by which i could set reminders within SE to go back and lambaste the person
@JonEricson hm. not sure i'm quite willing to go there yet :) it's not quite been one year yet and i'm already rethinking much of what i've said. it was not as focused or specific as what i would have liked for it to have been.
10:31 PM
@swasheck Favorite questions allow you to remember those questions. But the reminders are not automated. ;-)
@JonEricson i will say this ... i was heavily influenced by Brian Capper
@swasheck Do you link the Qumran community with the Essene sect?
@JonEricson not generally. qumran was much more rigid than the essenes' practices
(i'll get that apostrophe correct one of these days)
@swasheck the "activity" tab in your profile gets you to your comments (also your votes, which you can restrict by direction).
@swasheck Ah. I'm curious what sources we have outside of Josephus to what the Essenes believed.
10:36 PM
@MonicaCellio i know, but i'm lazy and whiny
@JonEricson well, you can chase capper's sources ;)
@swasheck :-)
@swasheck Oh. I didn't mean to "out" you. I tend to forget that people sometimes want to remain anonymous.
@swasheck Cool. Will do.
@JonEricson it's not that. it's that i'm not quite proud of the work that i did. i feel like it could have been better and i wish to set about revising it
but i'm not too interested in it right now
@JonEricson he relies on Philo and Josephus.
@swasheck No problem. And I know the feeling.
@swasheck I know that feeling.
10:42 PM
@JonEricson the "earliest" article also uses some archaeological evidence to perhaps establish a proximity link between the "upper room" and the essen quarter. it's possible, in his opinion, that where the disciples met post-crux was located near the essene quarter and that their practices influenced early christian praxis
10:58 PM
@swasheck Most interesting. I'm not sure how I didn't know that Philo had information on the Essenes. Nor did I know that any particular part of Jerusalem was populated by them. (I have a lot to learn.)
@JonEricson fascinating stuff that has very little doctrinal/theological implication. however, it's neat to get a greater understanding of the situations in which the authors wrote and the actors lived. it really vivifies the text.

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