Some of my answers come quickly after a question pops up, because I can Google the answer quickly and there are numerous sources out there having addressed the question.

Sometimes I feel bad getting rep from something that is essentially an edited copy-paste (I do always cite the site I recite from). Sure, I cleaned up whatever I've found on-line, but it's not really my words.

I receive personal benefit from answering these questions, as they expand my knowledge of the Bible, and I feel that usually the answers are good answers to the questions, but again, I'm pulling off someone else's words. What should I do in these cases? Sometimes another answer pops up about the same time, saying a different thing, citing a different site or clearly sourced from memory. Should I make these answers Community Wiki?

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    "I do always cite the site I recite from" and would a wood chuck chuck wood, and a tooter tutored two tooters to toot, and so on.
    – user3961
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 19:46
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    :) at first, I was unintentiaonally rhyming, and then I figured I could make the sentence rhyme more
    – SSumner
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 19:48
  • @fredsbend - yes, but I'm more concerned about the issue of including significant content sourced from other sites on the internet?
    – SSumner
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 19:48
  • @fredsbend - thanks, that helps. So, as long as I source it and put it my own words it so it's not a straight copy-paste, that would be ok?
    – SSumner
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


That great theologian, Tom Lehrer, perhaps put it best:


I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.

In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!

Plagiarize, Let no one else's work evade your eyes, Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, So don't shade your eyes, But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize - Only be sure always to call it please 'research'.

Now, obviously plagarism isn't what we want, but the joke makes the point - good research may often look like plagarism. Indeed "novelty" in theology is a bad word. Ideally, you don't say anything "new."

I believe it was Charles Spurgeon who said, "Hopefully I said nothing new - I only arranged the words differently."

Obviously, you should "arrange" from multiple sources, but your rephrasing of others' research is what good theology is often about - putting together old ideas in a clear, compelling, and cohesive manner that addresses the concern of the questioner.

It works!


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