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How old is the Old Testament?

How old is the Old Testament and, like the New Testament, are there multiple versions (i.e. - according to Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)?

This question has multiple issues: 1) it asks two questions, not one, and those questions aren't closely related enough to warrant being joined in one question. 2) The questions it does ask aren't even specific or clear.

  1. "How old is the Old Testament?"

This could mean multiple things. How old are the oldest manuscripts of the Old Testament? When was the oldest book of the Old Testament written? When was the newest book of the Old Testament written? When was the Old Testament canonized? Perhaps the OP means more than one of these. If so, I think the question should be refined.

  1. "Are there multiple versions (i.e. - according to Matthew, Mark, Luke & John)?"

You can tell basically what the OP was trying to ask, but it's just not stated very well at all. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are 4 out of 27 books of the New Testament which very clearly makes them not "multiple versions" of the New Testament.

I flagged the question as "unclear what you're asking," but it was declined. Why?

  • If you can tell what the OP meant to ask, but it's not asked well, why not edit the post to fix that? – Monica Cellio Jan 23 '15 at 21:38
  • I do that. In this case though, there were other issues too. Part 1 and 2 of the question shouldn't have been lumped together, part 1 was unclear (not just "not asked well"), and part 2 has its own issue: if the OP had done any research whatsoever, they would have asked a different question altogether or none at all, which makes me reluctant to want to simply edit their question's wording. – Mr. Bultitude Jan 23 '15 at 21:42
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I would beg to differ with David on this one. I think the matter boils down to this that you said:

You can tell basically what the OP was trying to ask, but it's just not stated very well at all.

The question is not well written or very academic, but you CAN tell what was being asked and it IS answerable in a concise and definitive way. Clearly the OP has no understanding of what the OT even is and just needs a primer on the type of book it is as well as having his miss-understanding about the NT straightened out.

It's a poor quality question and I would maybe DV it for lack of research effort, but I don't think it's worth closing.

I don't know who handled your flag (probably other community reviewers) but I would have declined it too on the basis that it is clear what the basic miss-understanding is that could be set straight with an answer. Poorly worded does not necessarily meas unanswerable.

  • "Poorly worded does not necessarily meas unanswerable." That's a good point, but it addresses the second half of the question (the "multiple versions" bit). It seems to me that the first half (the "how old" bit) is still unclear, and that lumping the two together would be too broad. – Mr. Bultitude Jan 23 '15 at 19:13
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    "Clearly the OP has no understanding of what the OT even is and just needs a primer" That's the problem I have with it. There's already a primer pretty much everywhere else. The OP didn't even try to solve his own question. – 3961 Jan 23 '15 at 20:16
  • @Mr.Bultitude I can see your point, but I thought it was clear enough what the miss-understanding was to answer and the OP accepted. Perhaps it wasn't so unclear as to need closing on that grounds. No matter which of the variants you suggest you go with, the quick summary can cover all the bases. – Caleb Jan 23 '15 at 22:26
  • @fredsbend You realize that "does not show research effort" is a DV reason but not a close vote reason right? It used to be but the official SE sanctioned position is that General Reference / read Wikipedia / it's available everywhere is, in itself, not a valid reason to close. – Caleb Jan 23 '15 at 22:28
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    @Caleb If I'm going to dv for it being a crummy question why should I not also vtc? I suppose I'm fine with those questions remaining open, but they stand in contrast with the "expert q&a" notion we try to pass in the about pages. Honestly, SE saying don't vtc those sounds like an SEO decision, not community health decision. I'd rather not see the site inundated with repeat, wikipedia content. – 3961 Jan 23 '15 at 23:38
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    Some sites, like English Language & Usage have reinstated a lack of research close reason. We could always consider that here, but I don't think it's a big problem here. – curiousdannii Jan 23 '15 at 23:47
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    Actually, I think this is more appropriate to the situation than my answer was. – David Stratton Jan 24 '15 at 3:01

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