If this is a Truth question, then it should be closed.

If it is a historical question, then it should be left open.

The problem is, with this case, I can't tell if it's a Truth question or a historical question. I just found this guy's divinity school dissertation, doubting the mainstream scholarly view that Jesus was really the disciple of John the Baptist, let alone baptized by John the Baptist as a result of discipleship. I think a good answer should address and explain both the mainstream scholarly view as well as that guy's view, because academic papers are usually about critical thinking and development of older ideas.

If the question is regarded as a Truth question, then would academia serve as stand-alone sources, or would they be affiliated with the divinity school or seminary that the authors are affiliated with?

  • It's not a historical question because it's asking why rather than what the facts are.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Feb 7 '15 at 13:07
  • @curiousdannii Yes, I know that it asks "why". But my question still stands. If you check out the guy's dissertation, then you'd find out that it implies the reason behind Jesus's baptism: that Jesus was originally the disciple of John the Baptist. This reason is refuted by the guy's dissertation, though.
    – Double U
    Feb 7 '15 at 15:04
  • Jesus being a disciple of John the Baptist is hardly a mainstream belief.
    – Caleb
    Feb 7 '15 at 16:59
  • @Caleb I think the article is talking about the mainstream academic view of Jesus, not mainstream Christian view of Jesus.
    – Double U
    Feb 7 '15 at 17:23

My 2¢:

If it's difficult to tell whether the question is a Truth Question or a Historical Question, there's a good chance the question can/should be closed as "Unclear what you're asking." Not because those two categories are special, by any means, but simply because a question ought to be clear.

I see a third category, which may be on target, as well, and that is that it's a question of exegesis, asking for an explanation of the quoted text.

In any case, a comment asking for clarification would probably be appropriate, and a VtC for Unclear might also make sense.

  • What is the difference between "truth question" and "question of exegesis"? Don't you try to discover the truth of the subject matter through exegesis?
    – Double U
    Feb 7 '15 at 23:49
  • @DoubleU: exegesis questions seek to understand the "meaning, significance and relevance" of a Biblical text, with a minimum (ideally zero) interpretation. Such an answer to this question would explore the meaning of the original language which has been translated to "it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness", for instance.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 7 '15 at 23:52
  • ...which means finding about the truth of the text or approaching the truth of the text by deliberating about the meaning, significance and relevance.
    – Double U
    Feb 8 '15 at 0:04
  • @DoubleU: No, it means providing an analysis of the text, from which one can form interpretations. Have a look at the nearly 500 exegesis questions we currently have, to get a feel for how they are meant to work.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 8 '15 at 0:05
  • Then, what does "truth" mean to you?
    – Double U
    Feb 8 '15 at 0:06
  • @DoubleU: See my post here.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 8 '15 at 0:08
  • Eh... it's funny how exegetical interpretations are not considered truth. I'll just keep that in mind, though.
    – Double U
    Feb 8 '15 at 0:27
  • @DoubleU: Exegetical questions are not asking for interpretation, or are asking for a minimum of linguistic interpretation. Truth questions are about theology.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 8 '15 at 2:54
  • I don't get how the John the Baptist question is not about theology, though, but I'll take your word for it. :P
    – Double U
    Feb 8 '15 at 3:33
  • @DoubleU: I'm not vouching that every exegesis question is a good one, or properly scoped, or on-topic.
    – Flimzy
    Feb 9 '15 at 3:59

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