This site has dozens of open exegesis questions that ask for interpretations of biblical texts but that do not specify a tradition. Of these, many have lain dormant for years and have not recently been tested by a vote-to-close process in the review queue. However, some have undergone such a process in the last year or so, and remained open. Here are several examples:
- What is being said in Proverbs 25:2
- What was the problem at Babel?
- Has the gospel been “preached to all nations”?
- Why was the prodigal son spoken harshly of by his elder brother?
- Why did Paul say “I am pure from the blood of all men”?
- Why did Daniel consider the allotment of food and wine to be wrong for him to eat?
- How many are there of God's angels?
- What prophets did Messiah mean in Luke 16:16 when we see yet more prophets thereafter?1
In each case, some close voters voted to leave open, while others voted to close. My 10k superpowers reveal that the last two of these were actually voted "leave open" by a moderator, removing them from the queue (and under normal circumstances essentially guaranteeing that they remain open). The others were not closed as a result of regular users clicking "leave open" rather than "close" – and some users do this more than others.
To be clear, I don't have a philosophical problem with users judging questions differently. Maybe there is a truly undefinable gray area within which there are no guidelines except the whims of voters. However, before resigning myself to that unsatisfying possibility, I'd like to explore why only some of these exegesis questions get closed. Here are my specific questions:
- How do these differ from "truth questions"?
- What specific criteria would help differentiate these from the many no-tradition-specified exegesis questions that are closed? (recent examples 1, 2, and 3)
Some might suggest that the answer to my questions can be found in a related question, Questions to Christianity vs Questions about a denomination. It indicates that tradition scoping is only required in order to "[narrow] questions to answerable proportions," but seems to conclude that so long as "all Nicene Christians" agree, tradition scoping is not required. Affable Geek also argued for this in a less-well received meta post.
I'm completely at a loss to explain how such a view coincides with posts like we can't handle the truth. This view seems to treat anyone outside Nicene Christianity as second class citizens, which surely violates the general principles communicated in Christianity.SE vs. Survivor and elsewhere. If something along these lines is indeed the answer, I hope to see a robust case for it in light of these (dare I say) foundational posts.
- I could give many more examples of these no-tradition-specified exegesis questions, given just a bit more time to trawl through the close votes review queue history. Thus I'm not interested in the specific rationale for closing or opening any of these particular questions – I'm looking for general principles that can be used to guide close voters.