How would someone ask a question about the evidence for 1st century Church history on C SE while allowing New Testament documents to be cited, since New Testament documents are the bulk of evidence we have for 1st century Church history?

  • I think you can cite NT documents as long as the parts you are citing are not ambiguous / controversial / open to interpretation.
    – user50422
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 23:28
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator Would you apply this standard to other ancient texts? (Can't cite them if there is some sort of controversy over their translation-interpretation?) Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 23:30
  • Yes, I think I would.
    – user50422
    Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 23:31
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator How would C SE decide whether a part of an ancient document is not ambiguous-controversial-open to interpretation? Commented Apr 10, 2021 at 23:44
  • That's a good question. I think we have to look at it on a case-by-case basis.
    – user50422
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 0:15
  • 2
    Some of us mods will probably reply in time, but we don't set the site rules. We come to consensus as a community. So anyone can post their thoughts for how this should work.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 6:08
  • @curiousdannii "We come to consensus as a community." What is the existing consensus? Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 4:14

1 Answer 1


This is a dicey issue since most Christians believe that the NT Letters are the Word of God but plenty of us don't believe that they're open to private interpretation. As such, the authority of the interpreter comes into play.

At the very least you can't just quote scripture, you have to quote what someone (ancient or modern) says about scripture. Then people can just your answer to the question based on the authority of your quotation.

All things not being equal, this means that your're going to have to have a scholarly answer to a question that is not particularly dogmatic.

These kinds of things are handled better on BH.SE anyway, which is why we expect most questions to have a dogmatic or doctrinal answer and be specifically asking for that.

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