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The catch-all of "Academic Jewish Studies" covers a wide range of topics. However as a general rule those studies do not necessarily subscribe to postulates which conform to normative orthodox Judaism. That is to say that academic Jewish studies isn't in principle concerned with whether or not those studies support or deny basic Jewish tenets such as divine authorship of the Pentateuch, that the standard text of the bible as we have it today has not changed since the times of Moses or other things which contravene Rambam's principles of faith (I am using Rambam as an example and by no means do I wish to imply that his principles are halachicly binding).

My understanding from reading the FAQ is that J.SE is "is for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more." I would like to know if this precludes questions about or based on Academic Jewish Studies.

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    I can't see how academic Jewish studies is on topic as a subject any more than Russian history is. Questions about those topics are only on topic as they relate to Judaism. – Double AA Aug 28 '17 at 19:11
  • @DoubleAA Sounds like an answer. – Isaac Moses Aug 28 '17 at 19:18
  • @isa it only addresses about not based on. I don't really know what the latter means – Double AA Aug 28 '17 at 19:25
  • @DoubleAA I would understand your point in regards to say Jewish culture or Hebrew language but I think it evades the larger point. May one ask a question which is related to Judaism (this point was assumed in my question) which is either about or based on information stemming from the academic Jewish world – rikitikitembo Aug 28 '17 at 19:26
  • @DoubleAA "based on" means based on conclusions reached through academic Jewish studies. For example Professor Joshua Berman cites parallels between Hittite treaties and language in the Torah. If a questioner were to ask "Based on Dr. Berman's findings..." would that question ab initio be off-topic? – rikitikitembo Aug 28 '17 at 19:29
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    How could something be ab initio off topic? How could citing a non Jewish source in a question be worse than citing no source? – Double AA Aug 28 '17 at 19:30
  • @DoubleAA perhaps I misunderstand. Would "Based on Reform Judaism's understanding of revelation at Sinai..." be on or off topic? Or is there not enough information present to judge? – rikitikitembo Aug 28 '17 at 19:32
  • Not enough information presented IMO. Also remember a valid answer might simply be "That understanding is wrong" and if so the question is likely to be downvoted for not being useful. – Double AA Aug 28 '17 at 19:35

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