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Is this site only for claims/questions that originate from Jewish sources such as Torah and so on?

I had asked this question a while ago. It asks whether Abraham compiled, or given, a scripture like Torah of Moses according to the Jewish tradition, but it was later closed (even though I had already accepted an answer). My private feedback says the following:

Questions about comparative religion, and questions about what others have written about Judaism, are off-topic on Mi Yodeya. This includes any question that requires of its answerers any knowledge of a religion besides Judaism.

So just to make it sure, if a non-Jewish source makes a claim about Judaism in some way, I don't have the right to verify/question the claim's correctness by asking it here?

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  • As a moderator, my reopen vote would be binding, and I don't want to override the community's closure. But I agree with Alex's answer, below. So if the question on main gets four reopen votes, please ping me, and I'll cast the fifth.
    – msh210 Mod
    Jan 19 at 5:53
  • @msh210 Me too, reducing the burden to three official reopen votes.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Jan 19 at 14:30
  • Perhaps this was due to the fact that Abraham is a mythic figure, not a historical figure, so the only sources you will find are either Jewish or other religions which adopt / adopt-and-transform Jewish mythology. Hence the note about "comparative religion".
    – einpoklum
    Jan 20 at 13:04
  • 3
    @einpoklum According to Judaism, he's a historical figure, in flesh and bone.
    – SpiderRico
    Jan 20 at 13:13
  • The question now has three reopen votes, and @IsaacMoses expressed above that he would also vote to reopen it were such a vote not binding, so I'm now going to cast the fifth vote, so to speak, and reopen it.
    – msh210 Mod
    Jan 21 at 10:44
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My understanding of that particular close reason is as follows:

Some questions that relate to other religions are on topic, while some questions that relate to other religions are off topic. The determining factor is how the question is asked. If the question is asked in such a way that it can be answered with just expertise Judaism then it is on topic. We are not viscerally opposed to something just because it mentions another religion. The problem is when a question is asked in such a way that it cannot be answered merely by expertise in Judaism. In such a situation the question is off topic because the expectation of this site is to provide expertise in Judaism, not expertise in comparative religion.

Therefore, if one were to ask, for example, “Can the doctrine of XYZ be reconciled with Judaism?” that would be off topic because it requires more than expertise in Judaism; an answerer would also have to have a correct understanding of some doctrine in another religion.

However, if one were to describe a doctrine and ask if it is compatible with Judaism then it would be on topic, because the answerer doesn’t need to know anything about what the doctrine actually is — the answerer need only address the concept described in the question (whether or not that concept actually reflects a doctrine of another religion).

Perhaps a useful way of thinking about it is that if you could ask the question without mentioning the other religion, then the question will be on topic. The fact that you also added in an assertion that some other religion believes something about this doesn’t then make it off topic. In fact, if the question could stand on its own it may even be better to include your premise about the other religion, since if you don’t you may find confused users asking you why you are asking about something random with no motivation.

In this particular case, the question stands on its own: what does Jewish tradition have to say about whether a Scripture was given to Abraham? No extra-Judaic knowledge is needed to answer the question (obviously other than a relatively basic English vocabulary). The fact that you added what you believe Islam says on the matter doesn’t change how the question would be approached from a Jewish perspective, and therefore it does not render the question off topic.

Had you asked instead something like “Can the Islamic view of Scripture be reconciled with Judaism?” It would be off topic, because an expert in Judaism isn’t expected to be familiar with Islamic doctrine.

Based on the above, I have voted to reopen your question. Others may disagree with what I have written above, so the question may or may not receive enough votes to be actually reopened.

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  • Yes, I could have simply asked "Did Abraham compile any books?" without mentioning Quran at all, and the question would be the same. I merely mentioned the Quranic verse because that's what prompt me to ask this question. So, I thought I should include it for sake of completeness. Also, seeing where the claim/question originates might help people to find the answer too. For example. there could be a book compiled by a scholar who answers Quran's claims of Jews and so on.
    – SpiderRico
    Jan 19 at 17:23

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