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This question: Has a modern genealogy been traced back to a biblical person? was asked before it was determined that biblical genealogy is out of scope for this site.

Should we leave it open because it wasn't out of scope when it was asked? Or does that set a bad precedent that makes it harder to explain why we close other questions about biblical genealogy?

My instincts say: close it, but I'd like to hear what others think.

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As a direct answer to the question, yes. However, if the question can be improved by editing, no. Just the fact that the question has stood this long should let you know the quality of the question is good, but the scope of the site has shifted.


About this particular case.

The original meta discussion only stated "Discussions about Biblical genealogy", which garnered two downvotes. I thought it should be off-topic because the Help Center states

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.

I still think that's what it boils down to. In the current help center, biblical genealogy is listed right alongside celebrity genealogy. For most scenarios, questions about these subjects won't be real, practical questions.

However, in some cases real, practical questions and questions about biblical genealogy can coincide (as seen in the recent link in the question). These questions are few and far between, but I would consider them on-topic if they are good-quality, practical, answerable questions.

Has a modern genealogy been traced back to a biblical person? isn't directly about biblical genealogy per se, but it doesn't appear to be a practical question either. Most of the answers appear to be largely based on speculation.


These are my thoughts, feel free to disagree. The shiny diamond by my name doesn't guarantee this is the right answer.

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The question seems to focus on non-biblical sources for proving lineage to a biblical person. In other words: "is there sufficient evidence to convince atheists that any modern person is provably descended from characters mentioned in the Bible?"

Implicitly wrapped up in that question is whether people mentioned in a given bible truly existed, and whether there's any independent evidence of the genealogies provided in those texts. Bibles themselves cannot be taken 100% literally without accepting some of the supernatural ground rules they provide. So it's equivalent to asking both "is there a way to reasonably validate or accept the information in the New Testament or Old Testament?" as well as "are there trustworthy information sources to corroborate biblical statements of genealogy?" at the same time.

Discussing biblical genealogy in order to independently validate it seems genealogical rather than religious. It doesn't seem any more or less valid than trying to validate a ship manifest, a census record, an oral history, a family legend, or an unexpected autosomal match. For example, my great grandmother lied about her ancestry and changed her name to fit the lie; it was pretty easy to disprove, but I had to disprove her (and the Census she falsified) based on other sources. It would be harder to do that with historical sources, but I don't see why it would be outside the realm of modern genealogy. I apologize if it downgrades anybody's sense of reverence for a sacred text, but as far as I'm concerned religious genealogical claims can be analyzed as if they are rumors, assertions, or legends, same as any other claims.

They are susceptible to invalidation or corroboration to the extent they can be compared to other information.

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I disagree that my question was about biblical genealogy. It was about connecting your modern genealogical research back as far as a biblical figure. Therefore, I don't consider it off topic for this forum.

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    How can you discuss connecting to a biblical figure without involving biblical genealogy? But I could be wrong, hence the discussion. – user104 Apr 12 '14 at 16:25
  • The purpose of the question is to see if there is any line with evidence available to get back to a biblical figure. Most of the latter biblical figures such as King David and some from the new testament are proven people with documented archaeological evidence of their existence. Their genealogies backwards, i.e. biblical genealogy from the bible are not being asked for. The question as asked would not be appropriate for Biblical Hermeneutics which is specifically for questions regarding the analysis of biblical text. – lkessler Apr 12 '14 at 16:34
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    "If so, has anyone ever connected back to a biblical character who can be traced down from Adam using the genealogies of the Old and New testaments?" – user104 Apr 12 '14 at 16:40
  • This part of the question was simply asking a followup question, i.e., If there are lines that have been source documented back to biblical figures, are any of them in the biblical genealogy from Adam? That part of the question is not essential. If it will make you feel better, I'll remove that, as it was the preceeding part of the question that I really wanted to ask. – lkessler Apr 12 '14 at 16:47
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    That's an improvement, but I'm still concerned how we'll explain to whoever asks the next biblical genealogy question why this is on-topic and theirs isn't... – user104 Apr 12 '14 at 17:16
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    If they are asking a question about biblical people without any intention of connecting them to their own genealogy, then I would consider that a biblical genealogy question. – lkessler Apr 12 '14 at 17:33
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    So the simple addition of: "I'm trying to trace my ancestry back to Adam" makes it on-topic? And would you approach celebrity genealogy in a similar way? – user104 Apr 12 '14 at 17:42
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    We really don't want people in our forum asking about the relationship of people (like celebrities, biblical characters, or living individuals). It's about genealogy itself, the study, the pastime, the methods, how to better do it, how to solve or getting help with particular problems you have, etc. Not whether King Solomon is related to King David, or if Kevin Bacon is related to George Clooney. – lkessler Apr 12 '14 at 20:28
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    As far as celebrity genealogy goes, here's my two cents. Most cases of celebrity genealogy would fall afoul of the rule against someone else posting about the genealogy of persons who are living. The major exception I would ask for would be those celebrities who have appeared on Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, and other TV shows. There might be legitimate questions about the records presented on the show, and as long as the focus is on the records, that could be legitimate. – Jan Murphy Mod Apr 21 '14 at 2:02

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