Reggie White's last revelation


It’s difficult, if not impossible, to read any story about religion without letting one’s own point of view color the story or “fill in the blanks.” This one should strike a chord with a lot of people.

What strikes a chord with me is that I have no idea how intelligent Reggie White is. I’m not sure I trust his interpretations of written Hebrew, with anthropological analysis, that some people spend every day of their life studying in great detail, but for which he apparently spent a few hours a day for a couple of years of his life after football.

I’m genuinely not trying to insult the guy, but it strikes me a bit as though someone was sitting in a basement with a German to English dictionary ranting about how all of the English translators and scholars had Nietzsche completely wrong, but that he knows the truth.

Yes, he might be right. He might also just be doing a half-assed job of interpretting things that were, to put it bluntly, beyond his understanding based on his knowledge base at the time.


It’s been my experience that the bulk of Biblical scholars agree with Reggie, at least on the general point that the Bible is terribly misinterpreted by mainstream Christianity.

You don’t find a lot of people (any, really) digging into the Bible’s source text and finding, “Oh, gee, we should have taken this more literally,” or saying, “Wow, this is pretty much exactly what we thought it meant.” Especially where the King James Version (the version Reggie had always used) is concerned.

/me waits for Tom Chick to chime in

I always wondered what some football guy I never heard of thought about when he read books in his basement before he died.

Yes, this isn’t news from a theological perspective. However, it is interesting that a football player took the time to go back to the original sources like this.

Well, the Bible as interpretted by mainstream Christianity is different than saying the King James version of the Bible is horribly mistranslated such that it leads to material doctrinal errors by those who practice by it.

I’m more than happy to go along with Reggie White’s awakening that many Christian officials, and probably most practitioners, really don’t have a good understanding of the actual faith they profess to share. But then I don’t believe that most “Christians” have read more than 1/100th of the Bible either. Modern Christianity for most people seems to consist of Precious Moments angel figurines and a sense of self-superiority masked by false humility.

Those who posted after me in this thread gave a much more positive spin to this issue, and one which I really appreciate. White was great for believing in something faith based, yet still trying to drill down to the essence of the faith to understand the texts that were actually written, rather than much of the schlock that is passed off as Christianity these days. With that type of determination, and the increased time retirement would have given him, perhaps he would have become a recognized expert in the subject.

My point is that he was not. Again, I’m not sure I have a lot to take away from some guy who is so shaky with Hebrew that he has to painfully translate it bit by bit being able to interpret subtle differences in text and meaning based on cultures and historical events from thousands of years ago. Again, I’m not saying he got it wrong. I’m just saying that I’m probably looking for a little more comfort than Reggie White’s word that he was discovering bold new truths.

I think one can take the work of others and build a credible interpretation of the texts. For example, it may take scholars and archaeologists and anthropologists and linguists years to figure out the translation of some newly discovered text; but once it has been deciphered and published, any interested reader (including other scholars) can build from that point. Martin Luther spent about 12-15 years translating texts from the original sources into a German Bible, but from that point anyone could pick it up and move forward.

It’s similar to any pursuit of knowledge; you don’t have to go back and re-establish every law of physics, for example; you do experiments and book learnin’ for a few years and then you’re caught up. The pursuit of the secular knowledge of the bible (language, archaeology, etc) is no more or less exacting than any other science. And like anyone else making this pursuit, Reggie made some conclusions that were new and some that confirmed what he believed already. Good on him.

This coming from someone who, like Reggie, disagrees with much of the mainstream. Big surprise, I know. Acts 17:11, Phil 2:12-12.

They aren’t bold new truths to humanity; rather, they are bold new truths for himself, ones that most practicing Christians themselves haven’t realized.

Alright Rimbo, if that is what you take the article as trying to say, I am in agreement with you.

This is a really old article… and yeah, I saw an interview with Reggie White right before he died and he sounded…both upset about being used and more at peace with his way of life. shrugs

The bible, each version, is one man’s, or a committee’s, interpretation of the original writings. And the original writings didn’t include everything (i.e. only some of the books of the apostles). It’s what you make of it.

Churches on the other hand… I don’t know, I feel much about them like I do about government.

Churches are governing organizations of people with similar ideologies. And you’ll notice that any time a state has beliefs that vary too much from the government’s ideology, you end up with rebellion, suppression, or dissolution if there is no mechanism in place to replace the existing power structure (e.g., election of new representatives). This is why most governments now and in the past seek to embrace one belief system (e.g. Communism in China) as the “right” one and make it part of the state, and crack down on any other system that gets too popular. The church is a state, and the state is a church.

Separation of church and state is ultimately just another way to create a federal system to allow separate points of view a place to live without disturbing the established order to the point of violent civil war.

My god, he took away his kids’ beanie babies and eliminated the celebration of Christmas. Way to make your kids hate you and eventually drive them away from your religion entirely.

The Bible has been manipulated in translations for political and personal purposes, especially the King James version?

I’m so shocked.

And some have although some have moved backward.

The problem with this whole story is that thousands of scholars with more study time and more collaboration have poured over the hebrew, aramaic, and greek manuscripts for hundreds of years, often at odds with each other or everybody else. We’re not talking about a giant conspiracy of people all working together to come up with a consistent but false translation of the bible.

And these people to an extraordinary extent agree with each other that the bible has not been horribly mistranslated and manipulated. In my church, every single graduate from our seminary has spent more time studying the bible than Reggie White. They also know Hebrew and Greek. It’s just honestly not that uncommon of a set of skills as you might think.

This is the religion equivalent of free energy and spoon bending.

Dude, this is Reggie White we are talking about.

Spoof, on the subject of the consensus expert opinion, I’d like to introduce the catholic church’s views on birth control.

Baseball player with the big head, right? I had no idea he was a Jesus freak.

Nice try, baiter. FYI, it’s safer to wave the flag of the Confederacy in Compton than it is to disparage the memory of the all-time leader in sacks for the Packers in Wisconsin.

He was just as popular as Jesus here in Philly.

What you say is true to an extent. I think we would need to know what particular differences Reggie came up with to know how far off the mainstream his exegesis was. I don’t mean to say that reading Hebrew and Greek and Aramaic are rare skills, but they are probably less common than people who think that the KJV is the only true version (for example). Because there are also plenty of parts, especially the much older Hebrew, that still aren’t well understood. Hell, entire books are written about single verbs, and who’s to say his perspective didn’t provide him with a new way to approach some particular linguistic construction?

That’s interpretation, not translation. Spoofy was right: there is an enormous consensus on plain translation, and it only really changes whenever some new archaeological find throws light on some characteristics of language. There is also a large agreement on accuracy in transmission as every time new, older copies are found there are nearly no differences.