"Jeopardy!" fans are confused and more than a little miffed after a controversial Final Jeopardy! clue divided contestants in the final rounds of the program's "
Tournament of Champions." This is the second clue controversy the program has faced in just a few days. Amy Schneider, Andrew He and Sam Buttrey are the final champions standing in the tournament, and the first person to win three rounds will be the ultimate victor. In Wednesday's episode, the trio was faced with this clue, under the category "New Testament":
"Paul's letter to them is the New Testament epistle with the most Old Testament quotations."
The statement isn't controversial because it's about the Bible. That's not an uncommon topic on the trivia show. But the correct answer is still a subject of debate,
even among Biblical scholars.
Schneider answered "Who are the Hebrews," and was deemed correct by host Ken Jennings.
Buttrey answered "Who are the Romans," and was deemed incorrect.
He said "Philippiaes," likely in reference to the
Philippians, which was also incorrect.
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All of the answers refer to books in the Bible that are collections of epistles, or letters, ostensibly from Jesus' apostle Paul to different groups in the formative days of the Christian church. However, experts have varying opinions on whether Paul actually wrote the letter to the Hebrews -- and thus, whether the answer was actually correct. In fact, there are
bitter divisions among different schools of Christian thought regarding Paul's Biblical influence and authorship.
Many "Jeopardy!" viewers thought Buttrey's answer should have been the correct one, since scholars generally agree Paul was the author of the
book of Romans.
Even experts on religion and history weighed in.
"The challenge: Hebrews has the most OT quotes of any NT letter; it was historically attributed to Paul; but today most argue he didn't write it based mainly on internal evidence,"
a priest and theology professor wrote on Twitter. "(Romans is right if Paul didn't write Hebrews)," he added.
"Dear Jeopardy: But Paul didn't write Hebrews!!!!!!!"
wrote another historian and theologian.
Others postulated that, regardless of the answer,
the clue was not clearly worded in regards to letters, epistles and books of the Bible -- all deeply confusing terms for people outside (and sometimes inside) the spheres of Biblical study.
Jeopardy' fans slam Ken Jennings for letting contestant correct his wrong answer
In the middle of the confusion, He emerged as the night's winner despite his incorrect Final Jeopardy! answer, and is one win away from tournament victory.
It's worth noting that Buttrey, who had the answer some people think should have been correct,
is a fan favorite and would have won if he secured the last answer.
Just a few days before the Bible kerfuffle, an episode of "Celebrity Jeopardy!" featured a clue about the
2021 death of Instagram personality Gabby Petito and the suicide death of her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who wrote that he was responsible for her murder.
"In 2021 fugitive Brian Laundrie ended his days in FLA's Myakkahatchee Creek area, home to these long & toothy critters," the clue read.
(The answer was "What are alligators?")
Viewers were appalled that the question invoked both suicide and a highly publicized murder.
"Y'all couldn't have gotten to alligator AAAAAANY other way???"
one viewer wrote.
In a statement
to various media organizations, an attorney for the Laundrie family demanded an apology from the show, calling the question "distasteful."
Photos: Looking back at the life and career of Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek is photographed in his home on Mullholland Dr. in Los Angeles on July 7, 1988. (AP Photo/Alan Greth)
Alex Trebek poses for a photo in 1988. (AP Photo)
Alex Trebek, the host of the television game show "Jeopardy," poses with his wife Jean Currivan, on the stern of the yacht "Jacana" on July 2, 1990 in New York. (AP Photo/Ed Bailey)
Game show creator Merv Griffin, left, shares a laugh with "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, second from left, and "Wheel of Fortune" hosts Vanna White and Pat Sajak, right, during a news conference in Atlanta Thursday, March 28, 1996 to announce their Olympic marketing plans. The popular game shows are Olympic sponsors and begining in April will launch major Olympic promotions and offer Olympic-related merchandise to their viewers. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Alex Trebek, right, and the 38th Pillsbury Quick & Easy Bake-Off winner Ellie Mathews of Seattle, raise their hands in victory Tuesday, Feb. 24, 1998, in Orlando, Fla. Trebek hosted the live television show where Mathews was named the winner of the $1 million grand prize for the best recipe cooking competition. (AP Photo/Ed Bailey)
In this May 17, 1999 file photo, Emmy award-winning game show host Alex Trebek celebrates his newly-dedicated star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)
Jason Borschow of San Juan, P.R., left, reacts after missing a question during the 1999 National Geography Bee, Wednesday, May 26, 1999 at the National Geographic Society in Washington. Host Alex Trebek is at center and eventual winner David Beihl of Saluda, S.C. is at right. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Quiz show host Alex Trebek, left, talks with boxing promoter Don King at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2000. (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)
Actor Leslie Nielsen, right, chats with Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2003, at the Canadian consul general's residence in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) celebrated its 60th anniversary and presented its "Award of Excellence" to Nielsen at the Canadian residence. (AP Photo/Ric Francis)
Alex Trebek poses for photographers as he arrives for the 32nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in New York, Friday, May 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
From left: Alex Trebek, Vanna White, Merv Griffin, Pat Sajak and honorary Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant pose for a photo during a ceremony honoring White with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday, April 20, 2006, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Nick Ut)
In this Friday, April 28, 2006, file photo, Alex Trebek holds the award for outstanding game show host, for his work on "Jeopardy!" backstage at the 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. Sony Television spokeswoman Paula Askanas said Sunday, June 24, 2012, that Trebek is in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a mild heart attack. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)
Show host Alex Trebek takes part in a taping of "Celebrity Jeopardy!" to celebrate the 5000th episode of "Jeopardy!" at Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2006, in New York City. "Celebrity Jeopardy!" will showcase 30 stars competing for $1,000,000 dollars for charity. (AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne)
Pat Sajak, left, host of TV game show "Wheel of Fortune", and his wife Lesly Brown, talk with "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek during funeral services for Merv Griffin at Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, Calif., Friday, Aug. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, Pool)
Game show host Alex Trebek and his wife Jean Trebek arrive at the 17th annual Broacasting and Cable Hall of Fame awards dinner at Cipriani's 42nd street, Monday, Oct. 22, 2007 in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
Alex Trebek is seen on stage at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on Sunday, June 27, 2010, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Television personality Pat Sajak, left, and, television personality Alex Trebek pose together with their awards in the press room at the 38th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, June 19, 2011. Sajak and Trebek both received Lifetime Achievement Awards. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
Honoree Alex Trebek attends the 71st Annual Peabody Awards in New York, Monday, May 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
Masters of ceremony Alex Trebek, left, and David Pogue host the 66th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards, held Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, at The Bellagio Las Vegas in Las Vegas. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images).
Alex Trebek attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
In this April 24, 2015 file photo, Alex Trebek, left, and Florence Henderson arrive at the 2015 Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards at The Universal Hilton in Universal City, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP, File)
In this April 30, 2017 file photo, Alex Trebek speaks at the 44th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
Alex Trebek inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame Awards at the Encore Wynn Hotel on Monday, April 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Robb Cohen/Invision/AP)
Moderator Alex Trebek, center, speaks during a gubernatorial debate between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, right, and Republican Scott Wagner in Hershey, Pa., Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. The debate is hosted by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In this Oct. 1, 2018, photo, "Jeopardy!" host and moderator Alex Trebek speaks during a gubernatorial debate between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican Scott Wagner in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Alex Trebek poses in the press room at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, Calif., on May 5, 2019. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
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