ELLEN WHITE’S LITERARY SOURCES:
HOW MUCH BORROWING IS THERE?

In response to questions concerning the extent of Ellen White’s use of literary sources, in 1983 the Ellen G. White Estate staff decided to begin a marking project in which a complete set of Ellen White’s published writings would be highlighted to indicate passages documented as having literary parallels with prior non-Ellen White and non-biblical literary sources.

In addition to its own research, the White Estate marked all parallels that had come to its attention from earlier studies, regardless of whether they were from persons supportive of Ellen White or the Seventh-day Adventist church. The entire set of books used for this project is accessible at the office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

Only parallels demonstrating a clear verbal connection, including paraphrasing, were marked; that is to say, mere thought parallels were not marked because of the impossibility of proving literary dependency in this area. In anticipation of Dr. Fred Veltman’s research, completed in 1988, The Desire of Ages was not included in the study, so as to avoid duplication of effort. Also, Ellen White compilations not indexed in the Comprehensive Index were not included.

It is important to understand that this report does not represent a final total of the extent of Ellen White’s use of literary sources, and it is not intended as such. The project’s purpose is to identify those passages that are presently known to contain literary parallels, as evidenced by proper documentation. This distinction is important. The project is an on-going one and the percentages presented are subject to revision in accordance with new information. The White Estate desires this project to be as thorough as possible and requests that additional parallels be forwarded to its Silver Spring, Maryland, office, with proper documentation, that is, a photocopy of the prior source and its bibliographic information.

The percentages presented have been calculated by dividing the total number of parallel lines of text per book by the total number of lines in the book. The percentages also reflect a considerable amount of repetition of material found in the compilations published since Ellen White’s death, and, to a lesser extent, throughout the writings published in her lifetime.

The books of Ellen G. White average from about 25 to 35 lines per page. For the sake of comparison, a book which contains 85 lines of parallel material has roughly the equivalent of 3 pages of text which draws upon other sources. The first list presents the book titles alphabetically, not according to the percentage of parallel material. The second list presents the book titles by percentage of literary parallels.

The Ellen G. White Estate
October 14, 1986
Updated April 7, 2000

PERCENTAGES OF DOCUMENTED LITERARY PARALLELS BY BOOK TITLE

Title Parallel Lines Percentage of Book
Acts of the Apostles, The 426 3.05
Adventist Home, The 55 0.41
Child Guidance 61 0.50
Christ’s Object Lessons 70 0.60
Christian Service 60 0.80
Counsels on Diet and Foods 15 0.11
Counsels on Health 83 0.48
Counsels on Sabbath School Work 13 0.32
Counsels on Stewardship 58 0.80
Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students 64 0.49
Counsels to Writers and Editors 14 0.34
Early Writings 10 0.14
Education 71 0.88
Evangelism 50 0.30
Faith and Works 73 2.97
Fundamentals of Christian Education 159 0.91
Gospel Workers 99 0.81
Great Controversy, The (credited citations) 3241 15.11
Great Controversy, The (additional uncredited parallels) 1084 5.05
Life Sketches 58 1.00
Medical Ministry 34 0.36
Messages to Young People 282 2.67
Ministry of Healing, The 98 0.78
My Life Today 126 1.33
Patriarchs and Prophets 543 2.28
Prophets and Kings 242 1.51
Sanctified Life, The 17 0.81
Selected Messages, book 1 235 2.03
Selected Messages, book 2 20 0.17
Sketches From the Life of Paul 1185 12.23
Steps to Christ 196 6.23
Temperance 25 0.37
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1 135 0.60
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2 42 0.20
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3 177 0.96
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4 395 1.88
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5 638 2.82
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6 61 0.51
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7 56 0.77
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8 82 0.97
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9 18 0.28
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers 127 0.85
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing 26 0.68
Welfare Ministry 73 0.99


BOOK TITLES BY PERCENTAGE OF DOCUMENTED LITERARY PARALLELS

Title Parallel Lines Percentage of Book
Great Controversy, The (credited citations) 3241 15.11
Great Controversy, The (additional uncredited parallels) 1084 5.05
Sketches From the Life of Paul 1185 12.23
Steps to Christ 196 6.23
Acts of the Apostles, The 426 3.05
Faith and Works 73 2.97
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5 638 2.82
Messages to Young People 282 2.67
Patriarchs and Prophets 543 2.28
Selected Messages, book 1 235 2.03
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4 395 1.88
Prophets and Kings 242 1.51
My Life Today 126 1.33
Life Sketches 58 1.00
Welfare Ministry 73 0.99
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8 82 0.97
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3 177 0.96
Fundamentals of Christian Education 159 0.91
Education 71 0.88
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers 127 0.85
Gospel Workers 99 0.81
Sanctified Life 17 0.81
Christian Service 60 0.80
Counsels on Stewardship 58 0.80
Ministry of Healing, The 98 0.78
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7 56 0.77
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing 26 0.68
Christ’s Object Lessons 70 0.60
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1 135 0.60
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6 61 0.51
Child Guidance 61 0.50
Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students 64 0.49
Counsels on Health 83 0.48
Adventist Home, The 55 0.41
Temperance 25 0.37
Medical Ministry 34 0.36
Counsels to Writers and Editors 14 0.34
Counsels on Sabbath School Work 13 0.32
Evangelism 50 0.30
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9 18 0.28
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2 42 0.20
Selected Messages, bk. 2 20 0.17
Early Writings 10 0.14
Counsels on Diet and Foods 15 0.11