Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Paraphrased and Quoted Materials in The Great Controversy

In this connection it should be stated that as Ellen White, in response to the biddings of the Spirit of God, had traced the history of the controversy down through the centuries, she had, as a matter of convenience, drawn quite heavily from historians, both in outline of the narrative and the use of words (see The Great Controversy, pp. xi, xii). At times she quoted, at times paraphrased, and at times depicted in her own words the events as she had witnessed them in vision. She and those associated with her did not consider this use of available materials as quoting in a manner that called for specific recognition. 6BIO 325.2

The same was true in dealing with the Advent Movement and the development of lines of truth that emerged as the result of Bible study after the 1844 disappointment. She was with the pioneers in their Bible study and discussions, and when they reached an impasse, God often spoke through her to clarify and to confirm. The resulting consensus, whether put into written form by J. N. Andrews, Uriah Smith, or James White, was considered common property. In expressing these truths, one frequently drew from the other. It was in such cases, both in historical description and doctrinal presentation, that she followed the course she described in her Introduction to The Great Controversy, in the second-from-the-last paragraph. 6BIO 325.3

While quotations in the 1888 edition, made directly from historians, were used without specific credits, they did stand in quotation marks. It was these that, in the 1911 edition, were traced down and properly credited. No attempt was made to find isolated words or phrases in paraphrased materials or those quoted only in part. Her explanation in the foreword sufficed in this. 6BIO 325.4