Some critics have accused Ellen White of plagiarizing the contents of The Desire of Ages from the writings of various authors. But, did she really? Below is an analysis of the alleged comparisons.
It has been noted by students of plagiarism that one can make a work look like it was plagiarized when it is not by carefully using ellipses and discarding all the material that is different. What we want to do is determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted reality. Accordingly, we have coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion. Material that is not coded means that neither the critics nor Dr. Veltman and his team of researchers, could not, or did not, find anything worthy of note.
Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact, word-for-word match to her alleged source.
Material in Ellen G. White that is similar to her alleged source.
Words that are either an exact, or similar, match of the source, but are also an exact, or similar, match to Biblical material.
Material that is represented in either Rea's book or Dr. Veltman's study by an ellipsis.
Material dropped from the beginning or end of the paragraph of the alleged source in Rea's book.
Material clipped from the beginning or end of a sentence in Rea's book, without giving the reader any indication of such. (Either a capital letter or a period appears where it should not, hiding the fact that material is missing.)
Material that was mis-capitalized or mis-abbreviated in Rea.
Typical author's caveat: all errors are, of course, mine. If you find any errors please let me know and I'll fix them.
|Alleged Source(s)||Desire of Ages. (1898)|
March, Walks and Homes of Jesus, page 33
When the Sabbath came, He went in and took His seat in the synagogue, as He had been accustomed to do in former years. The service of song and prayer and reading the Scriptures and exhortation, was administered by the chief elder in the usual form.
March, Walks and Homes of Jesus, skipping down to page 35
 The Messiah whom they were looking for must come with the state of a king and the glory of a conqueror; He must appear at the head of armies, and His legion must fly as the clouds; He must tread down the heathen in His wrath, and deliver Israel from every yoke.
switching over to Hanna, Life of Christ, page 168
The opening prayer is recited; the opening psalm is chanted; the portion from the law, from the book of Moses, is read by the ordinary minister; the time has come for the second reading--that of some portion of the prophets--when Jesus steps forth and stands in the reader's place. ... It is
not a right belonging exclusively to priest or Levite; any Jew of any tribe might exercise it.
March, Days of the Son of Man, page 95
When it came to the lesson for the day, selected from the prophecies of Isaiah, the leader, who was at liberty to call upon whom he pleased, seeing Jesus in the house invited him to take the elevated stand in the midst of the congregation and read.
"Is Not This the Carpenter's Son?"
[This chapter is based on Luke 4:16-30.]
Across the bright days of Christ's ministry in Galilee, one shadow lay. The people of Nazareth rejected Him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" they said.
During His childhood and youth, Jesus had worshiped among His brethren in the synagogue at Nazareth. Since the opening of His ministry He had been absent from them, but they had not been ignorant of what had befallen Him.1 As He again appeared among them, their interest and expectation were excited to the highest pitch. Here were the familiar forms and faces of those whom He had known from infancy. Here were His mother, His brothers and sisters, and all eyes were turned upon Him as He entered the synagogue upon the Sabbath day, and took His place among the worshipers.
In the regular service for the day, the elder read from the prophets, and exhorted the people still to hope for the Coming One, who would bring in a glorious reign, and banish all oppression.2 He sought to encourage his hearers by rehearsing the evidence that the Messiah's coming was near. He described the glory of His advent, keeping prominent the thought that He would appear at the head of armies to deliver Israel.3
When a rabbi was present at the synagogue, he was expected to deliver the sermon, and any Israelite might give the reading from the prophets.4 Upon this Sabbath Jesus was requested to take part in the service.5 He "stood up to read. And there was delivered unto Him a roll of the prophet Isaiah." Luke 4:16, 17, R. V., margin. The scripture which He read was one that was understood as referring to the Messiah:
1 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase--March, Walks and Homes of Jesus, page 56 (as per Dr.Veltman's study: "His fame had goneout before him and his return awakened curiosity in Nazareth itself.") Return to text
2 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase--see March, page 33 and sentence 88 on page 35). Note that there is some minor difference between the wording from March between what I have and what we find in Dr. Veltman's study. Mine is a reprint by Thomas Mitchell in London, (date unknown, sometime before 1899 (date on the flyleaf)) Return to text
3 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Note that there is greater similarity with March than the previous. Return to text
4 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Note the stretch required to get much verbal similarity. Return to text
5 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase--see March, Days of the Son of Man). One should note that either Jesus "requested" to read as per EGW or did He "demand" the scroll be given to Him to read as per March in his Walks and Homes of Jesus, page 57, or, in March's Days of the Son of Man the leader of the synagogue asked Him to read--which is it? Return to text
March, Walks and Homes of Jesus, page 33
... Jesus stood up, as He could do according to the usage of the service, and demanded that the scroll should be given Him to read. Unrolling the parchment and standing there, Himself the living and Divine Interpreter of the prophet's words, he read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me ..."
Hanna, page 169
 What followed, however, we may well believe to have been an exposition of the passage read, as containing an account of the true character, ends, and objects of his mission as the Christ of God; the telling who the poor were to whom he brought good tidings, who the bruised and the broken-hearted were whom he came to heal, who the bound were that he came to liberate, who the blind whose eyes he came to open, what that year was he came to usher in--the long year of grace which still runs on, in the course of which there is acceptance for all of us with God, through Christ.
March Days of the Son of Man, page 98-9
They sat in silence and in wonder as he spoke,
for they had never heard such gracious words from human lips before.
Hanna, page 170; skipping over 12 lines of text
... [59b] that it was nothing as the Lord's anointed Christ he was speaking, and speaking to them as the poor, the blind, the captives, to whom he was to render such services--the admiration turns to envy.
March Days of the Son of Man, page 99
If an angel from heaven had read the scroll and expounded its meaning to that assembly on the Sabbath morning, he would not have been looked upon with deeper wonder and awe than was Jesus when he sat down and said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." By and by, surprise gave place to curiosity, admiration to envy, and applause to anger. When they began to think who it was, and how great and awful was the mission which he had taken upon himself, their astonishment knew no bounds.
March Days of the Son of Man, page 96
And yet here was the Son of a carpenter, who had worked for days' wages at his trade in that town for many a year, putting himself forth before the assembly as that glorious and divine personage whose
coming had been looked for with longing hearts four thousand years, and in whose kingdom all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
March Walks and Homes of Jesus, page 35
They had seen Jesus a child in their streets. His home was among the poor; He had pursued an humble and laborious occupation for years; and His family had never gained the distinction of learning, or riches, or rank, or power.
Because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;
He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To preach deliverance to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."
"And He closed the roll, and gave it back to the attendant: . . . and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on Him. . . . And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of His mouth." Luke 4:20-22, R. V., margin.
Jesus stood before the people as a living expositor of the prophecies concerning Himself.6 Explaining the words He had read, He spoke of the Messiah as a reliever of the oppressed, a liberator of captives, a healer of the afflicted, restoring sight to the blind, and revealing to the world the light of truth.7 His impressive manner and the wonderful import of His words thrilled the hearers with a power they had never felt before.8 The tide of divine influence broke every barrier down; like Moses, they beheld the Invisible. As their hearts were moved upon by the Holy Spirit, they responded with fervent amens and praises to the Lord.
But when Jesus announced, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears," they were suddenly recalled to think of themselves, and of the claims of Him who had been addressing them.9 They, Israelites, children of Abraham, had been represented as in bondage. They had been addressed as prisoners to be delivered from the power of evil; as in darkness, and needing the light of truth.10 Their pride was offended, and their fears were roused. The words of Jesus indicated that His work for them was to be altogether different from what they desired. Their deeds might be investigated too closely. Notwithstanding their exactness in outward ceremonies, they shrank from inspection by those clear, searching eyes.
Who is this Jesus? they questioned. He who had claimed for Himself the glory of the Messiah was the son of a carpenter, and had worked at His trade with His father Joseph.11 They had seen Him toiling up and down the hills, they were acquainted with His brothers and sisters, and knew His life and labors.12 They had seen Him develop from childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood. Although His life had been spotless, they would not believe that He was the Promised One.
6 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase). Return to text
7 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase). Return to text
8 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase). Return to text
9 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase). Return to text
10 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase--see Hanna, page 169, sentence [59b]). Note that there is no verbal similarity; perhaps, it should be "downgraded" to I2 (partial independence). Return to text
11 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase). Return to text
12 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase). Return to text
Hanna, page 170; skipping over 16 lines of text
 Jesus sees this, and turning from his former subject of discourse, tells them that he sees and knows it, lays open their hearts to them, puts the very words into their lips that they were ready to utter, and proceeds to vindicate himself for not showing any special signs to his fellow-townsmen, by quoting two instances in which Elijah and Elisha, the two great workers of miracles among the prophets, passed over their fellow-countrymen to show favor to the Sidonian widow and the Syrian officer.
What a contrast between His teaching in regard to the new kingdom and that which they had heard from their elder! Jesus had said nothing of delivering them from the Romans. They had heard of His miracles, and had hoped that His power would be exercised for their advantage, but they had seen no indication of such purpose.
As they opened the door to doubt, their hearts became so much the harder for having been momentarily softened. Satan was determined that blind eyes should not that day be opened, nor souls bound in slavery be set at liberty. With intense energy he worked to fasten them in unbelief. They made no account of the sign already given, when they had been stirred by the conviction that it was their Redeemer who addressed them.
But Jesus now gave them an evidence of His divinity by revealing their secret thoughts.13 "He said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto Me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in Thine own country. And He said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country. But of a truth I say unto you, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman, the Syrian." Luke 4:23-27, R. V.
By this relation of events in the lives of the prophets, Jesus met the questionings of His hearers.14 The servants whom God had chosen for a special work were not allowed to labor for a hardhearted and unbelieving people. But those who had hearts to feel and faith to believe were especially favored with evidences of His power through the prophets. In the days of Elijah, Israel had departed from God. They clung to their sins, and rejected the warnings of the Spirit through the Lord's messengers. Thus they cut themselves off from the channel by which God's blessing could come to them. The Lord passed by the homes of Israel, and found a refuge for His servant in a heathen land, with a woman who did not belong to the chosen people. But this woman was favored because she had followed the light she had received, and her heart was open to the greater light that God sent her through His prophet.
13 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
14 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
March Walks and Homes of Jesus, page 36
 And so they cried out against Him with wrath and cursing.
It was for the same reason that in Elisha's time the lepers of Israel were passed by. But Naaman, a heathen nobleman, had been faithful to his convictions of right, and had felt his great need of help. He was in a condition to receive the gifts of God's grace. He was not only cleansed from his leprosy, but blessed with a knowledge of the true God.
Our standing before God depends, not upon the amount of light we have received, but upon the use we make of what we have. Thus even the heathen who choose the right as far as they can distinguish it are in a more favorable condition than are those who have had great light, and profess to serve God, but who disregard the light, and by their daily life contradict their profession.
The words of Jesus to His hearers in the synagogue struck at the root of their self-righteousness, pressing home upon them the bitter truth that they had departed from God and forfeited their claim to be His people. Every word cut like a knife as their real condition was set before them. They now scorned the faith with which Jesus had at first inspired them. They would not admit that He who had sprung from poverty and lowliness was other than a common man.
Their unbelief bred malice. Satan controlled them, and in wrath they cried out against the Saviour.15 They had turned from Him whose mission
15 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
March Walks and Homes of Jesus, (1866), page 36; picking up where we left off above
 Out of their synagogue, out of their city, out of the world, would they cast Him whose only offence was the meekness and plainness with which He had spoken the truth. The favoured people who were the first to hear the most gracious words from the lips of Christ Himself, were the first to cry, "Away with him!"  With one consent, and with deafening cries, they break up the assembly; they surround Him; they lay hands upon Him, every one eager to bear a part in destroying Him; they hurry Him forth to the brow of a precipice, near the synagogue, that they might cast Him down headlong.  But suddenly when they looked for Him, He was not there. He had passed through the midst of them, and was gone.A
Inserted by me for comparison purposes: Hanna (1863), page 171; this paragraph begins on page 169
They rise, they rush upon him, they thrust him out of the village, and on to the brow of a precipice over which they would have hurled him; but it pleased him to put forth that power, and to lay upon them that spell which he laid upon the high priest's band in the garden of Gethsemane. They are hurrying him to the brow of the hill; he turns, he looks, the spell is on them, their hands drop powerless by their sides; he passes through the midst of them, they offer no resistance, and before they recover themselves he is gone.
Hanna, page 173; skipping over 120 lines of text
 It seems to us to throw a distinct, and, though not a very broad, yet a clear and beautiful beam of light on the graciousness of our Lord's character, that instead of reading the number of verses ordinarily recited, he stopped where he did in his quotation from Isaiah. Had he gone on, he should have said, "to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God."  Why not go on, why pause thus in the middle of the sentence? not assuredly that he meant either to deny or hide the truth, that the day of vengeance would follow upon the acceptable year, if the opportunities of that year were abused and lost; but that then and now, it is his chosen and most grateful office to throw wide open the arms of the heavenly mercy, and invite all to throw themselves into them and be saved.
it was to heal and restore; now they manifested the attributes of the destroyer.
When Jesus referred to the blessings given to the Gentiles, the fierce national pride of His hearers was aroused, and His words were drowned in a tumult of voices. These people had prided themselves on keeping the law; but now that their prejudices were offended, they were ready to commit murder. The assembly broke up, and laying hands upon Jesus, they thrust Him from the synagogue, and out of the city.16 All seemed eager for His destruction.17 They hurried Him to the brow of a precipice, intending to cast Him down headlong.18 Shouts and maledictions filled the air. Some were casting stones at Him, when suddenly He disappeared from among them.19 The heavenly messengers who had been by His side in the synagogue were with Him in the midst of that maddened throng. They shut Him in from His enemies, and conducted Him to a place of safety.
So angels protected Lot, and led him out safely from the midst of Sodom. So they protected Elisha in the little mountain city. When the encircling hills were filled with the horses and chariots of the king of Syria, and the great host of his armed men, Elisha beheld the nearer hill slopes covered with the armies of God,--horses and chariots of fire round about the servant of the Lord.
So, in all ages, angels have been near to Christ's faithful followers. The vast confederacy of evil is arrayed against all who would overcome; but Christ would have us look to the things which are not seen, to the armies of heaven encamped about all who love God, to deliver them. From what dangers, seen and unseen, we have been preserved through the interposition of the angels, we shall never know, until in the light of eternity we see the providences of God. Then we shall know that the whole family of heaven was interested in the family here below, and that messengers from the throne of God attended our steps from day to day.
When Jesus in the synagogue read from the prophecy, He stopped short of the final specification concerning the Messiah's work.20 Having read the words, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," He omitted the phrase, "and the day of vengeance of our God." Isa. 61:2. This was just as much truth as was the first of the prophecy, and by His silence Jesus did not deny the truth.21 But this last expression was that upon which His hearers delighted to dwell, and which they were desirous of fulfilling. They denounced judgments against the heathen, not discerning
16 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase--see March, page 36, sentences 102 & 104). Return to text
17 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P1 (strict paraphrase--see March, page 36, sentence 104). Return to text
18 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as V2 (verbatim--see March, page 36, sentence 104). Return to text
19 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence--see March, page 36, sentences 105-6). Return to text
A Hanna uses a similar phrase on page 171: ".. he passes through the midst of them ..." Return to text
20 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase--see Hanna, page 173, sentence 106). Return to text
21 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase--see Hanna, page 173, sentences 108-9). Return to text
Hanna, page 173; repeating from above Why not go on, why pause thus in the middle of the sentence? not assuredly that he meant either to deny or hide the truth, that the day of vengeance would follow upon the acceptable year, if the opportunities of that year were abused and lost; but that then and now, it is his chosen and most grateful office to throw wide open the arms of the heavenly mercy, and invite all to throw themselves into them and be saved.
March, Walks and Homes of Jesus., page 36
In the course of the following winter, He came once more, and for the last time, to this secluded vale of Nazareth, after the people had had time to reflect and to repent of their madness. He came when the fame of his mighty works had filled the whole land. He had silenced and cast out demons with His
word. The sick had been brought to Him out of all Galilee, and He had healed them. He had given sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb. At Capernaum and at the neighbouring hill-town of Nain, He had raised the dead to life.  These evidences of His Divine power had been witnessed by thousands. And the name of Nazareth had gane with Him through all the land.
But still the blinded and fanatical Nazarenes could see nothing but a carpenter in the son of Mary.
that their own guilt was even greater than that of others. They themselves were in deepest need of the mercy they were so ready to deny to the heathen.22 That day in the synagogue, when Jesus stood among them, was their opportunity to accept the call of Heaven.23 He who "delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18) would fain have saved them from the ruin which their sins were inviting.24
Not without one more call to repentance could He give them up.25 Toward the close of His ministry in Galilee, He again visited the home of His childhood.26 Since His rejection there, the fame of His preaching and His miracles had filled the land.27 None now could deny that He possessed more than human power.28 The people of Nazareth knew that He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. About them were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house; for He had passed through them, and healed all their sick. The mercy revealed in every act of His life testified to His divine anointing.
Again as they listened to His words the Nazarenes were moved by the Divine Spirit. But even now they would not admit that this Man, who had been brought up among them, was other or greater than themselves.29 Still there rankled the bitter memory that while He had claimed for Himself to be the Promised One, He had really denied them a place with Israel; for He had shown them to be less worthy of God's favor than a heathen man and woman. Hence though they questioned, "Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?" they would not receive Him as the Christ of God. Because of their unbelief, the Saviour could not work many miracles among them. Only a few hearts were open to His blessing, and reluctantly He departed, never to return.
Unbelief, having once been cherished, continued to control the men of Nazareth. So it controlled the Sanhedrin and the nation. With priests and people, the first rejection of the demonstration of the Holy Spirit's power was the beginning of the end. In order to prove that their first resistance was right, they continued ever after to cavil at the words of Christ. Their rejection of the Spirit culminated in the cross of Calvary, in the destruction of their city, in the scattering of the nation to the winds of heaven.
Oh, how Christ longed to open to Israel the precious treasures of the truth! But such was their spiritual blindness that it was impossible to
22 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
23 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase--see Hanna, page 173, sentence 108). Return to text
24 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
25 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
26 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase--see March, page 36). Return to text
27 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P2 (simple paraphrase--see March, page 36). Return to text
28 In Dr. Veltman's study this is rated as I2 (partial independence). Return to text
29 In Dr. Veltman's study this sentence is rated as P3 (loose paraphrase--see March, page 37). Return to text
reveal to them the truths relating to His kingdom. They clung to their creed and their useless ceremonies when the truth of Heaven awaited their acceptance. They spent their money for chaff and husks, when the bread of life was within their reach. Why did they not go to the word of God, and search diligently to know whether they were in error? The Old Testament Scriptures stated plainly every detail of Christ's ministry, and again and again He quoted from the prophets, and declared, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." If they had honestly searched the Scriptures, bringing their theories to the test of God's word, Jesus need not have wept over their impenitence. He need not have declared, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." Luke 13:35. They might have been acquainted with the evidence of His Messiahship, and the calamity that laid their proud city in ruins might have been averted. But the minds of the Jews had become narrowed by their unreasoning bigotry. The lessons of Christ revealed their deficiencies of character, and demanded repentance. If they accepted His teachings, their practices must be changed, and their cherished hopes relinquished. In order to be honored by Heaven, they must sacrifice the honor of men. If they obeyed the words of this new rabbi, they must go contrary to the opinions of the great thinkers and teachers of the time.
Truth was unpopular in Christ's day. It is unpopular in our day. It has been unpopular ever since Satan first gave man a disrelish for it by presenting fables that lead to self-exaltation. Do we not today meet theories and doctrines that have no foundation in the word of God? Men cling as tenaciously to them as did the Jews to their traditions.
The Jewish leaders were filled with spiritual pride. Their desire for the glorification of self manifested itself even in the service of the sanctuary. They loved the highest seats in the synagogue. They loved greetings in the market places, and were gratified with the sound of their titles on the lips of men. As real piety declined, they became more jealous for their traditions and ceremonies.
Because their understanding was darkened by selfish prejudice, they could not harmonize the power of Christ's convicting words with the humility of His life. They did not appreciate the fact that real greatness can dispense with outward show. This Man's poverty seemed wholly inconsistent with His claim to be the Messiah. They questioned, If He was what He claimed to be, why was He so unpretending? If He was satisfied to be without the force of arms, what would become of their
How could the power and glory so long anticipated bring the nations as subjects to the city of the Jews? Had not the priests taught that Israel was to bear rule over all the earth? and could it be possible that the great religious teachers were in error?
But it was not simply the absence of outward glory in His life that led the Jews to reject Jesus. He was the embodiment of purity, and they were impure. He dwelt among men an example of spotless integrity. His blameless life flashed light upon their hearts. His sincerity revealed their insincerity. It made manifest the hollowness of their pretentious piety, and discovered iniquity to them in its odious character. Such a light was unwelcome.
If Christ had called attention to the Pharisees, and had extolled their learning and piety, they would have hailed Him with joy. But when He spoke of the kingdom of heaven as a dispensation of mercy for all mankind, He was presenting a phase of religion they would not tolerate. Their own example and teaching had never been such as to make the service of God seem desirable. When they saw Jesus giving attention to the very ones they hated and repulsed, it stirred up the worst passions of their proud hearts. Notwithstanding their boast that under the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5), Israel should be exalted to pre-eminence over all nations, they could have borne the disappointment of their ambitious hopes better than they could bear Christ's reproof of their sins, and the reproach they felt even from the presence of His purity.
appear at the head of armies, page 236
was the son of a carpenter,, page 237
at His trade, page 237
They had seen, page 237
they cried out against, page 239
The assembly broke up, page 240
They hurried Him, page 240
to the brow of a precipice,, page 240
cast Him down headlong., page 240
the fame of His, page 241
had filled the, page 241
They hurried Him to the brow of a precipice, intending to cast Him down headlong.18
In this chapter Dr. Veltman says that there is one verbatim sentence; there are 19 sentences that are paraphrases, 11 are from the Bible and 121 are independent. This means that 86.6667% of the chapter is from EGW and the Bible--again here's that 80% figure that the critics keep citing--could this be what they mean and just got the claim backwards?
1) This is an interesting chapter to study because in his analysis Dr. Veltman seems to betray a belief in the concept of verbal inspiration:
What intriques us is the way in which Ellen White takes a short and rather concise story and using literary sources as well as her own creative abilities develops several different applications. We would like to know, which parts remain basically stable and which parts undergo modification? How does the force or emphasis change according to the general thrust of the various article and book presentations? Does the story always play the same role in each composition? To what degree do the sentences change and what does it tell us about verbal inspiration and the proper way to interpret Ellen G. White's writings? (page 287-8)
Since we know that Ellen G. White did NOT believe in "verbal inspiration" (see the last example in Dr. Denis Fortin's study: http://www.andrews.edu/~fortind/EGWWhite-Conybeare.htm) we should ask why it is being applied to her and her writings? If we accept "verbal inspiration" for Ellen G. White then isn't the plagiarism claim and the verbal dependence claim really being directed at the wrong person (E. G. White) when, in fact, it should be directed at God? Again, if we accept the claim of "verbal inspiration" then shouldn't we ask why Ellen G. White's "bookmakers" didn't respect it and instead fixed her spelling, punctuation and grammar? We can ask further what it says about God's spelling, punctuation and grammar? If we accept the claim of "verbal inspiration" then shouldn't we also ask why the E.G. White Estate and Ellen G. White's assistants and relatives did not preserve the originals of all her writings?
2) Dr. Veltman correctly points out that the longer treatment of the Nazareth story in this chapter (as compared with earlier accounts--if we accept the verbal inspiration argument--doesn't that basically say that the previous writings were "inadequate"? And then, we should ask what does that say about God?) cannot simply be attributed to "extended borrowing from literary sources" (page 297) when such evidence is not presented.
3) One puzzling claim in Dr. Veltman's study is found on page 298: "There is also great similarity between the thought of Ellen White and that of literary sources even when we cannot show literary or verbal dependency." If one cannot show the dependency then how can one claim that there is similarity? Isn't this simply a claim without evidence? We can also ask if the apparent similarity could be due to different people of the same culture and theological perspective simply talking about the same scene? Could it also be an artificial apparent similarity due to different authors working within the limitations of same language? It is interesting to note that none of the critics interact with these questions.
4) Another interesting comment by Dr. Veltman can be found on page 298: "A fair evaluation requires us to register differences between Ellen White writings as well as between her writings [note the following assumption--] and the literary sources she used." Allowing the assumption to stand for the moment we find that this is something that the critics have never taken the time and energy to note.
5) Again, on pages 300-1, Dr. Veltman gets to the heart of the matter in his analysis, though once again he begins with an unproven assumption that one of these many similar writers must have been Ellen White's source:
"Has Ellen White's source copied from an earlier writer? The concern over charges of plagiarism against Ellen White must push the question further back in source tradition study. Literary conventions are established by practice and not by external legal or ethical norms. The historical, literary, and cultural context of these 19th century lives of Christ needs to be explored before we can settle the issue of plagiarism for a given 19th century religious writer.A More than once in this source critical study we have faced the problem of sorting out the true source from a number of similar sentence parallels."
A In a phone conversation with Dr. Veltman he noted this same point and the fact that it has not yet been done for Ellen G. White's writings vis-a-vis other 19th century religious writers.
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