We analyze. You decide!
"No lie can live forever." Thomas Carlyle

An Analysis of the Literary Similarity
of The Desire of Ages, Chapter 59

      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.

      One problem with those who are "victims" of parallelomania is that they confuse the mere presence of a few words in both texts as being evidence of plagiarism. They completely overlook the context and meaning of the words that are similar, an even more importantly, the far greater number of words that are dissimilar.

      It has been noted by students of plagiarism that one can make a work look 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.  Paragraphs that are 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.

Color Key

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.

W. Hanna The Life of Christ. (1863) Ellen G. White The Desire of Ages. (1898)
Hanna, page 463

      Let us now resume the narrative. The rising of Lazarus was too conspicuous a miracle, it had been wrought too near the city, had been seen by too many witnesses, and had produced too palpable results, not to attract the immediate and fixed attention of the Jewish rulers. Within a few hours after its performance Jerusalem would be filled with the report of its performance. A meeting of the Sanhedrim was immediately summoned, and sat in council as to what should be done. No doubt was raised as to the reality of this or any of the other miracles which Christ had wrought. They had been done too openly to admit of that. But now, when many even of the Jews of Jerusalem were believing in him, some stringent measures must be taken to check this rising, swelling tide, or who could tell to what it may carry them? There were divisions, however, in the council. It was constituted of Pharisees and Sadducees, who had been looking at Jesus all through very different eyes. The Pharisees, from the first, had hated him. He had made so little of all their boasted righteousness, had exalted goodness and holiness of heart and life so far above all ritualistic regularity, had simplified religion so, and encouraged men, however sinful, to go directly to

Page 464
God as their merciful father, setting aside the pretensions of the priesthood, and treating as things of little worth the labored theology and learning of the schools, he had been so unsparing besides in exposing the avarice, the ambition, the sensuality that cloaked themselves in the garb of a precise and exclusive and fastidious religionism, that they early felt that their quarrel with him was not to be settled otherwise than by his death. Very early, on the occasion of his second visit to Jerusalem, they had sought to slay him, at first nominally as a Sabbath-breaker, then afterwards, and still more, as a blasphemer. In Galilee--to which he had retired to put himself out of the reach of the Pharisees of the capital--their hostility pursued him, till we read of the Pharisees and the Herodians then taking counsel together "how they might destroy him." Once and again, at the feast of the Tabernacles, and at the Feast of dedication, stones had been taken up to stone him to death, officers had been sent to arrest him, and the resolution taken and announced, that if any man should confess that he was the Christ, he should be excommunicated. But as yet no formal determination of the Sanhedrim had been made that he should be put to death. The reason for this delay, for suffering Christ to go at large even for so long a time as he did, was in all likelihood the dominance in the Sanhedrim of the Sadducean element. The Sadducees had their own grounds for disliking the person, the character, the teaching, the pretensions of Jesus, but they were not so vehement or so virulent in their persecution of him. caring less about religious dogmas and observances than the rival sect, they might have been readier to tolerate him as an excited enthusiast; but now they also got frightened, for they were the great supporters of the Roman power, and the great fearers of popular revolt. And so when this meeting of the Great Council was called in haste, Pharisees and Sadducees found common ground in saying to one another, "What do we?" for this man does many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation." Neither party believed that there was any chance of Jesus making a successful revolt, and achieving by that success a liberation from the Roman yoke, as it then lay upon them. The Pharisees, the secret enemies of the foreigner, saw nothing in Jesus of such a warlike leader as the nation longed for and required. The Sadducees, dreading some outbreak, but utterly faithless as to any god issue coming out of it, saw nothing before them as the result of such a movement but the loss of such power as they were still permitted to exercise.
Page 465
And so both combined against the Lord. But there was some loose talking, some doubts were expressed by men like Nicodemus, or some feebler measures spoken of, till the high priest himself arose--Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, connected thus with that family in which the Jewish pontificate remained for fifty years--four of the sons, as well as the son-in-law of Annas, having, with some interruptions, enjoyed this dignity. All through this period, embracing the whole of Christ's life from early childhood, Annas, the head of the favored family, even when himself out of office, retained much of its power, being consulted on all occasions of importance, and acting as the president of the Sanhedrim. Hence it is that in the closing scenes of our Lord's history Annas and Caiaphas appear as acting conjunctly, each spoken of as high priest. Caiaphas, like the rest of his family, like all the aristocracy of the temple, was Sadducee; and the spirit both of the family and the sect was that of haughty pride ad a bold and reckless cruelty. Caiaphas cut the deliberations short by saying impetuously and authoritatively to his colleagues, "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." One life, the life of this Galilean, what is it worth? What matters it, whether he be innocent or guilty, according to this or that man's estimate of guilt or innocence; it stands in the way of the national welfare. Better one man perish than that a whole nation be involved in danger, it may be in ruin. The false, the hollow, the unjust plea, upon which the life of many a good and innocent man, guilty of nothing but speaking the plain and honest truth, has been sacrificed, had all the sound, as coming from the lips of the high priest, of a wise policy, a consultation for the nation's good. Pleased with themselves as such good patriots, and covering with this disguise all the other grounds and reasons for the resolution, it was determined that Jesus should be put to death. It remained only to see how most speedily and most safely it could be accomplished.
Page 537

Priestly Plottings

[This chapter is based on John 11:47-54.]

      Bethany was so near Jerusalem that the news of the raising of Lazarus was soon carried to the city. Through spies who had witnessed the miracle the Jewish rulers were speedily in possession of the facts. A meeting of the Sanhedrin was at once called to decide as to what should be done. Christ had now fully made manifest His control of death and the grave. That mighty miracle was the crowning evidence offered by God to men that He had sent His Son into the world for their salvation. It was a demonstration of divine power sufficient to convince every mind that was under the control of reason and enlightened conscience. Many who witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus were led to believe on Jesus. But the hatred of the priests against Him was intensified. They had rejected all lesser evidence of His divinity, and they were only enraged at this new miracle. The dead had been raised in the full light of day, and before a crowd of witnesses. No artifice could explain away such evidence. For this very reason the enmity of the priests grew deadlier. They were more than ever determined to put a stop to Christ's work.

      The Sadducees, though not favorable to Christ, had not been so full of malignity toward Him as were the Pharisees. Their hatred had not been so bitter. But they were now thoroughly alarmed. They did not

Page 538
believe in a resurrection of the dead. Producing so-called science, they had reasoned that it would be an impossibility for a dead body to be brought to life. But by a few words from Christ their theory had been overthrown. They were shown to be ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They could see no possibility of removing the impression made on the people by the miracle. How could men be turned away from Him who had prevailed to rob the grave of its dead? Lying reports were put in circulation, but the miracle could not be denied, and how to counteract its effect they knew not. Thus far the Sadducees had not encouraged the plan of putting Christ to death. But after the resurrection of Lazarus they decided that only by His death could His fearless denunciations against them be stopped.

      The Pharisees believed in the resurrection, and they could not but see that this miracle was an evidence that the Messiah was among them. But they had ever opposed Christ's work. From the first they had hated Him because He had exposed their hypocritical pretensions. He had torn aside the cloak of rigorous rites under which their moral deformity was hidden. The pure religion that He taught had condemned their hollow professions of piety. They thirsted to be revenged upon Him for His pointed rebukes. They had tried to provoke Him to say or do something that would give them occasion to condemn Him. Several times they had attempted to stone Him, but He had quietly withdrawn, and they had lost sight of Him.

      The miracles He performed on the Sabbath were all for the relief of the afflicted, but the Pharisees had sought to condemn Him as a Sabbathbreaker. They had tried to arouse the Herodians against Him. They represented that He was seeking to set up a rival kingdom, and consulted with them how to destroy Him. To excite the Romans against Him, they had represented Him as trying to subvert their authority. They had tried every pretext to cut Him off from influencing the people. But so far their attempts had been foiled. The multitudes who witnessed His works of mercy and heard His pure and holy teachings knew that these were not the deeds and words of a Sabbathbreaker or blasphemer. Even the officers sent by the Pharisees had been so influenced by His words that they could not lay hands on Him. In desperation the Jews had finally passed an edict that any man who professed faith in Jesus should be cast out of the synagogue.

      So, as the priests, the rulers, and the elders gathered for consultation, it was their fixed determination to silence Him who did such marvelous

Page 539
works that all men wondered. Pharisees and Sadducees were more nearly united than ever before. Divided hitherto, they became one in their opposition to Christ. Nicodemus and Joseph had, in former councils, prevented the condemnation of Jesus, and for this reason they were not now summoned. There were present at the council other influential men who believed on Jesus, but their influence prevailed nothing against that of the malignant Pharisees.

      Yet the members of the council were not all agreed. The Sanhedrin was not at this time a legal assembly. It existed only by tolerance. Some of its number questioned the wisdom of putting Christ to death. They feared that this would excite an insurrection among the people, causing the Romans to withhold further favors from the priesthood, and to take from them the power they still held. The Sadducees were united in their hatred of Christ, yet they were inclined to be cautious in their movements, fearing that the Romans would deprive them of their high standing.

      In this council, assembled to plan the death of Christ, the Witness was present who heard the boastful words of Nebuchadnezzar, who witnessed the idolatrous feast of Belshazzar, who was present when Christ in Nazareth announced Himself the Anointed One. This Witness was now impressing the rulers with the work they were doing. Events in the life of Christ rose up before them with a distinctness that alarmed them. They remembered the scene in the temple, when Jesus, then a child of twelve, stood before the learned doctors of the law, asking them questions at which they wondered. The miracle just performed bore witness that Jesus was none other than the Son of God. In their true significance, the Old Testament Scriptures regarding Christ flashed before their minds. Perplexed and troubled, the rulers asked, "What do we?" There was a division in the council. Under the impression of the Holy Spirit, the priests and rulers could not banish the conviction that they were fighting against God.

      While the council was at the height of its perplexity, Caiaphas the high priest arose. Caiaphas was a proud and cruel man, overbearing and intolerant. Among his family connections were Sadducees, proud, bold, reckless, full of ambition and cruelty, which they hid under a cloak of pretended righteousness. Caiaphas had studied the prophecies, and although ignorant of their true meaning, he spoke with great authority and assurance: "Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation

Page 540
perish not." Even if Jesus were innocent, urged the high priest, He must be put out of the way. He was troublesome, drawing the people to Himself, and lessening the authority of the rulers. He was only one; it was better that He should die than that the authority of the rulers should be weakened. If the people were to lose confidence in their rulers, the national power would be destroyed. Caiaphas urged that after this miracle the followers of Jesus would likely rise in revolt. The Romans will then come, he said, and will close our temple, and abolish our laws, destroying us as a nation. What is the life of this Galilean worth in comparison with the life of the nation? If He stands in the way of Israel's well-being, is it not doing God a service to remove Him? Better that one man perish than that the whole nation be destroyed.

      In declaring that one man should die for the nation, Caiaphas indicated that he had some knowledge of the prophecies, although it was very limited. But John, in his account of this scene, takes up the prophecy, and shows its broad and deep significance. He says, "And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." How blindly did the haughty Caiaphas acknowledge the Saviour's mission!

      On the lips of Caiaphas this most precious truth was turned into a lie. The policy he advocated was based on a principle borrowed from heathenism. Among the heathen, the dim consciousness that one was to die for the human race had led to the offering of human sacrifices. So Caiaphas proposed by the sacrifice of Jesus to save the guilty nation, not from transgression, but in transgression, that they might continue in sin. And by his reasoning he thought to silence the remonstrances of those who might dare to say that as yet nothing worthy of death had been found in Jesus.

      At this council Christ's enemies had been deeply convicted. The Holy Spirit had impressed their minds. But Satan strove to gain control of them. He urged upon their notice the grievances they had suffered on account of Christ. How little He had honored their righteousness. He presented a righteousness far greater, which all who would be children of God must possess. Taking no notice of their forms and ceremonies, He had encouraged sinners to go directly to God as a merciful Father, and make known their wants. Thus, in their opinion, He had set aside the priesthood. He had refused to acknowledge the theology of the rabbinical schools. He had exposed the evil practices of the priests,

Page 541
and had irreparably hurt their influence. He had injured the effect of their maxims and traditions, declaring that though they strictly enforced the ritual law, they made void the law of God. All this Satan now brought to their minds.

      Satan told them that in order to maintain their authority, they must put Jesus to death. This counsel they followed. The fact that they might lose the power they then exercised, was, they thought, sufficient reason for coming to some decision. With the exception of a few who dared not speak their minds, the Sanhedrin received the words of Caiaphas as the words of God. Relief came to the council; the discord ceased. They resolved to put Christ to death at the first favorable opportunity. In rejecting the proof of the divinity of Jesus, these priests and rulers had locked themselves in impenetrable darkness. They had come wholly under the sway of Satan, to be hurried by him over the brink of eternal ruin. Yet such was their deception that they were well pleased with themselves. They regarded themselves as patriots, who were seeking the nation's salvation.

      The Sanhedrin feared, however, to take rash measures against Jesus, lest the people should become incensed, and the violence meditated toward Him should fall upon themselves. On this account the council delayed to execute the sentence they had pronounced. The Saviour understood the plotting of the priests. He knew that they longed to remove Him, and that their purpose would soon be accomplished. But it was not His place to hasten the crisis, and He withdrew from that region, taking the disciples with Him. Thus by His own example Jesus again enforced the instruction He had given to the disciples, "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another." Matt. 10:23. There was a wide field in which to work for the salvation of souls; and unless loyalty to Him required it, the Lord's servants were not to imperil their lives.

      Jesus had now given three years of public labor to the world. His example of self-denial and disinterested benevolence was before them. His life of purity, of suffering and devotion, was known to all. Yet this short period of three years was as long as the world could endure the presence of its Redeemer.

      His life had been one of persecution and insult. Driven from Bethlehem by a jealous king, rejected by His own people at Nazareth, condemned to death without a cause at Jerusalem, Jesus, with His few faithful followers, found a temporary asylum in a strange city. He who

Page 542
was ever touched by human woe, who healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and speech to the dumb, who fed the hungry and comforted the sorrowful, was driven from the people He had labored to save. He who walked upon the heaving billows, and by a word silenced their angry roaring, who cast out devils that in departing acknowledged Him to be the Son of God, who broke the slumbers of the dead, who held thousands entranced by His words of wisdom, was unable to reach the hearts of those who were blinded by prejudice and hatred, and who stubbornly rejected the light.

Longest Phrases Index
(nothing less than three word phrases are included here; I found these phrases)

      the raising of Lazarus was, page 537
      A meeting of the Sanhedrin was, page 537
      as to what should be done., page 537
      in the council., page 539
      stands in the way of, page 540
      one man perish than that, page 540
      whole nation be, page 540
      to go directly to God as, page 540


      Of the 2,118 words in the chapter 39 words are found in the above phrases; this amounts to 1.8414%.

© David J. Conklin (February 26, 2006)