Paragraph Analysis of Chapter 5

     In this table each paragraph from Ellen G. White's The Desire of Ages in chapter 5 is numbered. Then I list potential sources, followed by the percentage of verbal similarity (measured by a word count and divided by the total number of words in the Ellen G. White paragraph). In the potential, or alleged source, I give the page followed by the paragraph with a period in between the two numbers.  Where there is no percentage figure although an alleged source is given that means that it was determined that any verbal similarity came from the Scriptural source that is listed.

Ellen G. White W. Hanna D. March J. Harris A. Edersheim Others Bible Percent
Chapter 5
1 32.1 Luke 2:22-4 18.75%
2 32.1 Lev. 12:6-8 0.00%
3 "blemishes"1 1 Pet. 1:19 0.00%
433.1 3.57%
5 Ex. 4:22-3 0.00%
633.1 Ex. 5:2 7.96%
7 Ex. 13:2; Num. 3:13 0.00%
8 34.1 8.96%
9 32.2 12.98%
1035.1 16.85%
11 34.2 Rev. 22:16; Heb. 10:21; 7:24 0.00%
12 35.1 Luke 2:25-6 0.00%
13 36.2 Luke 2:25-32 0.00%
14 37.1 Luke 2:33-5 0.00%
15 39.1 Luke 2:11 0.00%
16 0.00%
17 0.00%
18 38.1 Isa. 11:1-5; 9:2-6 0.00%
19 36.2 Luke 2:32 0.00%
20 38.1 Luke 2:35; 1:78 0.00%
21 37.1 Luke 2:35 0.00%
22 40.3 96 Luke 2:35 6.55%
23 97 4.48%
2440.3 3.19%
25 0.00%
AVERAGE =   3.33%


1 It is claimed that Ellen G. White copied her word "blemish" from Edersheim's use of the word "blemishes" when it is far more likely that she picked up the words "without blemish" from the Biblical text (1 Pet. 1:19) that she quotes in the same paragraph.


     The average figure here is on the high side on a number of grounds.  First, because it counts each and every verbal similarity regardless of how the word is used in each source, second, it counts names and sources which are integral to the story and could have been picked up from Scripture rather than the alleged secular source, and third, it ignores the conventions of the English language.

     This analysis is still too superficial because it looks at whole paragraphs and ignores the fact that, at best, only snippets of material are "used".

     The second flaw is that the length of the paragraphs varies. So, one could have a small amount of verbal similarity in a small paragraph and yet arrive at a high percentage figure and no verbal similarity in the next paragraph (which maybe quite long) and you wouldn't be able to see the difference between the two paragraphs.

     The one plus side of this form of analysis is that one can see that in order for Ellen G. White to have copied her material from other sources she must have skipped around in Hanna, March and Scripture virtually simultaneously in this chapter. Yet, unless one examines the table closely one cannot see the amount of material she skipped over from Hanna.

Analysis of Chapter Five (Page One)

Analysis of Chapter Five (Page Two)

Index to David's files

David J. Conklin (Jan. 8, 2006)