by Monte Sahlin
By AT News Team, March 13, 2014
The Review & Herald Publishing Association has begun to circulate advertizing for volume one of Ellen G. White Letters & Manuscripts with Annotations. A source has told Adventist Today that this is the beginning of the long-promised release of the complete works of the cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.
The ad states that the multi-volume series "will give you access to everything Ellen White wrote including letters, diaries and manuscripts … every known page" of White's writings. The first volume will be "available summer 2014," which usually means it will be sold at camp meetings. The Adventist Book Center web site is not yet taking orders.
The first volume includes the materials written from 1845 through 1859, a 15-year period before the denomination began to be organized in the early 1860s. They will appear in chronological order and include notes about the context, identifying individuals mentioned or to whom letters are addressed, etc., in the standard pattern of the complete works of other authors.
"Several years ago … began a project of preparing several volumes of annotations (or providing context) for Ellen G. White’s letters and manuscripts," says a news announcement on the official web site of the Ellen G. White Estate. "Initially, the task was assigned to Dr. Roland Karlman, based at Newbold College in England, who has been working on the first volume for several years. The task has proven to be, however, much larger and time consuming than expected."
At the end of 2012, Karlman retired and Pastor Stan Hickerson, a local minister in Stevensville, Michigan, with experience as a researcher in Adventist history, continued the project. He works out of the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University.
A source has told Adventist Today that about one additional volume will be published each year. It may take a decade or longer for the entire series to be released.
The availability of all of White's writings has long been a topic of controversy among Adventists. There have been instances in which newly released materials have conveyed a different view than positions that were long attributed to White as well as scholarship demonstrating that White's views on some topics changed over her lifetime. There have also been many rumors that White made statements which later proved to not be factual.
In the last three or four decades most of her periodical articles were republished in complete collections for each of the major journals, as well as all of the pieces of manuscripts that were approved for release to various scholars and compilations put together on a variety of topics. Some of these had limited notes, but there was no uniform annotation process that met the general standards of historical and literary research.