by Monte Sahlin
By Adventist Today News Team, December 18, 2013
A 1,500-page peer-reviewed reference work that has been 15 years in preparation will be released in 2014. It is entitled The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia and will include hundreds of articles and key research tools by more than 180 writers, many of them with doctoral degrees in history, religious studies and other relevant academic fields.
The heavily researched and footnoted articles will cover most of the people White corresponded with, wrote about or interacted with as well as a wide range of topics touched on in her very large number of books, articles and unpublished manuscripts. Although not well known outside of Adventist circles, White not only helped to launch a religious movement that now has 20 to 30 million adherents and is recognized as the twelfth largest religious body in the world, but also generated one of the largest literary productions of any author. She wrote 26 books, 200 pamphlets, about five thousand periodical articles, more than six thousand letters and other materials; a total of about 100,000 pages over 70 years.
Included in the new reference work will be lists of White's books (including posthumous compilations), letters and other manuscripts. Appendix B will provide a chart showing the relationships among her books. Another article will provide a bibliographic essay on publications about White, and yet another will describe the existing archival resources and how to access them. These features alone make this an unprecedented tool for finding and understanding materials attributed to White.
The topical articles will summarize White's stand on topics as diverse as the doctrine of justification, the humanity of Christ, perfection, legalism, masturbation, dress reform, football, use of humor, consumption of dairy products, and use of the biblical Apocrypha. The biographical materials will include a detailed chronology of her life as well as a concise biography. While her official biography is six volumes, the summary of her life in early pages of this new reference work will devote about a dozen pages each to five segments: childhood and teen years (1827-1844), organizing a new denomination (1844-1863), shaping the church and its mission (1863-1881), key controversies and travels (1881-1900), and her senior years (1900-1915).
The project which led to this large reference work was launched by noted Adventist historian and writer George Knight, who is listed as "consulting editor" on the title page. The primary producers are Dr. Denis Fortin and Dr. Jerry Moon, listed as the editors on the title page. Both are trained historians who have published serious works. Moon is currently chair of the church history department in the seminary at Andrews University and Fortin served as dean of the seminary from 2006 until earlier this year when he returned to full-time teaching.
None of these three primary editors, nor assistant editor Michael Campbell, have ever been employed by the White Estate, which represents a new level of independence for any book of this type from an Adventist publisher. "We hope … this work will stimulate a new wave of interest in and research about" White, the editors wrote in the preface.
The publisher is already taking pre-publication orders at a significant discount; about $40 if you order now as compared to $70 when it comes off the press. The Review & Herald Publishing Association, although currently struggling with severe problems with its business model as are almost all book publishers (secular and religious), is historically the first of the many publishing companies owned by the Adventist denomination. It was founded by Ellen White's husband with her encouragement and continues to publish many of her books.
Additional information is available and orders can be placed at this Web page: