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Tons of research
on Ellen White.

www.EllenWhite.info - The Ellen White information website.

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Color Key

Material that is an exact, word-for-word match of the alleged source.

Words that are a match of biblical material as well as of the source.

Material that is similar, but the word forms are different.

Material that is represented in Rea's comparison by an ellipsis.

Material that was ignored in Rea's comparison.

Material dropped from the beginning or end of the paragraph of the alleged source by Rea.

Material clipped from the beginning or end of a sentence in Rea's comparison, 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.)

Faulty capitalization by Rea.

An Analysis of the Literary Dependency of Desire of Ages, chapter 5

contributed by David J. Conklin

Paragraphs 9 and 10 (analysis of pp. 324, 325 of White Lie)

We have removed the bold and italics from Acts 3:22 that Walter Rea added, thus restoring the selection back to its original format.

Desire of Ages (1898)
Ellen G. White, p. 52
The Life of Christ, (1863)
William Hanna, pp. 32-36

What meaning then was attached to Christ's presentation! But the priest did not see through the veil; he did not read the mystery beyond. The presentation of infants was a common scene. Day after day the priest received the redemption money as the babes were presented to the Lord. Day after day he went through the routine of his work, giving little heed to the parents or children, unless he saw some indication of the wealth or high rank of the parents. Joseph and Mary were poor; and when they came with their child, the priests saw only a man and woman dressed as Galileans, and in the humblest garments. There was nothing in their appearance to attract attention, and they presented only the offering made by the poorer classes.

The priest went through the ceremony of his official work. He took the child in his arms, and held it up before the altar. After handing it back to its mother, he inscribed the name "Jesus" on the roll of the first-born. Little did he think, as the babe lay in his arms, that it was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory. The priest did not think that this babe was the One of whom Moses had written, "A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you." Acts 3:22. He did not think that this babe was He whose glory Moses had asked to see. But One greater than Moses lay in the priest's arms; and when he enrolled the child's name, he was enrolling the name of One who was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. That name was to be its death warrant; for the system of sacrifices and offerings was waxing old; the type had almost reached its antitype, the shadow its substance.

There were few more common, few less noticeable sights than the one witnessed that forenoon within the temple when Christ's presentation as a first-born child took place. It happened every day that mothers brought their children to be in this way dedicated and redeemed. It was part of the daily routine work of the priest-in-waiting to take their payments, to hold up the children before the altar, to enroll their names in the register of the first-born, and so to complete the dedication; a work which from its commonness he went through without giving much attention either to parents or to child, unless indeed there was something special in their rank, of their

page 33

appearance, or their offerings.9 But here was nothing of the kind. A10 poor man and woman, in humblest guise, with humblest offerings, present themselves before him. The woman holds out her first-born babe; he takes, presents, enrolls, and hands it back to her; all seems over, and what is there in so common, plain, and simple an old Jewish custom worthy of any particular notice?11, 12 We shall be able to answer that question better, by considering for a moment what this rite of the dedication of the first-born among the Israelites really meant, especially as applied to this first-born, to this child Jesus.

[3 paragraphs are skipped over, to page 35]

How little did that Jewish priest, who took the infant Saviour and held him up before the altar, imagine that a greater than Moses, one greater than the temple, was in his arms!12 How little did he imagine, as he inscribed the new name Jesus in the roll of the first-born of Israel, that he was signing the death-warrant of the Mosaic economy now waxing old and ready to vanish away; that he was ushering in that better, brighter day, when neither of the temple upon Mount Zion, nor that upon Gerizim, it should be said that

page 36

there only was the true worship of Jehovah celebrated; but when, taught by this very Jesus to know God as our Father in heaven, unfettered and redeemed humanity in every land should worship him who is a Spirit in spirit and in truth. [This paragraph continues for another 13 lines or 4 sentences—see comparison for paragraph 12.]

And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. (Luke 2:22)

And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean. (Lev. 12:8)

In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Heb. 8:13)

Observations: Out of about 320 words in Desire of Ages, 47 are the same or similar to Hanna, but not taken from Scripture. That's the highest we've seen thus far, a whopping 14.7%. If the whole book contained this high a percentage of borrowed wording, would this have been a crime in 1898?

Well, there's a problem. And it isn't the fact that the similarities in Desire of Ages are not always used at the same places as the alleged source. The problem is that William Hanna lived at Edinburgh, and thus his book was in the public domain in the U.S., where Desire of Ages was published, unless Hanna followed special procedures at the time of publication. Apparently he never did, for when the American Tract Society and R. Carter and Brothers published American editions in the 1870's, no copyright notice appears on the reverse of the title pages. That indicates that the book was in the public domain, and that any American citizen could have copied 100% of the book verbatim, if they so chose.


  1. Rea inserted an ellipsis here where there should not be one.
  2. Rea changed this letter to lowercase. By so doing it makes Hanna's wording appear more similar to Ellen White's. Not ellipsing the preceding words, "But here," only confuses the matter.
  3. While Rea did insert an ellipsis here, the position of the preceding period hides the fact that the previous sentence is clipped.
  4. In Rea's book the punctuation is changed at this point to a period.

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