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The Ellen White Project is a collaborative effort engaging Adventist and non-Adventist American religious historians in academic dialogue. Sixty-five individuals have been engaged to produce a major scholarly work examining the full range of Ellen White’s life and influence on American religious culture. This weekend they are meeting in Portland, Maine to network and discuss book chapter material. Alden Thompson reports:
Insiders and outsiders; believers and non-believers; Adventists and non-Adventists; historians, biblical scholars, and a sprinkling of scientists; those who are eager to talk about development and change and those who resist; those who really like Ellen White, those who really don't, and those who know almost nothing about her; those who put the best spin possible on the data, and those who put the worst. That's the mix at this weekend’s event. Attitudes have been very positive all the way around; the non-Adventists are moderately intrigued by all the Adventist insider stuff, and generally make very helpful suggestions as to how the various chapters can be improved. Some of the chapters have been excellent; some still need a fair bit of work. Will a scholarly book on Ellen White result from all this? It's possible, but the editors will have their hands full.
From the first lecture on Thursday night by Joan Hedrick (author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Harriett Beecher Stowe), through Saturday evening, our days have been full of good things. Sabbath morning at 7:00, we had a worship service with a homily by Kendra Haloviak of La Sierra University. We sang, prayed, and remembered that this was the day the Lord had blessed. We met in the church that Ellen White and her family attended in Portland. It was the church that once dropped the Harmon family from membership. Then it was a Methodist church. Now it is Unitarian.
Tomorrow we finish up, just before noon. Regardless of any publication that emerges, this has been a worthwhile venture--thought-provoking, sobering, and even encouraging.
Click here to learn more about the Ellen White Project.
UPDATE: Click here to watch a video interview from the conference with Ron Numbers.