From their press release:
A group of historians has begun a project to produce a book on Ellen Gould Harmon White (1827-1915), a cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist church. An introduction to her life and times written for history scholars and students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, the book is being prepared by 21 chapter authors. They are refining and polishing the chapters and plan to submit the manuscript to the Oxford University Press, which has expressed strong interest in publishing the volume, in the summer of 2010.
The chapters, which reflect months, years, or even decades of research, were assigned in 2007. They will examine Ellen White’s biography, her ideas, and the impact she has made on the history of the Seventh-day Adventist church and on the history of American religion.
The project was initiated by Julius Nam, an associate professor of religion at Loma Linda University, Terrie Aamodt, a professor of history at Walla Walla University, and Gary Land, professor and chair of political studies at Andrews University and lead editor of the book. They invited Ronald Numbers, Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to join the planning group. Professor Numbers enlisted a number of distinguished scholars to participate in the project, and he also elicited interest in the project from Oxford University Press.
“Ellen White has been identified with Anne Hutchinson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mary Baker Eddy, and Aimee Semple McPherson as one of the most prominent women in American religious history,” said Professor Land, “yet she is one of the least studied and understood. This work will encourage further examination and discussion of her role in history.”
The project was designed to promote collaborative research. Each chapter draft will be reviewed in detail by two scholars, one a scholar familiar with Adventist studies and the other a specialist in part of the chapter’s historical context. The chapters will also be read and evaluated by all of the participants.
In October 2009, the participants will meet at a workshop in Portland, Maine, the site of Ellen Harmon’s early upbringing, to review, refine, and edit the chapter drafts. The entire book manuscript will be evaluated by two scholars, who will write the foreword and afterword of the book.
After the workshop, editors and authors will continue to refine the chapter drafts, seeking unity of tone while embracing the diversity of specialization represented by the authors.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is one of the four most innovative denominations founded in the United States in the nineteenth century, along with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the Church of Christ, Scientist; and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the present time, the SDA church has the largest worldwide membership of the four.
“The LDS denomination and its leaders have undergone thorough historical treatment, and Christian Science has been extensively examined as well,” said Gary Land. “Much less attention has been accorded the Witnesses and the Adventists. Wider scholarly discussions on Ellen White are long overdue.”
Chair, History and Political Studies