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Oxford University Press Releases “Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet”


Oxford University Press may be the latest facilitator of present truth on the life of Ellen White. Oxford has made available for preorder its tome, “Ellen Harmon White: American Prophet,” edited by Terrie Dopp Aamodt, Gary Land, and Ronald L. Numbers. Publication is slated for May 16, 2014, and pre-ordered copies will be shipped on April 18.

On October 22-25, 2009, a group of scholars, some Adventist, some not, gathered in Ellen White’s childhood town, Portland Maine, for a working conference that brought together specialists in Ellen White studies and specialists in her wider social contexts. During the conference, chapter authors and respondents laid the foundation for “American Prophet.”

“American Prophet” is a book of careful scholarship that aims to present Ellen White as a prolific, innovative religious leader. According to Oxford, the book:

  • Is the first comprehensive scholarly treatment of Ellen White’s life, career, and cultural context
  • Measures White’s contribution to the development of Adventist theology in a new, comprehensive way
  • Re-contextualizes White’s published spiritual advice letters, or testimonies
  • Offers the most comprehensive assessment of biographers’ and historians’ response to White in the final historiographical essay

Oxford also offers this précis:

In America, as in Britain, the Victorian era enjoyed a long life, stretching from the 1830s to the 1910s. It marked the transition from a pre-modern to a modern way of life. Ellen Harmon White’s life (1827-1915) spanned those years and then some, but the last three months of a single year, 1844, served as the pivot for everything else. When the Lord failed to return on October 22, as she and other followers of William Miller had predicted, White did not lose heart. Fired by a vision she experienced, White played the principal role in transforming a remnant minority of Millerites into the sturdy sect that soon came to be known as the Seventh-day Adventists. She and a small group of fellow believers emphasized a Saturday Sabbath and an imminent Advent. Today that flourishing denomination posts eighteen million adherents globally and one of the largest education, hospital, publishing, and missionary outreach programs in the world. Over the course of her life White generated 70,000 manuscript pages and letters, and produced 40 books that have enjoyed extremely wide circulation. She ranks as one of the most gifted and influential religious leaders in American history and this volume tells her story in a new and remarkably informative way. Some of the contributors identify with the Adventist tradition, some with other Christian denominations, and some with no religious tradition at all. Their essays call for White to be seen as a significant figure in American religious history and for her to be understood within the context of her times.

Of the book’s twenty-one contributors, one, Arthur Patrick, did not live to see the book’s release. Patrick, who served as an honorary research fellow at Avondale College in Australia, died in March, 2013. Of Patrick’s passing, contributor Graeme Sharrock offered, “If anyone deserved to have the book dedication, it would have been Arthur. He pioneered the field of Adventist Studies and published about Ellen White with both grace and historical integrity for four decades. We wish he could have seen the final book.”

In 336 pages with twenty-one illustrations, “American Prophet” paints an image of Ellen White as both a product and shaper of the culture in which she lived. The book’s outline follows:


Foreword – Grant Wacker

1. A Portrait – Jonathan Butler
2. Visions – Ann Taves
3. Testimonies – Graeme Sharrock
4. Prophet – Ronald Graybill
5. Author – Arthur Patrick
6. Speaker – Terrie Aamodt
7. Builder – Floyd Greenleaf and Jerry Moon
8. Theology – Fritz Guy
9. Practical Theology – Bert Haloviak
10. Second Coming – Jonathan Butler
11. Science and Medicine – Ronald L. Numbers and Rennie B. Schoepflin
12. Society – Douglas Morgan
13. Culture – Benjamin McArthur
14. Race – Eric Anderson
15. Gender – Laura Vance
16. Death and Burial – T. Joe Willey
17. Legacy – Paul McGraw and Gilbert Valentine
18. Biographies – Gary Land


This version of the story corrects the release date, originally given erroneously as July, 2014.

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