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The Ellen G. White Writings

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    Many Printings of the 1911 Edition

    The 1911 edition of The Great Controversy became the standard work used throughout the world. References in the Sabbath school lessons and textbooks are to this edition. It was soon provided on thin paper without illustrations for convenient reference work in what in denominational circles has become known as the “trade edition.”EGWW 133.5

    The paging of certain of the editions intended for colporteur sale in some cases has varied—the illustrations have been different; there has been an updating of the appendix notes; in some editions some of the chapter titles have been changed and hundreds of thousands of copies have been distributed under the title The Triumph of God’s Love. But the text of the book is the same—the text of the 1911 edition. A few typographical or grammatical errors have been corrected, and current forms of capitalization and spelling have been employed. Such adjustments, made to keep a widely circulated book in the most acceptable form, do not affect the sense of the message in the volume.EGWW 134.1

    As for adjustments related to the passage of time since 1911, the White Trustees in 1950 authorized a rewording of four phrases in the book in order to convey the sense correctly both in 1911 and to the present-day reader. The reader today is often a non-Adventist not familiar with the history of the book and the later of the editions. These four are:EGWW 134.2

    Page 287: In referring to the Bible, the 1911 edition stated: It “has since been translated into more than four hundred languages and dialects.” By 1950 the number was more than a thousand. The phrase was reworded so as to convey a correct image both in 1911 and the present, and reads in current printings: “has since been translated into many hundreds of languages and dialects.”EGWW 134.3

    Page 288: Speaking of Voltaire the atheist, Mrs. White stated in the 1911 edition: “A century has passed since his death.” By 1950 it was more nearly two centuries. The substitute wording correctly stating the fact, whether in 1911 or the present, is “Generations have passed since his death.”EGWW 134.4

    Page 378: In reference to the Jewish nation, Ellen White stated in the 1911 edition: “The people of Israel for eighteen hundred years have stood, indifferent to the gracious offers of salvation.” By 1950 it was nearer to nineteen hundred years. Reworded to state the facts correctly in 1911 and the present, the phrase reads: “The people of Israel during succeeding centuries have stood, indifferent to the gracious offers of salvation.”EGWW 134.5

    Page 579: Mrs. White stated in the 1911 edition: “For more than half a century, students of prophecy in the United States have presented this testimony to the world.” The earlier 1888 edition read: “For about forty years.” By 1950 it was actually a full century. The White Trustees in this case authorized a specific reading that would be unaffected by time lapse: “Since the middle of the nineteenth century, students of prophecy in the United States have presented this testimony to the world.”EGWW 135.1

    To speak of the foregoing four adjustments in wording as “changes in wording of the E. G. White books” is correct only if we mean technical corrections of historical phrases to keep the statements chronologically accurate.EGWW 135.2

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