Borrowing from Conybeare and Howson: An Analysis
Words that are exactly the same in both Ellen White's book and the alleged source.
Words that are similar, not exactly the same.
Words that are the same or similar, but which appear to be copied from the Bible.
The actual comparisons found in Cleveland's book
Inadequate use of ellipses, and changed capitalization
Distortion #7: The Only "Evidence" for the Lawsuit
The only alleged evidence we have ever been able to get from a critic to support Canright's 1919
charge of a threatened lawsuit over Ellen White's 1883 book is alleged testimony from General Conference
President A. G. Daniells at the 1919 Bible Conference. If the purported minutes are authentic, which
they are supposed to be, then all Daniells' testimony suggests is that he had read Canright's book of that very year,
and thought Canright to be a credible source of information.
But consider what Daniells said, which Sydney Cleveland quotes on page 18. An immediate problem is apparent:
A. G. Daniells: Yes; and now take that "Life of Paul,"—I
suppose you all know about it and know what claims were put
up against her, charges made of plagiarism, even by the authors
of the book, Conybeare and Howson, and were liable to make the
denomination trouble because there was so much of their book
put into "The Life of Paul" without any credit or quotation marks.
Some people of strict logic might fly the track on that ground,
but I am not built that way. I found it out, and I read it with
Brother Palmer when he found it, and we got Conybeare and Howson,
and we got Wylie's "History of the Reformation," and we read
word for word, page after page, and no quotations, no credit,
and really I did not know the difference until I began to compare
them.—"Inspiration of the Spirit of Prophecy as Related
to the Inspiration of the Bible," Aug. 1, 1919, pp. 17, 18.
Thus, in these 1919 Bible Conference Minutes, mysteriously lost until the 1970's,
Daniells claims that Sketches is copied verbatim from Conybeare and Howson, "word for word,
page after page." Yet if that were really the case, why didn't Cleveland quote parts of the books
that really are word for word the same?
Why refer instead, as in the comparison below, to parts of Conybeare from which only
5 out of 358 words (a measly 1.4%) are found in Sketches? Or is the truth of the matter
that what Daniells allegedly said is an outright fib?
|Sketches from the Life of Paul
Ellen G. White, p. 58
|Life and Epistles of Paul
Conybeare & Howson, pp. 171, 172
|"The people listened to the words of Paul with manifest impatience."—p. 58.
||"They listened impatiently."—p. 171.
|5 out of 81 words are the same or similar, but not found in the Bible account.
||5 out of about 358 words are the same or similar, but not found in the Bible account.
The people listened to the words of Paul with manifest impatience. Their
superstition and enthusiasm had been so great in regard to the apostles that
they were loth to acknowledge their error, and have their expectations and
purposes thwarted. Notwithstanding the apostles positively denied the
divinity attributed to them by the heathen, and Paul endeavored to direct
their minds to the true God as the only object worthy of worship, it was
still most difficult to turn them from their purpose.
This address held them listening, but they listened impatiently. Even
with this energetic disavowal of his divinity, and this strong appeal to their
reason, St. Paul found it difficult to disturb the Lycaonians from offering
to him and Barnabas an idolatrous worship.4 There is no doubt that St.
Paul was the speaker, and, before we proceed further in the narrative, we
cannot help pausing to observe the essentially Pauline character which
this speech manifests, even in so condensed a summary of its contents. It
is full of undesigned coincidences in argument, and even in the expressions
employed, with St. Paul's language in other parts of the Acts, and in his
own Epistles. Thus, as here he declares the object of his preaching to be
that the idolatrous Lystrians should [p. 172]
"turn from these vain idols to the living God," so he reminds the
Thessalonians how they, at his preaching, had
"turned from idols to serve the living and true God."1 Again, as he tells
the Lystrians that "God had, in the generations that were past, suffered
the nations of the Gentiles to walk in their own ways;" so he tells the
Romans that "God in His forbearance had passed over the former sins of
men, in the times that were gone by;"2 and so he tells the Athenians,3
that "the past times of ignorance God had overlooked." Lastly, how
striking is the similarity between the natural theology with which the
present speech concludes, and that in the Epistle to the Romans, where,
speaking of the Heathen, he says that atheists are without excuse; "for
that which can be known of God is manifested in their hearts, God Himself
having shown it to them. For His eternal power and Godhead, though they
be invisible, yet are seen ever since the world was made, being understood by
the works which He hath wrought."
4 Acts xiv. 18.
1 1 Thess. i. 9. The coincidence is more striking in the Greek, because the very
same verb is used in each passage, and is intransitive in both.
2 Rom. iii. 25: the mistranslation of which in the Authorised Version entirely alters its meaning.
3 Acts xvii. 30.
For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering
in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve
the living and true God. (1 Th. 1:9)