• “God Wrought Marvelously for His Penitent People”: Ellen White and the Apocryphal Esther

    Laurence Turner
    Tom de Bruin (see profile)
    Spes Christiana (journal)
    White, Ellen G., 1827-1915
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    Recent research has established Ellen White’s familiarity with the Apocrypha. This article focuses on her interaction with Esther, a book which exists in three versions. Two of these were available to White: the Hebrew version considered canonical by Jews and Protestants, and the apocryphal Septuagint Greek version containing various Additions which is canonical for Roman Catholics and some other Christian traditions. The Hebrew version never mentions God or human piety, while the Additions to the Greek version abound with such details. This article investigates whether White’s comments on Esther correlate best with the canonical or apocryphal versions and assesses the degree to which she might have been influ-enced by the Apocrypha. It concludes that her frequent assertions of divine activity and human piety in Esther align better with the apocryphal rather than the canonical versions of the book. However, these similarities are not due to direct influence of the Apocrypha on White. Indeed, there is ample evidence to the contrary. Rather, White shares a common theological goal with the creators of the apocry-phal Additions. Both wish to affirm divine providential involve-ment in human life and the importance of human faithfulness. To achieve this, each transforms the canonical version from its “God-less” form into a conventional biblical narrative of God saving his faithful people. However, while the apocryphal Additions achieve this transformation by recognising the absence of God and human piety, and counter that by adding to the text, White achieves a similar end by ignoring the absence of God and human piety and interpreting the text as if they were present.
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    8 months ago


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