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ERIC Number: ED409564
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-24
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
The School Dog Is Not the School Dog: The Dilemma of Writing Biographies of Religious Educators.
Godfrey, John R.
Analyzing the life and work of members of religious groups presents predicaments not always encountered in other biographical endeavors. Some problems faced by religious biographers can be illustrated by looking at works analyzing the writings and life of Ellen White (1827-1915), a Seventh-Day Adventist pioneer and educator. For more than a century the Adventist membership, particularly in the United States and the Pacific, have been taught explicitly or implicitly that the central core of White's writings, which included a philosophy of education, were received through visions or dreams given by God. White was considered inerrant, and the question of her "sources" rarely arose. To safeguard their religious faith, some sectarian biographers fail to accept the notion that some of the tenets of their belief structure are problematic. Researchers, however, began to examine more closely White's educational writings to ascertain the sources of her educational philosophy which formed the basis of the Adventist education system. In the 1980s, following some serious historical research studies of White by Ronald Numbers and Walter Rea, White's credibility as an inspired source of religious history, education, health, eschatology, and devotional literature lay in tatters. The Adventist prophet's sources had been discovered and there was little room for the belief that they constituted visions of God, through His chosen Messenger, to His chosen people. Her views were merely part of her socio-religious and educational milieu. (Contains 36 notes.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A