The Conflict Beautiful Editorial Changes

Editorial Philosophy

The editorial philosophy of the Conflict Beautiful project has four main features.

  1. The overall editorial intent is to preserve the integrity of the author’s original ideas at all levels, from the chapter level down to the individual words. Therefore, no paraphrasing or editing of syntax or grammar was allowed during manuscript preparation, so that Ellen White’s original word order and word choice is preserved. The Conflict Beautiful reads in an almost identical way to the original editions and is not a contemporary paraphrase in any sense.

  2. The other features of the Conflict Beautiful editorial approach are narrowly defined changes to help with readability.

  3. The New King James Version (NKJV) is quoted in place of most King James Version (KJV) Bible quotations throughout the book series. The KJV is maintained in some instances, such as, for example, when Ellen White highlights a specific word in KJV as the thematic focus of a sentence or paragraph; when the NKJV wording brings a much different word picture or meaning than Ellen White’s use of KJV; and in rare instances where she cites a margin note in KJV that is crucial to her meaning. Ellen White occasionally quotes from the Revised Version (R.V.), and some of these instances have been maintained in the Conflict Beautiful series, mainly where she uses R.V. to gain a particular word in the Bible quotation that does not appear in KJV.

    Integrating NKJV into the books presents the challenge of matching the wording of Ellen White’s sentences to the syntax of a different translation. In the rare instances when Ellen White’s wording does not match up with the NKJV quotation, the blending is accomplished in one of the following ways: adjust the punctuation to place certain words outside the quotation; add a needed word, placed in brackets, inside the Bible quotation (a standard procedure for quotations); or as a last resort, keep KJV because NKJV wording is too disruptive to the sentence. Ellen White’s words were not moved or removed to create the necessary adjustments.

    NKJV uses an indented poetry format for parts of the Old Testament and for Old Testament quotations in the New Testament. Conflict Beautiful books incorporate that poetry format, creating a different look for some pages compared to the original editions. No wording has been changed with the application of poetry format. In cases where the original books use poetry format for Bible quotations, that format is maintained in the new editions.

    For improvement of the reading experience, strict guidelines were used to decide on select changes to individual words. Most changes had to meet the following criteria: the word is very archaic and unfamiliar to contemporary audiences, and the meaning of the word has changed from its meaning in the nineteenth century. Examples of word changes that meet both of these criteria are intercourse (changed to “interaction”); aught (“anything”); ass (“donkey”); demoralized (“corrupted”); idiotic (“mentally impaired”); list (“wish”); promiscuous (“indiscriminate”); and without (“outside”). A limited number of select words that are both inconsequential to Ellen White’s meaning and unfamiliar to contemporary readers were changed to improve the reading experience. Examples include athwart (“across”); builded (“built”); erelong (“before long”); haply (“by chance”); kine (“cows”); and repair (“go to” or “return”). In many cases, the source of a substitute word was the NKJV, a biblical source of legitimate contemporary substitutes for archaic words. A complete list of the words chosen for substitution can be seen below. 

  4. Punctuation changes are also limited. Besides the aforementioned adjustments to quotation marks to accommodate NKJV quotations in some instances, only two punctuation changes are included. In some instances, the copy editor of the original editions included a comma between a compound subject and a verb, and these are removed from Conflict Beautiful books. Also, in some uses of an em-dash in the original editions, the publisher placed a comma before the em-dash, and those commas have been removed. It should be noted that NKJV uses full punctuation (multiple layers of quotations marks) while KJV does not. The minimal punctuation of KJV has been maintained in the new editions.

Comprehensive List of Word Changes

  • intercourse (changed to “interaction”)
  • aught (“anything”)
  • ass (“donkey”)
  • demoralized (“corrupted”)
  • idiotic (“mentally impaired”)
  • list (“wish”)
  • promiscuous (“indiscriminate”)
  • without (“outside”).

A limited number of select words that are both inconsequential to Ellen White’s meaning and unfamiliar to contemporary readers were changed to improve the reading experience.

  • athwart (“across”)
  • builded (“built”)
  • erelong (“before long”)
  • haply (“by chance”)
  • kine (“cows”)
  • repair (“go to” or “return”)