The following are various ‘editions’ of A COURSE IN MIRACLES from which students may choose.
- A Course in Miracles: “Sparkle Edition” [Thetford Foundation]
- The “A Course in Miracles – Original Edition” published by the Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]
- A Course in Miracles – The Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP] edition
- URText [original transcription of shorthand notes & additions, before editing for publication] [MiraclePathways]
The following is a brief description of the differences regarding CONTENT, FORWARD/PREFACE, NUMBERING, and STYLE/PUNCTUATION between the first three editions listed above. See the CONCLUSION below for information regarding the Urtext. [Also, the following article by Community Miracles Center will give you the background for the specific differences between the Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] *original edition* and the edition published by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles [ACIM].]
The “Original Edition” is the manuscript of the dictation of A Course in Miracles which had been completed in September 1972 and had resulted in three volumes—the Text, the Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers. The scribes Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford had divided the Text into chapters and sections and had given titles to each, and they removed a great deal of material from the early chapters, material they believed was meant for them personally, not for the Course. The edition that resulted from those efforts is the “Original Edition” as published by the Course in Miracles Society [CIMS].
The “Original Edition” manuscript was only discovered in 1999 as a result of the ‘discovery phase’ of a lawsuit brought by the copyright holders at that time upon a spiritual community for copyright infringement. It is sometimes referred to as the HLC edition or the “Jesus’ Course in Miracles’ edition. The copyright on this 1972 edition was overturned in 2003 due to pre-copyright distribution which placed the manuscript in the public domain. There is currently no copyright on the “Original Edition”, the “Sparkle” Edition or the URText Edition. FIP retains a copyright on the 1975 edition as described below.
The Sparkle Edition is essentially the original 1972 manuscript with the changes in preface, punctuation, and numbering as noted below. The content has not been changed. There may however be additions from the ur text [first typing of shorthand notes] appearing in brackets in the “Original Edition” that do not appear in the Sparkle Edition.
Regarding the changes made in the FIP Edition, this is an excerpt from CIMS “Forward”:
“In 1973 Ken Wapnick, who had joined their small circle and received a copy of the 1972 manuscript, expressed his belief that further editing was needed. Thetford withdrew from further detailed editing work, and Schucman and Wapnick resumed the editing process. Along with changes in paragraphing, punctuation, capitalization, and section titles, there was a great deal of line-by-line editing. In addition, about one-fifth of the material in the first five chapters was removed. Finally, a new section, the Clarification of Terms, was added. The resulting edition, published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace, became the Course with which the world would become familiar.”
Also: “In the FIP Edition, the 53 miracle principles are changed to 50. Descriptions of the miracle principles are re-arranged and in some cases obtained from other areas of the text. 127 references to “Soul” are changed to 12. The word “Soul” is either deleted or changed to another word such as: creations, you, spirit.” Excerpt from: http://jcim.net/Pages/CopyrightTimeLine.html
The following is a side-by-side comparison between the Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP] 2nd Edition and the HLC/Jesus’ Course in Miracles/Original Edition/Sparkle Editions: http://jcim.net/Images/Comparison%20OE%20v%202nd.pdf
FORWARD ~ PREFACE
The “Original Edition” contains a FOREWARD written by Course in Miracles Society that does not appear in the “Sparkle Edition”. The Forward briefly explains how A Course in Miracles came about and how this edition differs from subsequent editions.
The first printing of the “Sparkle Edition” contains THE USE OF TERMS as a ‘preface’. The PREFACE in the second printing of the “Sparkle Edition” includes an explanation for the formatting style and a “Publisher’s Note” regarding THE USE OF TERMS as well as THE USE OF TERMS itself. The “Publisher’s Note explains that in the Use of Terms, scribed by Helen, it was explained that the term SOUL was excluded due to its controversial nature. The “Publisher’s Note” indicates that the term SOUL has been restored in the Sparkle Edition to its original position.
THE USE OF TERMS is not located in the “Original Edition” as it was not part of the original manuscript as completed by Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford in 1972. The USE OF TERMS was subsequently scribed in 1975 by Helen when the “Original Edition manuscript” was further edited by Helen and Ken Wapnick for a more general publication.
The FIP 1st Edition, printed in three separate hardback volumes in 1975, does not contain a PREFACE. It does contain however the CLARIFICATION OF TERMS which appears at the end of the third volume: “The Manual for Teachers”. A subsequent FIP Edition, which would have been the 13th printing of the original volumes, combines all three volumes into a single book and has the addition of a second copyright date, 1985. This edition contains, for the first time, a PREFACE which has two sections: “How it Came” and “What it Says”.
In the CIMS “Original Edition” the paragraphs are numbered to make referencing easier. Since page numbers change as typographical corrections are made and additions are entered in brackets from the ur text [i.e. the first typing from the shorthand notes], one would need the Chapter and Paragraph numbers to reference a quote with ease.
The Sparkle edition has no numbering at all.
The 1st FIP edition [3 volume hardback] has no numbering at all. Where the 3 volumes are first combined into a single volume, there is no numbering. In a subsequent 2nd edition of the combined volume, the paragraphs and the sentences within the paragraphs are all numbered.
Style and punctuation are also slightly different in all three editions. When the initial manuscript was typed from the shorthand notes and verbal information added by Helen Schucman [the scribe], it was done on a TYPEWRITER. Typewriters at that time did not italicize and therefore Bill Thetford who was co-scribe and the person who typed it, added those words in all CAPS for emphasis.
The “Original Edition” italicizes all CAPITALIZATION.
The “Sparkle Edition” has kept those words CAPITALIZED.
In all editions from the Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP] the CAPITALIZATION, of the original manuscript as edited, were changed to lower case in almost all instances, with a few of the words changed to italics.
As far as punctuation goes, the “Original Edition” follows the practices and conventions of the Chicago Manual of Style, and both the Sparkle and the FIP follow Helen’s idiosyncratic use of punctuation.
Hopefully, this document will aide students in answering the many questions they may have regarding the various editions of A Course in Miracles. Although a lot of Course students feel as though they want to read the Course as it was compiled by Helen and Bill, there are many who also want to read the UR TEXT [the manuscript typed from the shorthand notes with verbal additions by Helen]. This material was obtained legally from the Library of Congress by the parties in the copyright litigation who had legal access to the material being litigated. It was then obtained by other parties who subsequently shared it on the internet.Presently the UR TEXT is available on line here: http://www.miraclesinactionpress.com/dthomp74/2008/The%20Book%20menu.htm
On FIPs website there is an explanation of the ‘Editing process’ although it presents a different view on how the material was edited and the legality of the obtained materials. http://acim-archives.org/Publishing/editing_history.html
If any questions remain, please feel free to contact CIMS. [email address is below]
Humanity is incredibly blessed to have the A COURSE IN MIRACLES no matter which edition we use. Whatever our preference, HIS GUIDANCE is there for us if we open our hearts and let it in! It’s truly our way Home.
An On-Line searchable edition of the “Original Edition” is here: http://www.jcim.net/acim_us/Acim.php
An On-line edition of the “Sparkle Edition” is here: http://acimlistening.com/books.php
An On-line searchable edition of the FIP Edition can be purchased here: http://acim.org/Digital_Editions/electronic_acim.html
An On-line PDF of URtext: http://www.miraclesinactionpress.com/dthomp74/2008/ETEXTS/UR%207vol%20e-text%20ls.pdf
~ Reja Janaki Joy Green, CIMS Member
View on web: ACIM Comparisons