Red Flowers

A Course in Miracles:

Original Edition

The Editing of the Original Edition


It seems clear that in pursuing a publisher, Schucman and Thetford originally intended the 1972 manuscript to be A Course in Miracles, which is known today as A Course in Miracles - Original Edition. However, in 1973 Ken Wapnick, a clinical psychologist who had joined their small circle and had only recently received a copy of the 1972 manuscript, expressed his belief that additional editing was needed. In the fall of 1973, Helen Schucman and Ken Wapnick began to edit the entire manuscript, line by line, word by word which took about one year. Thetford, who did not wish to be a part of this project, withdrew and moved to California.


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 [FIP], became the only edition of A Course in Miracles that the world would become familiar with for 24 years.


A Course in Miracles: Original Edition



In contrast, A Course in Miracles – Original Edition is the manuscript that was given to Hugh Lynn Cayce and the A.R.E. by Helen and Bill before meeting Ken Wapnick and before further editing occurred. The existence of this manuscript was only discovered 24 years later, after the initial publication of the edited manuscript by FIP. The discovery of this earlier manuscript came to light inadvertently due to a 1996 copyright infringement court case brought by Foundation for Inner Peace, the copyright holder and Penguin Books, against a spiritual community.


One of the litigants in the court case mentioned having seen this manuscript in the A.R.E. library. The manuscript was located, copied, digitized and placed by anonymous parties onto the internet. It is often referred to as the HLC, for Hugh Lynn Cayce. [NOTE: This referral was also used by Helen, Bill and Ken, in the early years, referring to the manuscript given to Cayce and before this document was discovered in 1999.


This digitized document of the 1972 manuscript found in the A.R.E. library is known today as A Course in Miracles-Original Edition. The discovered manuscript, which only contained the Text, was published briefly by CIMS in 2000 before receiving a ‘Temporary Restraining Order”. It would take several years before the copyright infringement case was settled in 2004 and the copyright on all prior renditions of A Course in Miracles deemed null and void. After that time, CIMS was free to continue to publish A Course in Miracles – Original Edition.


The Original Manuscript

In its continuing evolution, A Course in Miracles - Original Edition faithfully reproduces the original transcript of the book that was the result of the collaboration between Schucman and Thetford, whom many believe were involved with each other in the “holy relationship” described in Chapters 17 through 22 of the Text. This edition preserves the original language of the dictation of those chapters, which were addressed to the two collaborators as they worked together to produce the manuscript. Later editing of the manuscript [removal of 25% of the first five chapters] changed the focus of these important chapters and addresses them to a solitary reader, removing the mutuality that is explicit in the original dictation.


The additional editing by Helen and Ken resulted both in shifts of meaning and a change in the overall tone of the work. In contrast, when encountering Schucman and Thetford’s Original Edition, students often find fresh clarity as they read its wording or new understanding as they encounter passages that were not included in the later 1975 edition. In the case of editing, it seems that the “less-is-best” rule applies—the less tampering with the eloquent and carefully worded dictation that Schucman received, the better. In fact, from Chapter 27 in the Text onward, Helen Schucman's notes show the demarcation for iambic pentameter.  This cadence is also found in all of the lessons from Lesson 100 onward.


* Excepts above are from Wikipedia and the Community Miracles Center