The following are various ‘editions’ of A COURSE IN MIRACLES from which students may choose.
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
A Course of Love [ACOL] – Continuation of ACIM, scribed by Mari Perron
A Course in Miracles, Complete and Annotated Edition [ACIM CE], published by the Circle of Atonement
A Course in Miracles: “SPARKLE Edition”
In this Article, Community Miracles Center [CMC] provides the background for the specific differences between the various editions although it has not been updated to include the ACIM CE.
A Course in Miracles-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, the 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 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 the 1975 edition [described below] was overturned in 2003 due to pre-copyright distribution which placed the manuscript in the public domain. There is current copyright on the “Original Edition” as published in 2006 by CIMS. This is the copyright statement on ACIM OE:
Copyright (c) 2011 Course In Miracles Society. Reproduction, sharing and quoting from this material is encouraged. Where such reproduction involves commercial sale of more than ten percent of the total content of the Book in any media, written permission of the copyright holder is required. The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies of substantial portions of the Book.
FIP retains a copyright on the post-1975 edition as described below.
A Course in Miracles, published by the Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP], is the Course as it resulted from an editing project begun by Ken Wapnick upon meeting Helen and Bill and learning of the scribed manuscript. Regarding the changes made to the manuscript in the FIP Edition, this is an excerpt from CIMS “Foreword”:
“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.”
“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.” This excerpt is from the following: Copyright TimeLine
The following link is to 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: ComparisonOEv2nd.pdf
The Course of Love [ACOL] is a continuation of A Course in Miracles scribed by Mari Perron. “Gently guides the reader from the experience of separation to the experience of union, which is also to experience the power of God and the force of love.” There are three BOOKS. Book One is A Course of Love, Book Two is four Treatises, and Book Three is The Dialogues and The Forty Days and Forty Nights.
A Course in Miracles Complete and Annotated Edition [ACIM CE] is published by Circle of Atonement. “Course scholar Robert Perry and his colleagues at the Circle of Atonement have worked to carefully transcribe these notes and the result is a new version of A Course in Miracles that – for the first time – contains the source material in its entirety.”
A Course in Miracles 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 URTEXT [first typing of shorthand notes] appearing in brackets in the “Original Edition” that do not appear in the Sparkle Edition.
The URTEXT is the reproduction of the entire handwritten notes of the scribes before there was editing by the scribes, later by Helen Schucman and Ken Wapnick, and subsequently by Robert Perry.
FOREWORD ~ PREFACE
The “Original Edition” contains a FOREWORD written by Course in Miracles Society that does not appear in the “Sparkle Edition”. The Foreword briefly explains how A Course in Miracles came about and how this edition differs from subsequent editions.
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 second copyright date, 1985. This edition contains, for the first time, a PREFACE which has two sections: “How it Came” and “What it Says”.
THE USE OF TERMS is not located in the “Original Edition” as it was not part of the original manuscript 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 Course as presented by A Course in Miracles Complete and Annotated Edition [ACIM CE] is a combination of the URTEXT, which is the earliest version, and an early typing of the notes by the scribes to form early renditions of the HLC. [Refer to URTEXT to view actual reproduction of the scribal notes before further editing.] In the HLC manuscript, which is the final typing of the material by the scribes, there are 53 Miracles Principles, but inexplicably, there are only 50 Miracle Principles in this “Complete and Annotated” Edition. Therefore, it seems to be based on a rendition of the scribe’s notes containing what appears to be some editing of the final HLC Edition. It contains the CLARIFICATION OF TERMS as well as APPENDICES, consisting of Cameo Essays, which are special messages given to the scribe.
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.
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 URTEXT [i.e. the first typing from the shorthand notes], one would need the Chapter and Paragraph numbers to reference a quote with ease.
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.
A Course of Love has numbered the paragraphs.
The ACIM CE has paragraph and sentences numbered.
The Sparkle edition has no numbering at all.
Style and punctuation are also slightly different in all of these editions. Words were emphasized in the shorthand notes by being underlined. When the initial manuscript was typed from the shorthand notes and also 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.
A Course in Miracles-Original Edition italicizes all CAPITALIZATION.
In all editions from the Foundation for Inner Peace [FIP] the CAPITALIZATIONS in the original manuscript were changed to lower case in almost all instances, with a few of the words changed to italics.
A Course in Miracles Complete and Annotated edition has used their own discretion in deciding which words should be emphasized, believing that Helen was “emphasis crazy” and therefore there were far too many words emphasized. Some of these emphasized words are placed in a “soft gray underline” and some are italicized.
The “Sparkle Edition” has kept those words CAPITALIZED.
As far as punctuation goes, the “A Course in Miracles-Original Edition” follows the practices and conventions of the Chicago Manual of Style, and both the Sparkle, FIP, and COA follow Helen’s idiosyncratic use of punctuation.
Hopefully, this document will aid 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 URTEXT [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 illegally shared it on the internet. Presently, the URTEXT is available online here: Urtext At Miracles Action Press
There is a history of the copyright litigation in a Timeline for those who are still interested, although the past is truly gone. It can hurt us not. If you are interested, then there is information on the Trademark ACIM and there is some background information on how the copyright was actually overturned. A copy of the final judgment is here: RULING
On FIP’s website, there is an explanation of the ‘Editing process,’ which explains how the material was edited. FIP Editing History Article
There is also a document prepared by CIMS that highlights some specific differences between the most popular edition and the Original Edition published by CIMS. ACIM Editing Changes [PDF]
If any questions remain, please feel free to contact CIMS. [The 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 is truly our way Home.
An On-Line searchable edition of the “Original Edition” is here:
There is an online edition of A Course of Love [ACOL]:
There is also a new CO-RELATIONAL Search between A Course in Miracles-Original Edition and A Course of Love [ACOL]:
An On-line searchable edition of the FIP Edition can be obtained here:
An On-Line edition of the “Sparkly” Edition is here:
An On-line searchable edition of URTEXT:
An On-line PDF of URTEXT:
THE SCHOLAR’S TOOLBOX:
EMAIL CIMS: firstname.lastname@example.org