A Course in Miracles - Original Edition

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A Course in Miracles-Original Edition (also referred to as ACIM OE, the Original Edition, and initially as "Jesus' Course In Miracles"), was produced from the 1972 manuscript of A Course In Miracles and was first published in 2006 by Course in Miracles Society [CIMS],.[1] CIMS is a non-profit organization, located in Omaha, Nebraska, which was established in 2000 for the sole purpose of publishing the Original Edition. The Original Edition presents "A Course In Miracles" as originally intended and edited by Helen Schucman and William Thetford, the originators who are described more fully below.

A Course In Miracles (also known as ACIM or simply "the Course") is a self-study course for retraining the mind that is spiritual, rather than religious, in its perspective. Although it uses Christian terminology, it is ecumenical in its approach, and its underlying ontology is reminiscent of ancient refrains, echoing the world’s most hallowed traditions.[2] One need not be Christian nor accept Christianity’s traditional doctrines to recognize the teachings of love and forgiveness contained within the Course. Some people might, however, find many of the pronouncements in this work to be startling and perhaps unbelievable. The premise of the Course is not sin based. The Course professes the need for forgiveness in only one instance: Man needs to forgive himself for believing he is separate from God. As might already be evident, the teachings of the Course can challenge one’s current perception of reality.


The story of this Course began when, in the midst of an environment of intense competition and negative attitudes, Columbia University clinical psychologist Dr. William T. Thetford[3] decided he had had enough and declared to his colleague, Dr. Helen Schucman[4] “There must be another way, and I’m determined to find it” Dr. Schucman vowed to help him.

What ensued was a dramatic progression of waking dreams for Schucman, which culminated in October 1965 with her experience of a voice which spoke clearly in her mind, saying “This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.”

Schucman did not claim to be the author of the material herself. As she often explained, she heard a kind of inner dictation and she felt compelled to write it down, even though at times she disagreed with the content and resisted the process. The voice which spoke through Helen clearly identifies himself as Jesus. Nonetheless, one need not be Christian nor accept Christianity’s traditional doctrines to benefit from the teachings of the Course. Indeed, traditional Christians will at first find many of the pronouncements contained in this work to be startling and perhaps unbelievable. Persistence and open-mindedness will nevertheless be rewarded.

With Thetford’s support and assistance in transcribing her shorthand notes, Schucman took down some 1,500 typewritten pages of A Course in Miracles over a period of seven years.

The first part of transcription of the material which began in the fall of 1965 lasted 3 years resulting in a Text of 622 pages. In 1969 the lengthy process of retyping the Text was begun. Bill Thetford is adamant that no changes be made other than correcting the typing errors and removing specifically personal material. Jesus had asked that material intended only for Helen and Bill be removed since these did not have “the more generalizable quality which this course is aimed at” and Jesus designates Bill to be the one in charge of all these changes.

Also in 1969, about nine months after the completion of the Text transcription, Helen begins to take down the Workbook for Students which takes another 2 ½ years to complete the 365 Daily Lessons.

In 1972, a few months later, the dictation of a third and final volume was begun which was the Manual for Teachers.

The dictation of A Course in Miracles was completed in September 1972 and resulted in these three volumes—the Text, the Workbook for Students, and the Manual for Teachers. As the development of the material progressed, Schucman and Thetford faced the formidable task of organizing the original typescript (often called the “Urtext”)[5] into what would become A Course in Miracles-Original Edition. They divided the Text into chapters and sections and gave 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 these efforts is what is today known as A Course in Miracles – Original Edition eventually published by Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] although it would take almost three decades.

Once completed, the 1972 manuscript was sent to Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of the “Sleeping Prophet” Edgar Cayce, and head of the Association for Research and Enlightenment [A.R.E.] by Helen and Bill. They had wanted to know if the A.R.E. were interested in publishing the completed manuscript. Hugh Lynn declined, saying that the material was very much in line with what his father had brought through but the A.R.E. doesn’t publish outside material.

Further editing

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. Ken recalls “Some of the titles, I felt, were not appropriate to the section. The capitalization [to show emphasis using a typewriter] was inconsistent; the paragraphing was inconsistent; the punctuation was inconsistent.”

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 world would become familiar with for 24 years.[6][7]

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 were settled in 2004 and the copyright on all prior renditions of A Course in Miracles deemed null and void.[8] After that time, CIMS was free to continue to publish A Course in Miracles – Original Edition.


After 2004 and the finding of the copyright to be null and void, CIMS was now free to release the 1500 copies being held in storage since 2000. These copies were the very first edition of A Course in Miracles-Original Edition and were titled: Jesus’ Course in Miracles [JCIM].[9] This edition contained only the Text since that was the only portion discovered in the A.R.E. Library. In November 2006 a printing was released by CIMS, which contained the Workbook for Students and Manual for Teachers in addition to the Text. The 2006 Revision corrected numerous typographic errors, misspellings, and aberrant punctuation that had appeared in the original 1972 manuscript and which were reproduced in the JCIM edition.

A further revision was printed in 2009 which continued the process of correcting errors in the manuscript. In this undertaking the editors for the first time looked back to earlier manuscripts and restored material that appeared to have been inadvertently or mistakenly omitted in retyping.

This process of restoration has continued through the current 2012 Revision, adhering always to the fundamental directive, “fidelity to Source.” Among the improvements in the 2012 Revision is the updating of paragraph numbering in Chapters 2, 9, 26, and 27, necessitated mainly by the restoration of material from an earlier manuscript. Paragraph renumbering is described in footnotes where pertinent.


File:TomWhitmore CIMS.jpg
Thomas E. Whitmore, President of Course in Miracles Society

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.

While honoring the FIP edition of the Course, the additional editing by Helen and Ken resulted both in shifts of meaning and a change in the over-all 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. "Iambic pentameter is usually described as 'lines consisting of five iambs', which in turn are described as 'metric feet of two syllables each, the second syllable being the stronger'. Put simply, a line of iambic pentameter sounds like this: |Da-DUM |Da-DUM |Da-DUM |Da-DUM| Da-DUM |" [10] This cadence is also found in all of the lessons from Lesson 100 onward.

In this A Course in Miracles – Original Edition, great care has been taken in dealing with the editorial issues presented by the original typed manuscript. Focus has been upon reproducing as nearly as possible the content as it was originally given to Schucman and Thetford. It is to be noted, however, that there are a few occasions where material from the original dictation appears to have been inadvertently or mistakenly dropped in the early retyping. In those instances, the missing lines have been re-inserted, noted by the placement of square brackets around the inserted material. Otherwise, the only changes that have been made to the original manuscript of the Course as completed by Schucman and Thetford in 1972 have been to correct obvious typographic errors and misspellings, to standardize punctuation and capitalization, and to format the material for print publication. Apart from the simple section and paragraph numbering, which are included for ease of reference and navigation, nothing has been added to or omitted from the work.

Structure of material


The forward was written by Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] for the 2006 printing.


The Text contains 31 chapters with paragraph numbers added by CIMS for reference.

Workbook for Students

The Workbook for Students consists of 365 lessons in two Parts; Each part has an introduction. Part 2 also has Special Topics between every 10 lessons. There is an Epilogue at the conclusion of the workbook.

Manual for Teachers

The Manual for Teachers is a short document written in Question and Answer format consisting of twenty nine sections ranging from questions such as, “Who are God’s Teachers?” to “Is Reincarnation True?”


Beginning in June, 1996, and ending in April, 2004, a copyright lawsuit initiated by Penguin Books and FIP was brought against the New Christian Church of Full Endeavor for their unlimited independent publication of substantial portions of the FIP edition of A Course in Miracles. It was found that the contents of the FIP first edition, published from 1975 through 1992, were in the public domain. However, copyright remains on all of the changes introduced in the Second Edition, as does the copyright on the Preface, "Clarification of Terms" found at the end of the Manual for Teachers, and the two supplementary pamphlets, Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice and Song of Prayer, as well as Schucman's poetry, The Gifts of God. This means that the Urtext, the HLC, Special Messages, Helen’s unpublished works and all prior renditions of the work originally under copyright, were now free. A Copyright Timeline appears here:[11] For more information, view this video:[12]

Scholarly study

  • A scholarly study of ACIM and Schucman and Thetford appeared in 2009. The book is A Course in Miracles: The Lives of Helen Schucman & William Thetford by Neal Vahle (Open View Press) ISBN 978-1-61623-788-2.
  • A second study of ACIM and Thetford appeared in 2009. The book is Never Forget To Laugh: Personal Recollections of Bill Thetford, Co-Scribe of A Course by Carol Howe ISBN 978-1-889642-21-5.
  • Wapnick, Kenneth (1989). Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles. Foundation for A Course in Miracles. ISBN 0-933291-07-8. A comprehensive discussion of the God-world paradox that compares and contrasts these perspectives, approaches and resolutions.
  • Perry, Robert One Course, Two Visions, A Comparison of the Teachings of the Circle of Atonement and Ken Wapnick on A Course in Miracles ISBN 1-886602-22-0 One vision comes from Ken Wapnick and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. The other comes from Robert Perry and his colleagues at the Circle of Atonement.

Related organizations

  • Foundation for Inner Peace – publisher of the A Course in Miracles, originally copyrighted in 1975; now copyright holder of A Course in Miracles Second Edition, Clarification of Terms, Supplemental Pamphlets, and Gifts of God
  • Miracles Distribution Center was formed in 1978 to serve as a “world-wide contact center for students of A Course in Miracles.”
  • Community Miracles Center[CMC] was founded by Rev. Tony Ponticello, in 1987 to study and teach the spiritual discipline A Course In Miracles.
  • Circle of Atonement [COA] – established in 1993 by Robert Perry and Allen Watson in 1993, the Circle of Atonement was established as a nonprofit organization “To discern the author's vision of A Course in Miracles and manifest that in our lives, in the lives of students, and in the world.”
  • A Course in Miracles International – “Represents the millions of teachers and students of the Course who individually or through healing centers or transformational study groups are discovering the peace of enlightened mind for which all humanity yearns.”


  1. Course in Miracles Society [CIMS] a non-profit organization
  2. A Course in Miracles - Original Edition On Line
  3. William T. Thetford
  4. Helen Schucman
  5. A Course In Miracles Urtext Manuscripts Complete Seven Volume Combined Edition ISBN 9780981698458
  6. Foundation for Inner Peace. (1996). A Course In Miracles. ISBN 0-9606388-8-1
  7. A Course in Miracles
  8. Final Court Order Final Court Order 12/3/2003
  9. Course in Miracles Society (2012) Jesus’ Course in Miracles ISBN 978-0976420002
  10. http://cimsmiracles.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/iambic-pentameter/ What is Iambic Pentameter?
  11. Copyright Timeline. Course in Miracles Society
  12. ACIM and the Omaha Connection Course in Miracles Society.

External links

Other editions

  • A Course in Miracles, Foundation for Inner Peace 2007 ISBN 9781883360252
  • A Course in Miracle, Sparkly Edition Diamond Clear Vision Publishing
  • A Course In Miracles Urtext Manuscripts Complete Seven Volume Combined Edition ISBN 978-0981698458