A Course in Miracles - Review and Download
A Course in Miracles (a.k.a. ACIM) is a self-development course/workbook written by Helen Schucman, a research psychologist at Columbia University in NYC to Dr William Thetford, Ph.D, in the late 1960s. Thetford is now known to have been working on the infamous CIA MK Ultra or 'Manchurian Candidate' mind control project during this time! Schucman dictated the material which was later typed by the scribe Thetford, and one could perhaps say that the book was partly paid for by the CIA! However the work is not believed to have been part of a mind control experiment but a sincere work.
It is claimed to have been written from an 'inner voice' (named to be 'Jesus') but the actual writings were not claimed to be sacred or 'holy'. Schucman always refused to have her name associated with the authorship of the book as she felt it all came from this 'inner voice'.
OverviewThe Special Messages were written first in October 1965, and are considered to be 'pre-Course' writings/teachings. They are considered to be an addendum to the main text.
The Text of ACIM was written between 1965 and 1968.
The Workbook for Students was written between 1969 and 1971, consisting of a structured programme with daily exercises; and the Manual for Teachers was written between 1971 and 1972.
A summary of the editing history, from the perspective of this 'inner voice' can be read at the link below.
To summarise the difference between the different versions:
Shorthand NotebooksThetford originally dictated the Text (to tape recorder presumably) which she then scribed in a shorthand notebook. This version is known as the Shorthand Notebooks. The original title was Jesus.
URText & Original EditionThis version was then handed to Schucman to be properly typed, according to Stephen Horrillo. However, Kenneth Wapnick, a later editor, claims that it was dictated to Schucman, with certain passages deliberately left out.
These original typed manuscripts were known as the 'URText'. Schucman checked the text for accuracy to see that they matched what her 'inner voice' had told her and made handwritten corrections where necessary. These original manuscripts are covered in handwritten corrections and can be downloaded at the link below, as well as what I presume is a properly typed version (working in the corrections into the text).
An allegedly un-copyrighted Original Edition of ACIM, equivalent to the URText but properly retyped with all the handwritten corrections worked into the text, was published by A Course in Miracles Society (CIMS), in 2007, consisting of Text, Workbook and Manual for Teachers, and is for sale in electronic and hard copy formats. CIMS is a non-profit organisation. It was sued by the Foundation for Inner Peace, the official publishers of the final version that was officially released. However, the book is still for sale today. CIMS's web site is shown below, JCIM stands for Jesus' Course in Miracles.
This can be also be downloaded at the miraclesinactionpress.com web site below.
Hugh Lynn Case (HLC) Version / Jesus Course in Miracles (JCIM) / Sparkly EditionAfter the original manuscripts were typed and checked for errors, Schucman claimed that her inner voice 'told her' that some of the content should have been expressed differently. She later stated that it was either too personal, awkwardly expressed or inconsistent. Wapnick believes they reflect some of Schucman's personal biases. References to sex were removed, chapter breaks and headings were included, and it ws retyped, with assistance from Hugh Lynn Case (the son of the famous Edgar Cayce), as they were felt to be personal opinion rather than coming from the 'inner voice', although arguably it all came from her subconscious anyway. This new version is known as the Hugh Lynn Case version (HLC) or JCIM (Jesus Course in Miracles). HLC/JCIM is not to be confused with the CIMS Original Version (CIMS using the URL 'JCIM' to add to the confusion). Kenneth Wapnick states below that the HLC was a partially edited private version, not formally available until much later (unofficially).
The HLC/JCIM version can be downloaded at the link below. Actually here there are a couple of variants of the HLC/JCIM to download, including the original typewriter typed manuscript and the replica Transcript, which is a retyping of the original manuscript using a word processor.
An Australian publishing of the HLC including the URText Workbook, Manual and Terms was released in 2002 by the Thetford Foundation. It is known as the Sparkly edition because its cover has stars on it. This is available to download at the link below.
The Thetford Foundation's web site is founde below.
First Edition / Criwell Version / Nun's VersionA new version was created in 1975, edited by Kenneth Wapnick, with further chapters being removed, reordering of content, renaming of chapters, changing paragraph structure, punctuation and so on. 300 copies were distributed (not sold) in small numbers, with the assistance of Eleanor Criswell, in 1975. This version is known as the Criswell Edition. This same version was finally officially published in 1976 by the non-profit Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP - originally called Foundation for Para-Sensory Investigations). The Foundation for A Course in Miracles became the teaching arm of the written material. This First Edition (a.k.a. Criswell Edition) is public domain.
The FIP official web site can be found below. They offer for sale for Third Edition, described below as well as various DVDs etc.
Advent of Great Awakening version (Variant of First Edition)New Christian Church of Endeavour (originally called God's Country Place) founded in 1992, now known as Endeavour Academy, published substantial portions of the First Edition of ACIM and were involved in litigation with FIP until 2003, when copyright claims to First Edition ACIM were voided. Endeavour Academy (EA) now publish their own version of ACIM, known as 'The Advent of a Great Awakening' Edition. There have been allegations of cult-like activity from some ex-members, although this is not universally the case.
Schucman died in 1981 owing to complications from pancreatic cancer. After this, the head of the FIP, Kenneth Wapnick, took over editing responsibility for the ACIM.
Second EditionThe official Second Edition was released in 1992 by FIP, which contained some editorial additions and minor changes including a verse-numbering system. This edition is therefore copyrighted as it contains some new copyrighted material.
Third EditionAn official Third Edition was released in 2008 by FIP entitled 'A Course in Miracles: Combined Volume'. It contains Supplements to A Course in Miracles, namely 'Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice' and 'The Song of Prayer', which are considered extensions to ACIM. The former Supplement describes the principle of healing within the context of the patient-therapist relationship. The latter Supplement is an attempt to address misunderstandings about ACIM, namely ego concepts of asking-out-of-need, forgiveness-to-destroy and healing-to-separate.
CommentsAlthough it is probably worth reading the main text, it is the workbook which was designed to be the most efficient training tool. It comprises of a specific thought for the day, which is a mental exercise to apply to situations or objects around you three or four times a day for about a minute each. How hard can that be to include in your daily routine? Unlike reading psychology books and taking in thousands of ideas and not applying any of them, this book provides a convenient framework of directly applying the thoughts and concepts. It works to uncondition limiting thoughts and beliefs and meaning ascribed to situations and things, and gradually applying more empowering, positive meanings to them. Various web sites can email the thought of the day to you, but the on line book is more useful as it contains explanation and application tips for each thought or concept for the day. The whole course is 365 days long. You may choose to stick to one concept for a couple of days. Results are obtained way before the year is up!
A Course in Miracles is Christian-based, but is generically worded and can be adopted and used by anyone of any religious or atheistic persuasion. References in the 2003 Second Edition Re-Print to being the spoken words of Jesus may be taken with a pinch of salt, literally meaning just that (i.e. nearly 2000 year old spoken words not recorded anywhere else in this form) or being written in the 1960s by the authors guided by the spirit of Jesus (much as the Bible is 'the word of God' but 'written by various authors inspired by the spirit of God' and compiled and edited by the Catholic Church). Some might argue that ACIM is slightly gnostic or New Thought in approach as there is some common material between it and some of the Nag Hamadi Dead Sea Scrolls. Others say it is a regurgitation of East meets West philosophical/religious ideas, presented in a nominally Christian format. Others might say it was non-Biblical and derived from mediumship (rather than just a creative imagination chewing on philosophy and then spitting it out in a new format). Hermeticists might argue it uses principles of Gnosticism but in 'gratuitous' Christian metaphor. Many just regard it as a personal development book with slightly religious language. You decide for yourself!