A Course in Miracles is a set of self-study materials published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. The book’s content is metaphysical, and explains forgiveness as placed on daily life. Curiously, nowhere does the book have an author (and it’s so listed lacking any author’s name by the U.S. Library of Congress). However, the writing was compiled by Helen Schucman (deceased) and William Thetford; Schucman has related that the book’s material is based on communications to her from an “inner voice” she claimed was Jesus. The first version of the book was published in 1976, with a revised edition published in 1996. Part of the content is a training manual, and a student workbook. Since the initial edition, the book has sold several million copies, with translations into nearly two-dozen languages.
The book’s origins could be traced back again to the early 1970s; Helen Schucman first experiences with the “inner voice” generated her then supervisor, William Thetford, to make contact with Hugh Cayce at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. In turn, an introduction to Kenneth Wapnick (later the book’s editor) occurred. During the time of the introduction, Wapnick was clinical psychologist. After meeting, Schucman and Wapnik spent over a year editing and revising the material. Another introduction, this time of Schucman, Wapnik, and Thetford to Robert Skutch and Judith Skutch Whitson read a course in miracles online, of the Foundation for Inner Peace. The very first printings of the book for distribution were in 1975. Ever since then, copyright litigation by the Foundation for Inner Peace, and Penguin Books, has established that the content of the initial edition is in people domain.
A Course in Miracles is a training device; the course has 3 books, a 622-page text, a 478-page student workbook, and an 88-page teachers manual. The materials could be studied in the order chosen by readers. The content of A Course in Miracles addresses the theoretical and the practical, although application of the book’s material is emphasized. The writing is mostly theoretical, and is a basis for the workbook’s lessons, which are practical applications. The workbook has 365 lessons, one for every day of the year, though they don’t really have to be done at a pace of 1 lesson per day. Perhaps most like the workbooks that are familiar to the common reader from previous experience, you’re asked to utilize the material as directed. However, in a departure from the “normal”, the reader isn’t required to believe what is in the workbook, as well as accept it. Neither the workbook nor the Course in Miracles is intended to complete the reader’s learning; simply, the materials are a start.
A Course in Miracles distinguishes between knowledge and perception; the fact is unalterable and eternal, while perception is the planet of time, change, and interpretation. The planet of perception reinforces the dominant ideas within our minds, and keeps us separate from the reality, and separate from God. Perception is restricted by the body’s limitations in the physical world, thus limiting awareness. Much of the knowledge of the planet reinforces the ego, and the individual’s separation from God. But, by accepting the vision of Christ, and the voice of the Holy Spirit, one learns forgiveness, both for oneself and others.