The following is a recent news story about the discovery of the original manuscript penned by Shucman as a draft to "A Course in Miracles". Interestingly enough, all the comments from the publishers of A Course of Miracles flatly contradicts everything Shucman, Thetford and other members of A.R.E. had said to this point. It is apparent that the discrepencies between the unedited manuscript that Shucman originally produced and the finished work are so glaring that the Wapnicks have had to sue anyone in possession of the original from distibuting it.

Who Owns the Words of Jesus?:

Copyright holders protecting draft of book, but followers claim unedited version is voice of Christ

Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 19, 2000 http://www.sltrib.com/02192000/religion/27230.htm

For nearly two decades, the Rev. Brian Eenigenburg has been a devotee of A Course in Miracles, the three-volume work believed to be the words of Jesus dictated from heaven to New York psychologist Helen Schucman in the 1960s and '70s. Imagine Eenigenburg's delight in mid-January when he and hundreds of others received an e-mail of an earlier, ''unedited'' version of the work, which included statements and ideas omitted from the official version.

A battle is now being waged between those who have copyrights to A Course in Miracles and those who believe that ''the words of Jesus are not copyrightable under the law.'' Kenneth and Gloria Wapnick, executive directors of the Foundation For A Course in Miracles [FACIM] of Roscoe, N.Y., which holds the book's copyright, say the early manuscript is nothing but a rough draft. They believe they are protecting Schucman's interests by keeping the draft out of the public. Lawyers for the foundation and Penguin Books, which publishes A Course in Miracles, have sent threatening letters to those they suspect might be e-mailing the unedited version. They say they have already closed down a couple of websites promoting the material. But such efforts ''don't seem to be able to stem the rushing tide,'' Eenigenburg says.

While writing Course, Schucman and Thetford shared the original Manuscript, now the subject of the controversy, with Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of well-known psychic, Edward Cayce. That manuscript was passed down to Hugh Cayce's son, Charles Thomas Cayce, current president of the Association for Research and Englightenment [ARE] in Virginia Beach, Va.

A patron -- no one knows who -- recently discovered and copied the manuscript in ARE's library. It was then distributed electronically. But back in 1972, after Schucman showed it to Cayce, Wapnick was enlisted to help edit the work, particularly the early chapters, he said.

''A lot of changes had to be made because Helen's hearing was not all that good,'' he said. ''The early material was not polished or well-written and had a number of inconsistencies.''

The foundation's copyright controls are being challenged in three ongoing lawsuits. Wapnick's efforts have stifled discussion and interpretation of the Course, said Doug Thompson of the newly established Tyndale Society in Canada. The early copies were distributed freely, without restriction and without any copyright notice, Thompson said.

''Divinely authored material cannot be copyrighted,'' Thompson said. ''Law will not stop the giving away of A Course in Miracles any more than it stopped the translation and publication of the Bible 400 years ago.''

For devoted followers eager for any materials they believe were dictated by Jesus, the unedited manuscript may provide clarity on key ideas. ''Suppose you discover that the scripture you have been following had undergone major editing, including major deletions, and these edits and deletions either obsure or change entirely the meaning that was apparently intended originally,'' Eenigenburg said.

He is not convinced by Wapnick's arguments about editing. ''Jesus doesn't use working drafts. And he doesn't need editing.''

Back to Groups