A Course in Miracles is a couple of self-study materials published by the Foundation for Inner Peace. The book’s content is metaphysical, and explains forgiveness as applied to daily life. Curiously, nowhere does the book have an author (and it is so listed without an 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 original version of the book was published in 1976, with a revised edition published in 1996. The main content is a teaching 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 may be traced back to early 1970s; Helen Schucman first experiences with the “inner voice” resulted in her then supervisor, William Thetford a course in miracles, to get hold of Hugh Cayce at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. Consequently, an introduction to Kenneth Wapnick (later the book’s editor) occurred. At 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 around of Schucman, Wapnik, and Thetford to Robert Skutch and Judith Skutch Whitson, of the Foundation for Inner Peace. The first printings of the book for distribution were in 1975. 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 teaching device; the course has 3 books, a 622-page text, a 478-page student workbook, and an 88-page teachers manual. The materials may be studied in the order chosen by readers. The information of A Course in Miracles addresses both theoretical and the practical, although application of the book’s material is emphasized. The text is mainly theoretical, and is a cause for the workbook’s lessons, which are practical applications. The workbook has 365 lessons, one for every day of the season, though they do not have to be done at a rate of 1 lesson per day. Perhaps most just like the workbooks which can be familiar to the average reader from previous experience, you’re asked to utilize the material as directed. However, in a departure from the “normal”, the reader is not required to trust what is in the workbook, as well as accept it. Neither the workbook nor the Course in Miracles is meant to complete the reader’s learning; simply, the materials are a start.
A Course in Miracles distinguishes between knowledge and perception; truth is unalterable and eternal, while perception is the entire world of time, change, and interpretation. The planet of perception reinforces the dominant ideas in our minds, and keeps us separate from the truth, and separate from God. Perception is bound by the body’s limitations in the physical world, thus limiting awareness. A lot of the experience of the entire world 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.
Thus, A Course in Miracles helps the reader discover a way to God through undoing guilt, by both forgiving oneself and others. So, healing occurs, and happiness and peace are found.