A Course in Miracles is some 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 text was published by Helen Schucman (deceased) and William Thetford; Schucman has related that the book’s material is founded on communications to her from an “inner voice” she claimed was Jesus. The initial version of the book was published in 1976, with a revised edition published in 1996. Part of the content is a teaching manual, and a student workbook. Since the very first edition, the book has sold several million copies, with translations into nearly two-dozen languages.
The book’s origins could be traced back to early 1970s; Helen Schucman first experiences with the “inner voice” generated her then best acim podcast supervisor, William Thetford, to get hold of Hugh Cayce at the Association for Research and Enlightenment. Subsequently, 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 annually 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 that time, copyright litigation by the Foundation for Inner Peace, and Penguin Books, has established that this content of the very first edition is in the general public 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 could be studied in the order chosen by readers. This content of A Course in Miracles addresses both the theoretical and the practical, although application of the book’s material is emphasized. The writing is mostly theoretical, and is a cause for the workbook’s lessons, which are practical applications. The workbook has 365 lessons, one for each day of the entire year, though they don’t really need to be done at a pace of 1 lesson per day. Perhaps most just like the workbooks which are familiar to the common reader from previous experience, you are asked to utilize the material as directed. However, in a departure from the “normal”, the reader is not required to believe what’s 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 really are a start.
A Course in Miracles distinguishes between knowledge and perception; truth is unalterable and eternal, while perception is the planet of time, change, and interpretation. The planet of perception reinforces the dominant ideas inside our minds, and keeps us separate from the truth, and separate from God. Perception is limited by the body’s limitations in the physical world, thus limiting awareness. Much of the experience 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.
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.