Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.

The capitalization in A Course in Miracles has been a source of quizzical wonderment for many students. At times it can seem to have been done on a whim, and its seeming inconsistencies more of a hindrance than a help as students struggled to decipher the meaning of sentences. Yet, to paraphrase the famous phrase from Hamlet, there yet has been a method to its apparent madness. Since awareness of the capitalization of the Course will inevitably become part of any student's use of this Concordance, a complete explanation of the capitalization principles used in A Course in Miracles is presented here now, appearing for the first time in print.

We begin with a discussion of the capitalization philosophy of Helen Schucman, scribe of the Course, as described in the book on Helen and her scribing of A Course in Miracles: Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of "A Course in Miracles." It should be noted at the outset that with the very few exceptions discussed below, the capitalization was not dictated by Jesus. It was thus left to Helen to determine how words should be capitalized.

One can see an "evolution" in Helen's style as one traces the Course from its original dictation in the notebooks, through Bill's  first typing and Helen's subsequent retypings. The process culminated in Helen's feeling that every word even remotely (a slight, but only slight, exaggeration on my part) associated with God should be capitalized, including pronouns and relative pronouns. I should mention that while here again Jesus left Helen with the freedom to do as she wished, he did make some exceptions. Under his specific instructions, all pronouns referring to him were to be lowercase (in the earlier manuscript Helen always capitalized them), to reflect his unity with us. Jesus instructed Helen always to capitalize the term "Son of God," to emphasize the inclusion of all of us as part of God's one Son, in contradistinction to traditional Christianity's exclusion of all but Jesus from God's special Sonship. Pronouns referring to the Son, however, were to be lowercase, to emphasize our separated state. The exception, of course, would be when "Son of God" refers to our true Identity as Christ, where the pronouns would be capitalized. Also, Jesus asked Helen to capitalize all pronouns referring to the Trinity -- God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit -- otherwise the reader might not always know for whom (or Whom) the referent was meant.

In the manuscript from which Helen and I were editing, Helen's capitalization was quite inconsistent. While I did originally try to talk her out of what I believed to be the excessive stylistic emphasis on God's divinity, I soon abandoned this fruitless enterprise and ended by saying to Helen that I would capitalize the Course words any way she chose to have them be, but that the capitalization should be consistent. This clearly appealed to her sense of logic, and so we set out in writing the rules of capitalization we would follow, and kept to these as best we could .

( Absence from Felicity, by K. Wapnick, pp. 364-66, copyright 1991,
Foundation for A Course in Miracles, Temecula, CA).



Nouns for the three Members of the Trinity -- God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit -- are always capitalized, along with their pronouns.


Nouns relating to God -- Mind, Heart, Will, Everlasting Arms, Holiness, Presence, etc. -- are capitalized, but the pronouns for these nouns are not capitalized, unless these nouns are used as synonyms for God. Some words are capitalized when used as synonyms for God, but not capitalized when used more generally, even though they clearly relate to God. Examples of this principle would be Truth,Life, Light,and Innocence.


Synonyms for Christ are capitalized -- for example: Effect, Identity, andSelf. However, with the exception of Love, words associated with Christ are not capitalized, as, for example, face, eyes, hands, and vision.

Holy Spirit

Synonyms for the Holy Spirit are capitalized -- for example: Teacher, Guide, Answer, Voice for God -- as are their pronouns. Love is capitalized when it is associated with the Holy Spirit.


The first person (i.e., "I") used throughout A Course in Miracles is Jesus. Words associated with him are not capitalized; for example: all pronouns, brother, man.


When a capital letter is needed for clarity and emphasis, exceptions to these principles are made. For example:

What: Although demonstrative pronouns are not capitalized, this is allowed when it specifically refers to Christ, as in T-31.V. 17:9.

Itself: Pronouns for Will are not capitalized. However, one itself referring to Will is capitalized for clarity, so that readers would be able to distinguish this from otheritselfsin the same sentence (W-pII.253.2:2).


Compound pronouns such as both, either, they, or those are capitalized when one or both subjects are part of the Trinity. An exception to this rule is when one of the two subjects refers to the ego, as in T-24.11.5:2.


*From the Concordance of A Course in Miracles (copyright, Foundation for Inner Peace, Viking-Penguin, 1996), pp. xiii-ix.


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