CAPITALIZATION IN A
COURSE IN MIRACLES*
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
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.
RULES OF CAPITALIZATION
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 .
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
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,
Synonyms for Christ are capitalized
-- for example: Effect,
with the exception of Love,
associated with Christ are not capitalized, as, for example,
Synonyms for the Holy Spirit are capitalized
-- for example:
for God -- as
are their pronouns. Love is capitalized when it is associated with the
The first person (i.e., "I") used throughout
Course in Miracles is Jesus. Words
associated with him are not capitalized; for example: all pronouns,
When a capital letter is needed for
clarity and emphasis, exceptions to these principles are made. For example:
demonstrative pronouns are not capitalized, this is allowed when it specifically
refers to Christ, as in T-31.V. 17:9.
for Will are not capitalized. However, one itself
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,
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.
SEE ERRATA - EDITING THE SECOND EDITION
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