By Joe R. Jesseph, Ph.D.
Author: A Primer of Psychology According to A Course in Miracles

No, there is not and never was any "version" of the Course which was referred to by anyone associated with the scribing and publishing of the Course as the so-called "Thetford Version."

The idea of a "Thetford Version" was invented by people who were not directly involved with the scribing and publishing of the Course and who came upon it many years after it was first published, which was in 1975. After the HLV had been illegally obtained and distributed on the Internet in the year 2000, these people decided that it was a more authentic version and one for which Bill had taken primary editorial responsibility.

Bill Thetford himself never spoke of a "Thetford Version" and no doubt would have been amused and dismayed to hear of such a term. In fact, Bill had little patience for such detail work as editing a manuscript required. Interestingly, even thought he served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, because of his dislike for editing work, Helen Schucman actually did the journal editing for him. Helen too never used the term "Thetford Version," and could hardly have been expected to use it, having referred to it on occasion as "my course." Although Helen was always primarily responsible for the editing, Helen and Bill worked closely together on the initial editing which resulted in what is called "The Hugh-Lynn Version," in recognition of the fact that a copy of that version was given as a gift of appreciation for his consultation and support to  Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of Edgar Cayce and Director of the Association for Research and Enlightenment at the time.

Interestingly, when the final editing for publication was done, it was Bill who insisted that the number of "miracle principles" found at the beginning of the HLC version of the text be reduced from 53 to 50 for the final and officially published version -- another piece of information that illustrates the lack of understanding underlying the claim that somehow Bill's authority was overridden in the editing which produced the first published edition of A Course in Miracles.

In 1985 there was a "Ten Year Celebration" of the Course held in Honolulu.  Bill Thetford, who had remained active in study groups using the published Course, spoke at that celebration.  Wayne Davidson of Seattle attended the Honolulu gathering and gave the following first-hand account regarding Bill's statements about the work that Helen did in the final editing of the Course for publication.

Bill talked about this at the 10 year (1985) Honolulu celebration gathering. Bill's version was that after Ken came on the scene he felt he was being guided by Jesus to leave to Helen, Ken and Jesus the further work needed to make the ACIM ready for publication and wider distribution. In fact the guidance came in response to a prayer to Jesus for clarity on what Bill's continuing role might be. Bill said he felt relieved and felt the relief was a direct reflection of his joining with Jesus. He even had a sense that Jesus was smiling and complimenting Bill on fulfilling his role so well and with such devotion. Bill said he was always consulted by Helen and Ken to take a look at what they had accomplished but soon realized that was totally unnecessary because he could see the hand of Jesus in the work.
So, the question arises, how did anyone ever come up with the phrase "Thetford Version?"  The answer has to do with certain people's resentment of the fact that the Course was copyrighted along with distrust of those who are responsible for publishing the authorized version of A Course in Miracles. Some of those people thought that the HLC was easier to understand and, after the urtext was also illegally obtained and distributed, decided that they could do a better job of editing the Course and wanted to publish their own version. Since the copyright litigation was resolved, setting aside copyright in the very first ACIM publication called "The Criswell Edition," those people have proceeded to distribute unauthorized versions of the Course variously called: "Jesus' Course in Miracles," "The Original Course in MIracles," and so forth. (Note that copyright in all of the changes and improvements found in the Second and Third editions of the official, authorized A Course in Miracles remains in force, along with copyright in the Course Preface and Clarification of Terms as well as the two supplementary pamphlets now included in the Third Edition.) 

The official publisher of the authorized Course is the Foundation for Inner Peace. The latest Third Edition of the Course published by the Foundation now contains all of the improvements made in the Second Edition through painstaking editorial review along with the two supplementary pamphlets. This Third Edition contains on the cover a gold seal which states: "The only complete Course as authorized by its scribe & published by its original publisher."

For an authoritative account of the scribing, editing and publishing of A Course in Miracles see Wapnick's Absence from Felicity, especially chapter 12 of that book, which is published on the Web. Also see Ken Wapnick's discussion of the "Hugh Lynn Cayce Version (HLV)" of the ACIM text as well as his discussion of the urtext & the Early Chapters of the Text of A Course in Miracles.

In addition, see: A Short History of the Editing and Publishing of A Course in Miracles by Joe Jesseph.







Also Read about Dr. William Thetford and the CIA


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