0. Preface 0. Preface
9. Pre-Canonical 9. Pre-Canonical
10. Miscellaneous 10. Miscellaneous
The name Urtext is a bit problematic since its usage is so varied and its meaning so vague. For many years Kenneth Wapnick and the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) reported that the original Thetford Transcript typed by William Thetford to Helen Schucman’s oral dictation was called the Urtext. In the summer of 2000, a group of typed manuscripts showed up on the net which derived from material Wapnick had filed at the Copyright Office in 1992. Just how it got from the Copyright Office to the net is not precisely known, but it did. In that collection of 22 Volumes of the Unpublished Writings of Helen Schucman, these manuscripts were labelled “Urtext of a Course in Miracles.” The assumption was naturally made that these obviously early typed manuscripts were the original Thetford Transcript. This is the material included in the “facsimile” copies. Those manuscripts were typed into computers to produce the searchable “e-texts” which are largely accurate, but not precisely perfect replicas of those manuscripts. The e-texts should be viewed as searchable indices to the manuscripts and not substitutes for them. Due to the fact of some words and letters being crossed out and marked up by hand, no typed copy is ever going to be a precisely exact reproduction of these hand-made manuscripts. Due to the enormous time required for thorough proofreading, this material has not been proofed with the thoroughness required and one should always verify any passage in the e-texts against the actual original manuscript. To facilitate that cross-referencing and comparison, we present both the facsimile and e-text copies with the exact same pagination.
Further research into these typed manuscripts has not been able to positively verify their identity as the Thetford Transcript and has indeed raised increasing doubt. The weight of probability leans heavily toward identifying most of this body of manuscripts as a later, edited re-typing of the initial Shorthand Notebooks. Only the Psychotherapy manuscript contains substantial internal textual evidence consistent with its being the Thetford Transcript. In the case of the Song of Prayer manuscript, the research is inconclusive. It might be the Thetford Transcript.
For more information on the identification of the Urtext and its relationship to the Thetford Transcript click here.
In the case of the Urtext material from the USCO, some portions of it may well be the original Thetford Transcript. Much, if not all of the Text is most certainly not, most of the other volumes are dubious at best, but the Psychotherapy and Song of Prayer volumes show a number of characteristics we’d expect from Thetford’s original typing. They are exceedingly accurate, unlike the Text, and they do show some of Thetford’s idiosyncratic typos. Due to the fact that we cannot be certain, those two volumes are included both in the Urtext and the Thetford Transcript sections, and will remain in both until we can ascertain with certainty whether they are the first typing or a later re-typing.
Sequence of Pages
For a variety of reasons it is not possible for me to always determine the actual sequence of pages in the original 22 Volumes collection nor the precise original sequence. In a few cases, notably with the Special Messages material, there are some uncertainties as to original date. Insofar as possible material has been organized chronologically, and the order of pages here may differ from that in other collections in circulation. In a few cases material marked “Special Messages” and showing up in that segment of the 22 Volumes bears page numbers missing from the Text volume, indicating it was originally included in what is now the Text volume. The later Hugh Lynn Cayce manuscript copies this material in those exact locations, indicating that the Scribes viewed it as part of the Text despite its also bearing the “Special Message” label. We have included this material in both locations, in the Special Messages file and in the Text in its apparent original location.
In the Text volume there are several different page numbering systems typed or handwritten on the pages. While there are 1072 pages in total, the last page number is 886. Some page numbers are used more than once. This makes the ‘marked page number’ extremely inconvenient, confusing and problematic for use as a reference. To date there has been no other and published references to the Urtext generally use the marked page number even where there is more than one page with the same marked page number. For convenience we’ve simply numbered the pages sequentially and we tend to use both the “absolute page number” and the “marked page number” in our page references to the Urtext Text volume. We’ve also put all “Preface” type material at the end, rather than the beginning of these documents. This way, when loaded in a PDF viewer, if you are looking for page 500, and you issue the “GoTo page 500” command, you will indeed end up at page 500 in the Absolute Page Number scheme. Due to the sequencing issues indicated above, and the fact that various collections of Urtext manuscript facsimiles in circulation have differing numbers of pages and differing sequences, this will not always be the same page in all copies. That’s why we use both page numbers for the Text.
In the other volumes the marked page numbers are generally quite standard, consistent and usable although there are a few “missing pages.” In some cases it appears that the “error” is simply that a number got skipped in copying, not that material was omitted. In other cases there is some indication that we are in fact missing one or more of the original pages.
To keep things consistent and convenient, such that an the page number marked is always identical to the actual sequential page number in the PDF files, we’ve taken cover pages, contents pages, and other material which was originally placed before “page 1” of the manuscript and moved it to the end. If you dislike this, with a PDF editor you can always put them back!