There are so many commentaries on the course, I thought I might find one that suited my many year study of it, but have not found one, so here goes.
First off, the course is a book with three parts:
The course is a "channeled" work, and the author repeatedly refers to Himself as the historical Jesus. The contents of the book are teachings being given by Jesus, speaking through His scribe Helen Schucman. Helen was assisted in this by her fellow Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University’, William Thetford. This happened in the mid 1960's. The completed course was published in the mid 1970's.
It was required that the book never be traditionally promoted through advertising and the like, yet since it was published has gone on to inspire the formation of thousands of independent study groups, been translated into 25 languages and sold over 3,000,000 copies.
As to a summary of it;s contents, that is not so easy. From my personally having studied the book of many years (during one stretch I read nothing else for six years, reading the course several hours a day) , and having completing the workbook, my conclusion is that any attempt to summarize the book is not really possible.
The course is more like a living thing, and something that cannot be conceptually grasped. This is in part because the actual COURSE is the EXPERIENCES one has while doing the exercises in the workbook, NOT the ideas of the text. Having said that, though, some things can be discussed about the ideas of the course (Kay Hunter, a Reverend who has a brilliant writing about the New Testament and the course (here) does a great job of this, by the way).
The central (or one of the central) messages of A Course in Miracles is that while we are very limited in out awareness due to the nature of human perception, there IS a wisdom source that we can ACCESS when trained (by the course workbook as one way) to do so.
Putting the student in the hands of this "internal teacher," that it refers to as the "Holy Spirit" is what the course is about, The claim made by the course is that, like the Force in Star Wars, this inner "still silent voice" connects to that which has dominion over time and space, and knows what is best for all beings in all circumstances. It PROVED that to this student, skeptical as I was ( and I was very skeptical!!), and that was profoundly life altering.
The rest of the course is fascinating, and teachings remarkable concepts. One I particularly remember is that we are never upset for the reason we think (because of an event we don't like), but because it seems meaningless to us (and there is more to that lesson)-- but as someone whose life was completely altered by the course 30 years ago, and who has lived the consequences of this since (lots of miracles!), this is what I would say is the key to knowing something about it.
Here are a few quotes too, just to give a small sampling and a sense of what it is like;
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”
“In quietness are all things answered,”
“What you think you are is a belief to be undone.”
“Love holds no grievances.”
"I am not a body, I am free, for I am still as God Created me"
and about ten thousand more.
It may be the most influential book of the last 50 years.
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