by Greg MackieWhy did we change that

I'm leading a small Text class using a draft of our Complete and Annotated Edition of A Course in Miracles, and occasionally someone will ask me about a particular line in the CE that is different from the familiar Foundation for Inner Peace edition or one of the earlier versions. The question, in short: Why did we change that?

It's always a good question, and my answer to it is rooted in the "big picture" behind our work. As our essay on The Need for This Edition and How It Was Made says, "we started with Helen's handwritten Notes and from them attempted to produce a readable, user-friendly edition, while changing the original as little as possible." We wanted, in other words, to change only what needed to be changed in order to make the work more helpful to the student.

What specific things, then, needed to be changed to accomplish this goal? Well, given our commitment to changing the original as little as possible, most of what I'm calling "changes" here are changes from later versions back to what was in the original Notes.But speaking broadly, there is no absolutely objective way to answer the question of what needs to be changed and what does not. We simply did our best, as experienced interpreters of the Course and devoted followers of its path, to discern what editing needed to be done, following Jesus' own editing instructions where he gave them to Helen and Bill, and asking for guidance every step of the way.

The result is, of course, a very human product, as indeed most of the original editing was. We make no claims to anything close to infallibility. Given this, we felt it was important to make our work as transparent as possible: to let the reader know exactly what we changed and why. Therefore, with very small exceptions (within-sentence punctuation and capitalization), we have documented every change we've made, indicating both the original and our changed version. We've done so both in footnotes and in extensive editing notes that will be available online once the CE is out.

So, why did we change that? Whatever we changed, you'll know exactly why. We understand that some people will disagree with some of our changes, and that is perfectly understandable. Human products leave plenty of room for debate. We hope, however, that by "showing our work," we can show the care and attention that went into our attempt to both stay true to the original and be truly helpful to the reader.

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