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Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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What are the odds

What are the odds that this is the truth. In light of what we know about the numerology of A Course in Miracles, what are the odds that there were ever exactly 50 miracle principles? It is a minor point, but illustrative of how easy it is to be blind to the obvious.

There are 31 chapters in the ACIM Text. Thirty-one is a prime number. Thirty-one cannot be evenly divided by any whole number except itself and by the number one. The metaphysical symbolism of prime numbers indicates unitary wholeness. Metaphorically, prime numbers are indivisible wholes.

A prime number is a near-perfect conceptual reference for the idea of "oneness" . . . the many indivisibly united in the one.

As mentioned, the Text has 31 chapters. The Manual for Teachers has 29 sections and twenty-nine is a prime number. In the Urtext there were initially 43 Miracle Principles. Forty-three is a prime number. When Chapter One of the Text was edited by Bill Thetford to produce the 1972 version of the Course, there were 53 Miracle Principles, and fifty-three is a prime number as well.

What are the odds the mind that liked prime numbers so much is the same mind that decided there were to be fifty miracle principles?

Counting in tens . . . 10, 20, 30, etc. . . . seems natural because we are strongly identified with bodies having ten fingers. Finger counting is the basis for why we feel comfortable with nice "round" numbers like 50.

For someone who knows he is not a body, and who does not use fingers to count, the number 50 would have no special significance. The prime numbers 29, 31, 43 and 53 feel unnatural to one with strong unconscious body identification.

In Absence from Felicity, Kenneth Wapnick wrote:
"Bill [Thetford] insisted that there be fifty miracle principles, even though in the original dictation there were only 43, later changed to 53 in the two re-typings by Helen . . . In these numbering changes, incidentally, no text was added or deleted; the material was simply rearranged."
We know for a fact that Wapnick's statement "no text was added or deleted" during the final editing of the Course is simply not true. We know that Wapnick did not have access to the original dictation and the urtext prior to Helen's death in 1981. Furthermore, Wapnick's characterization of the editorial work done by Bill Thetford as a "re-typing"is a distortion.

Wapnick has proved himself to be an unreliable witness of the events surrounding the early days of the Course, and his assertions ought be taken with a grain of salt.


Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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Anonymous, A Course in Miracles - Original Edition
Bracken, Joseph A., S.J., The One in the Many: A Contemporary Reconstruction of the God-World Relationship
Clarke, W. Norris, The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics
Wapnick, Kenneth, Absence from Felicity