A Course In Miracles 1975 Criswell Edition

In the summer of 1975 Judy Scutch had a small number of reduced photo offset reproductions of the edited  A Course In Miracles manuscript printed and bound as paperbacks. Because of the large size of the material, it was necessary to divide it into four separate bound volumes. A total of three hundred four-volume sets were printed that summer in 1975, in three separate printings of one hundred sets each. These have come to be known as the Criswell Edition, after the name of the printer. At least two complete sets of the Criswell survive today. Until recently, I owned one of these sets, but that is now held by the Course In Miracles Society (CIMS). a non-profit organization located in Nebraska. The other set has been owned by Stephen Horrillo. You can see photos of his set here.

The Criswell Edition did not include the Clarification of Terms, which now appears at the end of the Manual for Teachers,  because the Criswell Edition was printed in the summer of 1975, before the Clarification was written later that Fall.

The process of printing the Criswell Edition involved photographing each page of the typewritten manuscript and reducing the size from the original 8.5 in. x 11 in. U.S. letter size to the 5.25 in. x 8.25 in. size of the finished books.

The pages that were published in the Criswell looked exactly like the typewritten manuscript, but smaller.
As you can see, this contents page for the ACIM Text was printed from a photograph of a typewritten page. You can also see that the printing on the reverse side show through. This is indicative of thin, inexpensive and pulpy paper. This is not a criticism of the product, since inexpensive was the objective, so much as it is a  factor in evaluating the scarcity of surviving examples of the Criswell. Thin, cheap and pulpy paper deteriorates faster that more expensive acid-free paper and it is more easily damaged by use. You can tell by looking at the pictures of the Criswell set shown above that these books were never read or used. The spines are not broken, there are no loose or missing pages, the corners are not bent or rounded, there are no marks or writing on the pages and there are no creases in the covers. This set is pristine and rare, but by all the appearances that can be extracted by examining photographs, so is the other set.

At least two sets of the Criswell have survived and they each appear to have never been read. This may explain why they have each survived into the 21st Century in such good condition. If the original owners had used the volumes for any serious study, the books would have likely fallen apart fairly quickly. The spines would have been broken and the pages would have started to wear at the corners and fall out.

Here are the two set shown side-by-side. The difference in the colors of the covers does not mean anything. The only way to know if the two sets have the same color covers or different color covers is to have both sets in the same room under the same lighting condition at the same time, and viewed with the same pair of eyeballs.

-  oOo   -

Tom Fox
Louisville, Kentucky

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