Helen Schucman

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Helen Schucman
Born July 14, 1909(1909-07-14)
Died February 9, 1981 (aged 71)
Nationality American
Ethnicity Caucasian
Citizenship United States

Helen Schucman (July 14, 1909–February 9, 1981) was a research psychologist from New York City. Raised by Jewish but non-religious parents, Schucman had always had an interest in religion. From 1958 through 1976 she was a professor of medical psychology at Columbia University in New York.


[edit] Background

Schucman was a clinical and research psychologist, who held the tenured position of Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City. It is claimed that A Course in Miracles was "scribed" by Schucman between 1965 and 1972 through a process of inner dictation.[1] She experienced the process as one of a distinct and clear dictation from an inner voice, which earlier had identified itself to her as Jesus.[2] Schucman's scribing of A Course in Miracles began with these words: "This is a course in miracles, please take notes."[3]

Wouter Hanegraaf distinguishes Shucman's process as a type of channeling that articulates revelation clarifying that "...in cases of inner dictation in which the medium hears a voice dictating messages, (s)he writes down [these messages] in a fully conscious state." Hanegraaf continues by specifically characterizing Shucman's case as spontaneous channeling indicating that "...[o]ver the years the voice proved to be remarkably consistent, stopping the dictation when interrupted [by Shucman's daily activities] and continuing at the next opportunity."[4] Hanegraff also references specific dialogue between Shucman and Thetford citing author Robert Skutch,[5]among other authors, including Kenneth Wapnick, whom Hanegraaf indicates as a "good" source for complete discussion on this subject.

During her tenure at Columbia University, Schucman worked with William Thetford. During this time, Schucman worked in a collaborative venture with Thetford in scribing A Course In Miracles (ACIM) and also with its initial edits. [3]

The main transcription process took seven years, from 1965 through 1972, during which time she would take down the notes in shorthand, then each day read back these notes to William Thetford, a colleague at Columbia, who would type them out while she read them. After all the ACIM material had been initially transcribed it was then edited for publication by Schucman and the other two primary editors, William Thetford and Kenneth Wapnick.

Cover of Absence from Felicity, Schucman's only biography

Schucman also wrote two supplemental ACIM pamphlets[6] by the same process as well as a collection of poetry later published as The Gifts of God. Following the transcription and editing, Schucman began to reduce the level of her direct involvement in the ACIM related effort and was never as heavily involved with teaching or popularizing the material as were its editors, Bill Thetford and Kenneth Wapnick.

In a manner which is highly atypical for such a prolific modern American 'scribe', Schucman did not seem to turn her experiences into any significant financial advantage, nor did she cultivate personal celebrity.[citation needed]

In 1980 Schucman was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. After a prolonged illness, she died of related complications at age 71 in 1981.

Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles is the only biography of Schucman. It was written by her longtime friend Kenneth Wapnick. After Schucman's death, Wapnick founded the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, the organization that holds the copyright to A Course In Miracles.

[edit] Writings

  • Schucman, Helen (1960). Evaluating the educability of the severely mentally retarded child.. American Psychological Association. OCLC 62427139. 
  • Schucman, Helen (June 1972). The Retarded Child from Birth to Five: A Multidisciplinary Program for the Child and Family. John Day Co. ISBN 978-0381981273. OCLC 303564. 
  • Schucman, Helen (1989). The Gifts of God. Berkeley: Celestial Arts. ISBN 0-89087-585-5.  (contains 114 poems that share the spiritual content of the Course as well as the prose poem "The Gifts of God," which summarizes the teachings of the Course)

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Wapnick, Kenneth (1991). Absence from Felicity
  2. ^ Wapnick, Kenneth (1991). Absence from Felicity, pp. 97-131
  3. ^ a b "The Scribing of A Course in Miracles". Foundation for Inner Peace. http://www.acim.org/Scribing/about_scribes.html. Retrieved 2010-01-27. 
  4. ^ Hanegraaff, WJ. (1996). New Age Religion and Western Culture. State University of New York Press. pp. 24,30. ISBN 0-7914-3854-6. 
  5. ^ Skutch, Robert (1984). Journey Without Distance - The story behind A Course in Miracles. Celestial Arts. ISBN 1-58761-108-7. 
  6. ^ Supplements to A Course in Miracles: 1. Psychotherapy: Purpose, Process and Practice 2. The Song of Prayer. Viking Adult. 1996. ISBN 0-670-86994-5. 

[edit] See also

[edit] External references

  • Robert Skutch (1996). Journey Without Distance: The Story Behind A Course in Miracles. Mill Valley: Foundation for Inner Peace. ISBN 1-883360-02-1.  (discusses the pre-publication history of ACIM)
  • Kenneth Wapnick (1999). Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles (2nd Ed. ed.). New York: Foundation for A Course in Miracles. ISBN 0-933291-08-6.  (discusses Helen Schucman and the pre-publication history of ACIM)