The "Workbook for Students" consists of 365 lessons, an exercise for each day of the year. This one-year training program begins the process of changing the student's mind and perception, though it is not intended to bring one's learning to completion. As stated in the Preface to the Course, "At the end, the reader is left in the hands of his or her own Internal Teacher, Who will direct all subsequent learning as He sees fit." (Preface: ix)
The "Manual for Teachers" is written in question-and-answer form and provides answers to some of the more likely questions a student might ask. It also includes clarification of a number of terms the Course uses, explaining them within the theoretical framework of the Text and for their practical application through the Workbook.
A Course in Miracles was "scribed" by Dr. Helen Schucman through a process of inner dictation she identified as coming from Jesus. A clinical and research psychologist and tenured Associate Professor of Medical Psychology, she was assisted by Dr. William Thetford, her department head, who was also a tenured Professor of Medical Psychology at the Medical Center where they both worked.
A Course in Miracles was first published in 1975, the year Dr. Schucman assigned copyright of the Course to the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP). Since the beginning and as designated, this Foundation has been its publisher, disseminator, and copyright/trademark holder, although in 1999 it assigned the copyright and trademark to the Foundation for A Course in Miracles (FACIM). There are currently about one and a half million copies of the Course in circulation worldwide. Translations in Chinese, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish are also available, with twelve other translations now in progress.
What exactly, then, is A Course in Miracles? The summary introduction, which appears in its Text, is quite succinct and brief. It reads:
"This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.
This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God."