A Bibliographic Essay on Some Human Sources Used in The Urantia Book
by Matthew Block
copyright (©) 1992 by Matthew Block

Here Matthew quotes partially from the two Acknowledgments given on pages 16 and 1343 of The Urantia Papers. Refer to my full quotations in the previous chapters. I offer a few minor comments in this reproduction of his statement. I mark those with ****. He then makes the following remarks:

Following these introductory remarks is a list of nineteen books which appear to have been considered worthy of use by the revelators, in pursuance of their mandate to give preference to human sources whenever possible. All of these books (with a few exceptions, to be noted in the list) contain sentences, paragraphs or even whole chapters whose phrasings and organization of thoughts or information are so closely paralleled in The Urantia Book as to strongly suggest their use. While a few of these have long been known to some UB readers (e.g., the Breasted book and one of the two books by Bundy and by Jones), most were apparently first discovered in libraries and used bookstores in the Chicago area during the spring, summer and autumn of 1992, in the course of my research into The UB's human sources. The research so far has been so fruitful mainly because none of the books were obscure; they were all written by authorities in their respective fields (often by professors from prominent American universities) and many were reviewed in the popular and academic press. Further, the book titles themselves are often giveaways to the alert Urantia Book reader; by their very titles, for instance, I targeted Purposive Evolution and The Architecture of the Universe (listed below) as likely primary sources.

It is interesting to note that, although these books cover many fields, including religion, philosophy, archaeology, physics, astronomy and history, the revelators directly acknowledge using only the highest human concepts and insights pertaining to God and the seven superuniverses and to the life and teachings of Jesus (as the above citations indicate). I was thus quite surprised, initially, at the extent to which the revelatory culled from books which do not focus on these areas. (As a matter of fact, I was surprised that the revelators culled extensively from books at all, as I had always supposed that they had accessed some sort of celestial concept registry to locate appropriate human concepts and expressions, only referencing books in exceptional cases.) Nevertheless, regardless of the lack of specific acknowledgments, it is clear that many more textual sources in various fields will eventually be traced. I estimate that writings published before 1936 form the basis of about one-third of Parts I and II and at least two-thirds of Parts III and IV, and most of these works will probably be found within the next few years. Eventually we will be able to map out the whole Urantia Book according to which parts were "revealed for the first time" and which were not. And, again, this will not be too difficult since the revelators, while avoiding extensive word-for-word borrowings, made no attempt to disguise their sources by departing widely from the original human expressions. (It may be, however, that some papers are not composed of direct restatements of specific texts but are rather syntheses of several indirect sources. In this case, we should be able to track down writings which discuss similar concepts or issues in similar ways.)

Clearly, these findings are of pivotal importance to serious Urantia Book readers. In providing a great deal of new substantiation of the revelators' preferential use of human sources, they spark new insights into what this revelation really is and how human and superhuman voices and viewpoints interfaced in its production. As we gain a better grasp of how original it is (in its function as pure revelation), and how derivative (in it's function of presenting superhuman restatements of human concepts and expressions), we will be better able to see how the revelation positions itself with respect to evolutionary human knowledge, wisdom and faith.

My own experience has taught me that, as a result of my former ignorance and underestimation of early 20th century thought and scholarship, my sense of this positioning had been skewed. If unfamiliar with a concept or a piece of information presented in the papers -- especially if it struck me as uncommonly beautiful, brilliant, or incisive -- I would usually assume it was "revealed for the first time," little realizing that it might have been known or expressed, in some form or other, by some people of earlier generations. But in becoming more familiar with the thought trends of that period and others, and with the discovery of more human sources, I've come to a better appreciation of the higher reaches of human thought (as reflected in the book) and can now begin to give the book's human side its proper due.

Along with this heightened awareness of the book's human component has come a greatly increased appreciation of the sheer bril1iance with which the revelators accomplished their purposes in referencing these sources. In comparing the source materials with the corresponding passages in The UB, I am

continually struck by the presenters' ingenious ability to seamlessly integrate human observations with revelatory supplementation or correction. Time and again they prove themselves deft and Creative editors, performing the difficult task of remaining true to the original expression while at the same time slightly altering it to make the re-worded sentence(s) more congruent with revealed teachings. One illustration of this technique will suffice for the purposes of the present essay. In his discussion of chemical elements, W.F.G. Swann writes on page 64 Of The Architecture of the Universe:

"Starting from any one of them, and noting some property such as the melting point, for example, the property would change as we went along the row, but as we continued it would gradually come back to a condition very similar to that which we started . . . The eighth element was in many respects like the first, the ninth like the second, the tenth like the third, and so on. Such a state of affairs pointed not only to a varied internal structure, but also to a certain harmony in that variation suggestive of some organized plan in building the atom."


Compare this with the parallel passage on p. 480 of The UB:

"Starting from any one element, after noting some one property, such a quality will change for six consecutive elements, but on reaching the eighth, it tends to reappear, that is, the eighth chemically active element resembles the first, the ninth the second, 'and so on. Such a fact of the physical world unmistakably points to the sevenfold constitution of ancestral energy and is indicative of the fundamental reality of the sevenfold diversity of the creations of time and space."

Notice the care - and flair - with which the second passage was restated. While retaining the original sentence structures and using similar wordings, the Mighty Messenger departs from the speculative tone of Swann's last clause, inserting a revealed statement of decisive significance in its place. Hundreds of other examples of this technique appear in the books listed below: their cumulative effect is quite astounding. Other patterns of referencing, equally ingenious, are also discernible, but these will be brought forward in later essays. (In this connection, it should be noted that in the listings, when I describe passages in some of the books as being "reproduced with little change" or "lightly rewritten," etc., the changes may be small in terms of form but quite significant in terms of substance.)

Interestingly, these books have sometimes been of great help in the further understanding of the papers that use them. Often the presenters are obliged to present an abbreviated treatment of a concept or a history which is discussed at greater length by the source. For instance, my understanding of the book's puzzling reference to "cosmic self-maintenance" (p. 482) was greatly enhanced when I came upon this concept presented at length in the Noble book (see below). In light of these benefits to comprehension of both content and context, I feel it would be helpful for the readership to be made aware of these sources and perhaps some of these books with expired copyrights could be re-published. Further, as an organization dedicated to furthering the study of The Urantia Book, The (Urantia) Fellowship would do well to openly acknowledge the existence of these works in some way, perhaps even in its informational literature about The Urantia Book. We should be aware, as well, that a confident and well-reasoned acknowledgment would disarm debunkers who hold the notion that revelation always and necessarily means, to its gulled believers, complete superhuman inspiration.

The following listings are necessarily brief and incomplete. In the coming months I intend to analyze some of these books at greater length. My main goals in each of the essays, which I hope to publish in The Journal and other periodicals of the Urantia movement, will be: (1) to lay out the parallels between the book in question and The UB, (2) to show how the superhuman presenters supplemented the human statements with revelatory information or insights, and (3) to see whether and how the book in question sheds light, in terms of content and/or context, on the corresponding passages in The UB.

In the meantime I and other readers will continue to be on the lookout for more human sources. If anyone knows of books or writings not included in this list, I would be very grateful to hear from you. If anyone has any questions about these books or the projects, please feel free to contact me at: 3719 N. Southport Ave., #217, Chicago, IL 60613 (312/975-1764).


****Matthew has since departed from this address and telephone number. Also his expectations of his work have been seriously delayed. At the moment of this writing he expects to publish a book on only one part of his discoveries by the fall of 1999.****

Note made November 10, 2005:

Matthew has several works privately published by Square Circles Publishing Company, 3890 Vista Campana South, #13, Oceanside, CA 920577. This is the address of Saskia Praamsma Raevouri, with whom Matthew now lives. I have been

unable to determine that any of his works have been published by anyone else.

For more information see:

Or click here ARTICLES.htm

****In an earlier document in the autumn of 1992 Matthew also made the following remark but he did not included it in the above:****

[Clearly, these findings are of fundamental importance to serious students of the Urantia Papers, sparking new questions and insights into what this revelation really is and how human and superhuman voices and viewpoints interfaced in its production. As we gain a better grasp of how original it is, or how derivative, we will be better able to see how the revelation positions itself with regard to evolutionary human knowledge, wisdom and faith. We will also be better prepared to grapple with the perplexing questions of the nature and extent of the book's authority, applicability  and accessibility in the decades and centuries to come -- questions such as: What bearing does the book's being written in 1934-35 have on its future relevance and immediacy? What does it mean that, "this book is intended for the coming age," when so much of it directly addresses and responds to the thought trends and world situation of the early 20th century -- no longer our own, much less that of later generations? (Of course, the revelators themselves broach these questions somewhat in "The Limitations of Revelation" and elsewhere).]


Matthew's Source List as of December 1992

1. Aston, W.G. 1905. Shinto (The Way of the Gods). Longmans, Green, and Co., New York. (Paper 131 The World's Religions, section 7.) Sentences from Aston's translation of the "Wa Rongo" collection of Shinto Oracles, lightly rewritten or paraphrased, constitute the entire selection of Ganid's abstract of Shinto.

2. Bishop, William Samuel. 1926. The Theology of Personality. Longmans, Green, and Co., New York. (Foreword, section XII; Paper 106 Universe Levels of Reality, section 8.) Though there appears to be no superhuman lifting of content here, Bishop uses the terms "trinity," "triunity," and -- amazingly -- "A Trinity of Trinities"; in the exposition of his constructive theology. These terms are completely re-worked in The UB.

3. Breasted, James Henry. 1933. The Dawn of Conscience. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. (Paper 95 The Melchizedek Teachings in the Levant, sections 2-5; Paper 111 The Adjuster and the Soul, preamble.) Breasted's analysis and assessments of early Egyptian social idealism and religion -- including the teachings of Amenemope and Ikhnaton, the ka and the ha, Egypt's influence on the Hebrews, etc. -- are incorporated into The UB's corresponding discussions.

4. Bundy, Walter E. 1928. The Religion of Jesus. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis. (Paper 196 The Faith of Jesus, preamble, sections 1-2; etc.) Portions from every chapter of this book, whose thesis is that the human Jesus founded the religion of personal experience and that we must recover the religion of Jesus from the religion about Jesus, are deftly concentrated in Paper 196 with the retention of many of Bundy's exact wordings.

5. Bundy, Walter E. 1929. Our Recovery of Jesus. The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis. (Paper 196 The Faith of Jesus, preamble, sections 1-2.) A companion volume to the preceding book, this one has material that parallels paragraphs in Paper 196 which were not paralleled by the preceding one. The two books together supply about 95% of the basis of the preamble and the first two sections. The last section differs in tone and content and may be original with the mldwayers.

6. Burton, Ernest DeWitt and Mathews, Shailer. 1901, 1927. The Life of Christ. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. (Part IV, passim.) The content of this book does not appear to be used but rather its chapter and section titles. Parallel titles include: "The Crisis at Capernaum," "Discourse on Spiritual Freedom," "The Widespread Fame of Jesus (Christ)," "The Man with the Withered Hand," "The Woman Taken in Adultery," and (More) Parables by the Sea."

7. Cowdry, E. V., editor. 1930. Human Biology & Racial Welfare. Paul B Hoeber, Inc., New York. (Paper 51 The Planetary Adams, section 4; Paper 65 The Overcontrol of Evolution, section 2; Paper 82 The Evolution of Marriage, section 6; etc.) The revelators tacitly reference essays by Hrdlicka, Conklin and Davenport in their discussions of race differences, the dangers and benefits of race mixing and the feasibility of a modest eugenics program.


8. Edwards, Tryon, original compiler, 1890-1934 and later. The New Dictionary of Thoughts. Classic Publishing Co., London & New York. (Paper 48 The Morontia Life, section 7.) The vast majority of the 28 "statements of human philosophy" in the Morontia Mota section are taken well-nigh consecutively from the first 35 Pages of this 750-page book, which is arranged alphabetically by subject. The subjects from which the revelators cull quotations include: Ability, Accident, Action, Adversity, Affectation, Affliction, Anger, Anxiety, Art, Aspiration. These quotes are usually not reproduced verbatim in The UB but are recast so as to have a more cosmic and spiritual tone.

9. Fosdick, Harry Emerson. 1933. The Hope of the World. Harper and Brothers, New York & London. (Paper 171 On the Way to Jerusalem, section 7.) "Goodness is effective only when it is attractive", on

p. 18 is the essence of Fosdick's sermon "The Fine Art of Making Goodness Attractive."

10. Frost Jr., S.E., c,ompiler and editor. 1943. The Sacred Writings of the World's Great Religions. The New Home Library, New York. (Paper 131 The World's Religions.) This book is a selection from previous - and, unfortunately, uncited - translations of various holy books. The UB appears to use the same translations of the Jain, Zoroastrian and Confucian writings as Frost, as well as the Aston Shinto translation. There is a remarkable degree of overlap in the passages selected in the two books.

11. Hartshorne, Charles. 1941. Man's Vision of God. Willett, Clark and Co., Chicago. (Foreword, section I.) Hartshorne's list of the seven conceivable types of perfection is reproduced  almost verbatim on p. 3 of The UB. I suspect that Hartshorne

published an earlier (Pre-1936) presentation of this system in a journal, so it may already have been in print before the Foreword was written.

(Refer to my discussion in preceding chapters. EPM)

12. Hopkins, E. Washburn. 1923. Origin and Evolution of Religion. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. The whole of Paper 85 The Origins of Worship is derived directly from the first several chapters of this book, each section in the paper corresponding almost exactly to a chapter in the book. Paper 92 The Later Evolution of Religion incorporates some of Hopkins' comments, as do Papers 90 and 96; and the preamble and section 1 of Paper 104 Growth of the Trinity Concept are based directly on Hopkins' chapters on "The Triad," "The Hindu Trinity," "The Buddhistic Trinity," and "The Christian Trinity."

13. Jones, Rufus M. 1932. A Preface to Christian Faith in a New Age. Macmillan Co., New York. (Paper 195 After Pentecost, sections 5-10.) Every chapter of the book is used in the revelators' discussions of Christianity's struggle to awaken to its spiritual mission in the face of modern secularism and its own institutional shortcomings. Virtually every paragraph of Section 10 (The Future) is drawn consecutively from the last half of this book.

14. Jones, Rufus M. 1916. The Inner Life. Macmillan Co., New York. (Paper 102 The Foundations of Religious Faith, preamble). Jones quotes the same two extracts of Bertrand Russell's "A Free Man's Worship" (1903) which the Melchizedek paraphrases in the first two paragraphs of the paper. Both Jones and The Melchizedek use these passages to illustrate materialistic despair, which can only be remedied by faith in God and a spiritual interpretation of the universe.

15. Noble, Edmund. 1926. Purposive Evolution: The Link Between Science and Religion. Henry Holt and Co., New York. (Paper 42 Energy - Mind and Matter, section 11; Paper 116 The Almighty Supreme, section 7.) Noble's theory of cosmic self-maintenance (the universe as purposive) is referred to in The UB on p. 482; his chapter "Is the Universe an Organism?" (in which he gives a negative answer) seems to be responded to by the revelators on p. 1276-77: "The Living Organism of the Grand Universe".

16. Osborn, Henry Fair Held. 1928. Man Rises to Parnassus: Critical Epochs in the Prehistory of Man. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. (Paper 64 The Evolutionary Races of Color, sections 2, 4; Paper 80 Andite Expansion in the Occident, sections 3, 8, 9; etc.) This book seems to be the prime source for The UB's discussion of the successive human races in Europe from the Foxhall Peoples to the Neanderthals, the cr o-Magnons and the ancestors of the Nordics. The UB largely adheres to Osborn's geological, racial and cultural chronologies and to his characterizations of the cultures of these various peoples. Osborn's discussion of the Bretons is paralleled exactly on p. 899 of The UB.

17. Palmer, George Herbert. 1930. The Autobiography of a Philosopher. Greenwood Press reprint, New York, 1968) (Paper 181 Final Admonitions and Warnings, section 1.) Palmer's assertion of the superiority of the inner peace resulting from faith in the Father's loving care, over the "two inferior forms of hardihood" (optimism and stoicism), is paralleled in The UB's discussion on pgs. 1954-55.

18. Sabatier, Auguste. 1904. Religions of Authority and the Religion of the Spirit. McClure, Phillips & Co., New York. (Paper 155 Fleeing Through Northern Galilee, sections 5 & 6.) The sections in The UB on "The Discourses on True Religion, - which distinguish the religions of authority from the religion of the spirit - are an amplification of Sabatier's thesis. The UB's listing of the "three manifestations of the religious urge" on p. 1728 correspond to Sabatier's "Three Degrees of Religious Evolution." Sabatier's book was quite influential; both Rufus Jones and Walter Bundy, among others, refer to the religions of authority and the religion of the spirit, attributing the origin of the latter to Jesus, as does Sabatier.

19. Swann, W.F.G. 1934. The Architecture of the Universe. The Macmillan Co., New York. (Paper 41 Physical Aspects of the Local Universe; Paper 42 Energy - Mind and Matter, passim. Parts of Swann's opening chapter On "The Dogmas of Natural Philosophy" are reproduced with little chance in section 9 ("Natural Philosophy") of Energy - Mind and Matter. Many of his temperature, size and distance estimates relating to intra-atomic and astronomic bodies are used in The UB as are several of his analogies and illustrations (e.g.., if the volume of a proton should be magnified to the size of a head of a pin, then, in comparison, a pin's head would attain a diameter equal to that of the earth's orbit around the sun.


Matthew asked that I not include other reference sources known to me, prior to his own publication.