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THE URANTIA PAPERS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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From 1955 to 1995 the Urantia Foundation produced twelve successive
printings of The Urantia Papers, totaling about 285,000 copies. The printings
were on quality paper, with hard covers and firm bindings. The book measured
seven, by ten and one-half, by two inches, a fairly large volume. The first
two printings were for 10,000 copies. All successive printings were for
25,000 copies except the ninth at 30,000. A gradual increase in sales took
place between the first printing in 1955 and the second printing in 1967,
but thereafter the rate leveled off. From 1967 the sales remained essentially
the same until the last report date in 1995, at an average of slightly
less than 10,000 per year.
After Judge Urbom's denial of the Foundation's Copyright Renewal in 1996 in the Federal District Court in Phoenix, Arizona several other printings appeared. These were from Pathways in Navesink, New Jersey, (owned by Chris Hansen), from the Fifth Epochal Fellowship in Chicago with a different page format, and a smaller soft-cover version issued by the Foundation. The multiplicity of printings makes it more difficult to follow the total number of printed copies, and possible changes in text. Although the Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco reversed the District Court ruling, the final outcome of the copyright battle is uncertain. Kristen Maaherra, who brought the legal challenge, may decide to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
Thus far everyone respects the integrity of the text. The Pathways printing was especially important because it was a photocopy of the first Foundation printing. The importance lies in the fact that virtually all printings were done on paper made from acid formulation. Acid paper begins to age significantly after fifty years, becomes brittle, and will eventually crumble to dust. Therefore, the future will never know a copy of the first printing, nor any other printings on acid paper. At my suggestion, Chris Hansen specified the paper of the 1995 Pathways printing as non-acid stock.
In the Pathways printing Kristen Maaherra included a list of changes made to the text since the first printing in 1955. This included all printings through #11.
In her comparison of the text from computer indices, from meticulous hand work, and from the search of other persons, Kristen was able to publish an account of text changes from printing to printing. Prior to that time the Urantia Foundation kept the changes secret. Kristen's work forced public exposure.
The changes in the several printings have been unnecessarily exaggerated out of proportion to their significance. Kristen's list seemed to imply a horror of perversion, but more careful analysis shows that the changes were not highly significant, (except for a small number of cases), and were done for logical reasons, (although we may not agree with the logic). Furthermore, in her list of one hundred and forty items Kristen included twenty which were not part of the printing history. For superficial readers this tended to exaggerate the actual numbers. Her introductory paragraph states that "These changes were made in the text of The Urantia Papers since the first printing." This was not an accurate statement because she included her twenty observations. It might have been better if she had published a separate list.
Two important elements enter into our assessment of the changes. The
first was the structure of the original documents from which William Sadler,
Christy, (Emma Christensen), and other members of the Contact Commission
worked. According to the information they informally left us, they had
authority over punctuation, capitalization and spelling. From this one
might infer that the original had no capitalization or punctuation. Words
may have been strung together without interruption. If so, they had an
awesome task of transcribing the text into sensible phrases, sentences,
and paragraphs. Obviously, a period, a comma, or a semi-colon can significantly
alter meaning. As an example, consider the passage on Caligastia, page
If this long sentence had a period after "the minds of men," instead of a comma, it would dramatically change the meaning. Then Caligastia's entry into human mind would be absolutely denied. A comma after "corrupt them" would also have helped clarify the meaning. As the sentence now stands Caligastia's ability is subject to debate.
We do not really know the form of the original text. Was it capitalized
and punctuated? If so, why did the Contact Commissioners have authority
over those features? If not, did they have interaction with the Revelators
which verified the accuracy of their work on the text? The history of the
changes shows a purely human hand both before and after the first printing.
The evidence implies that no divine hand was directing their human contributions
to format. But there is another reason to infer that the text was not capitalized
or punctuated. When Christy was serving as a stenographer in recording
oral statements from the Sleeping Subject she had to infer capitalization,
punctuation and spelling. If the actual revelation, which appeared miraculously
on paper in 1934 and 1935, came also without capitalization or punctuation,
it would merely have continued the same form as her stenographic notes.
The second important element in understanding changes is that those incorporated in the second printing in 1967 probably had the personal approval of William Sadler, and all other printings through #6 in 1978 probably had the personal approval of Christy, if not her direct hand. Since Sadler and Christy were the individuals most intimately connected with the original structure, they would have had no scruples about making changes they may have felt significant to proper text. For them, an inviolate text did not mean a pure text. They would have been keenly aware of the human hand introduced to provide a readable text, with the necessary mortal contribution to punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. The practice of changes through a series of printings, well established by Christy, then introduced a habit of attitude about proprietary right to do so in subsequent printings by the Trustees of the Foundation, after she left this world.
The changes all had to have the approval of the Foundation Trustees. After all, they were responsible for preservation of the text. But since the changes were done in silence, without notice to anyone, there was no public accountability. Kristen's law suit was instrumental in bringing these practices to open declaration. Through depositions Trustee knowledge about the creation of the text, and their policies in preservation of the integrity of the text were publicly explored. Their responses, taken under oath, became part of the public record.
Some of the changes were absolute logical necessities. No sensible person would disagree with the need. Only the most adamant purist would debate the wisdom of those changes. However, in fairness to the celestial command to preserve the text inviolate, it would have been better to provide appendices, noting changes in subsequent printings, and the reasons therefore. This was never done.
More importantly, we do not know how these errors crept into the text in the first place. I shall examine possibilities.
An open explanation by William Sadler or Christy about the process of transcribing the text might have relieved us of the concerns generated by the subsequent changes. It may be that they felt they could not be so clear. They may have feared violating their instructions to not reveal the manner in which the text was given. Or they may have not fully revealed their hand for fear it would be viewed as a distraction to the purity of a divine revelation. We shall never know.
The history of the changes reveals this problem in psychology. It also reveals other factors in the preparation of the text, which I shall now explore. Analysis shows how the human caretakers inadvertently introduced errors.
In their Newsletter of November, 1995, the Foundation Trustees made the following remarks:
In this statement the Foundation admitted that the changes in the second and third printings were done by Sadler and Christy.
The Foundation provides, upon request, a list of all the corrections to the text. Copies of this list from the Foundation are now in public circulation. They show essentially the same details as Kristen's list, except for a few differences. I shall explain in the discussion below.
1. TEXTUAL IMMUNITY: Only printing #5 in 1976 and #8 in 1984 had no
changes to text. (#5 had one change to the Table of Contents, not the text.
This Table was humanly created, not revealed.)
2. RATIO OF CHANGES: The number of changes per printing are listed below.
These numbers include the Foundation list of changes, increased by sixteen
discovered by Kristen but not reported by the Foundation.
3. DENSITY OF CHANGES: As stated by the Foundation, nearly one-half of the changes were in printings #2 and #3. This shows that the first two printings were used as vehicles to "clean up" the text. Public detection was an important contribution to finding errors. We would expect such process for a voluminous printed work subject to human hands. But again, no public notice was given, nor an explanation provided by Christy or the Foundation Trustees, who apparently operated under a pretense of "perfection" of text. If the changes were not published the world would assume the text needed no changes, and hence was perfect. The Urantia Papers belong to mankind, but the Foundation operated under an assumption of proprietary rights without accountability to the rest of the world.
Those of us who spent time with the Revelation in its early years recognized minor errors, but we knew nothing of how the Foundation was treating those defects. At that early stage we did not question the integrity of the Foundation, now did we see a need to search for changes.
4. BETHPHAGE: The changes in printing #4 were of only one kind: the word Bethpage was changed to Bethphage in the Jesus Papers. The New Testament Greek has the phoneme "ph" and is translated such in modern Bible versions. This would lead us to believe the original pronunciation in Greek was with the "ph" phoneme. However, aspiration of the phoneme in Greek may have sounded more as an English "p" than an "f." This is an example of spelling Christy may have felt was under her control. The spelling was altered to agree with common translation of the Greek New Testament, and hence, what Christy or others may have thought was more correct pronunciation. As Kristen concluded, the evidence suggests the original provided by the midwayers was Bethpage. If so, we do not know their reasons for the difference. Importantly, Christy did not feel under command to preserve the purity of the original. Perhaps she felt it was inconsequential. But her private judgment was at work (late in life). She altered text to adjust it to traditional usage. Perhaps the midwayers had a purpose to the spelling which we cannot now penetrate. (Since the original document was in written form we cannot attribute the difference to oral perception.)
5. GRAMMATICAL: Insignificant grammatical changes were as follows, (printing number, followed by page number and change):
6. HYPHENATIONS: Twenty of the changes in printing #10 were hyphenations (both directions). It appears that someone went through the Papers with an eye to just that problem. There were only seven other hyphenation changes in all other printings. Three of those were missing hyphens at line breaks, strictly a typesetting problem.
7. CAPITALIZATION: Capitalization changes took place in only two printings, eight in #2 and five in #7. In #2 "desert" was changed to "Desert," "ten commandments" to "Ten Commandments," (twice), and "Unrevealed" to "unrevealed." The other four were on page 1321, the title page to Part IV, where capitals were removed from "Midwayers," "Revelatory Director," and "Midwayer." The reason for the last changes is unclear;
they seem quite arbitrary. They took place in the second printing and therefore probably were done under the personal hand of William Sadler. The capitals
on this page were reinstated in the soft-cover printing. In #7 the changes were all on the use of the personal pronoun for Deity, "Him" to "him," and "Himself" to "himself."
Traditional use from centuries past capitalized the pronouns. Only in recent times have the pronouns been spelled with an initial lower case. This appears to be an effort to
stylize to modern standards. As with the altered spelling on Bethpage, these changes raise the question if the text should continue to be modified to follow evolutionary drift
in cultural linguistics.
This difficulty is high-lighted by the King James Version of the Bible. For centuries it was the Christian standard, respected to the point of near worship. About a hundred years ago the desire for more modern text became widespread. Also, many more Greek manuscripts had been found over the intervening centuries which cast light on the text. Many scholars felt the new knowledge should also be incorporated. Then began the preparation of new versions, which eventually resulted in the Revised Standard, the New English Bible, the New International Version, and a proliferation of versions which yield good monetary return to publishing organizations for the best selling book in the world.
The question becomes one of control. Should drift in cultural linguistics be incorporated at the consensus of the general population, at the arbitrary whim of a small closed group, or at the whim of one person?
8. PUNCTUATION: Virtually all punctuation changes were in commas, twenty cases, both removed and added. Three semi-colons were changed to commas. One question mark on page 1795 was changed to a period. The last line on page 890 was lacking a period, again a simple typesetting error. Six other missing periods were added to sentences. Eight of the changes were in printing #2, nine in #3. (In the sentence, "Far to the east they could discern the Jordan valley and far beyond lay the rocky hills of Moab," on page 1363, two commas enclosing the phrase "far beyond" were removed, again an arbitrary decision.)
As far as I can determine, none of the above changes were crucial to understanding or meaning of the text. It should be recognized that Christy and others probably went through the text with careful study of possible alteration of meaning for each change.
9. SPELLING: The number of changes were as follows:
(The soft-cover printing maintained the same word allocations on the same pages as the larger printing, but was reformatted because of the smaller type size. Where a word overflowed from one page to the next it was adjusted to be fully placed on one page or the other.)
10. MISCELLANEOUS: Although not an alteration to text, a word on page 1127 in the last paragraph has created concern. The paragraph begins: "Ethics is the eternal social or racial mirror..." It may be that the word should be "external." There are no such things as "eternal" social or racial mirrors, which are processes of time. "External" would also balance the word "internal" appearing later in the sentence. This challenging word exists for all Foundation printings, including the soft-cover. The Fellowship changed the text in their printing.
On page 1182 "eternal" was substituted for "eternity" in printings #6 through #9. This was an obvious human error in careless reading of Printer's proof pages.
Also in printings #3 through #9 the possessive of Lazarus on page 1842, and in #3 through #10 the possessive of Judas on page 1926, were altered back and forth.
The Greek letter gamma apparently was used in the original document, (page 474), and was transcribed as a capital "Y." It was thus shown in the first printing. This was changed to the word "gamma" in subsequent printings, to avoid confusion. Although this cannot be considered a change in text, merely in symbology, I include mention of it here for the sake of completeness.
I shall return to further analysis of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
|THE IMPORTANT CHANGES|
I shall now examine the remaining changes to note their nature and textual
significance. Except for one, these errors were all detected between 1955
and 1967 and were corrected in the second printing. There were eleven word
changes. The other word change was made in the third printing. The first
eleven had to be done with the personal knowledge and approval of William
Sadler; the last of Christy.
Although I discuss them according to type, and not in sequential order, I shall assign the page numbers for easy reference.
Can changes in words be reduced to rational understanding? What led to the errors in the first place? Why were they corrected? Were they due to errors on the part of the divine Revelators? Can they be justified as human errors?
In attempt to understand the changes I examined each with respect to context, to human psychology, or to other human weakness.
Several of the changes reveal the habits of Christy's mind at work while transcribing the text. These examples show that she
became tired, was influenced by cultural traditions, or perhaps interposed her interpretation of proper text.
In these assessments I assume that the midwayers or other celestial personalities who provided text were not subject to human weakness, and would have had the power to provide exact and perfect text. We are then left with the burden of explaining how the errors crept into the text.
I also assume that Christy was the individual who transcribed the text on typewriter. There were no other members of the Contact Commission who were suitable or properly trained. While the precursor materials which came through the Sleeping Subject were first transcribed in handwriting, and perhaps later by typewriter, they came in small increments, not more than a Paper at a time, over a period of ten years. The actual revelation was an onerous burden, with large groups of Papers appearing at one time. Christy was then faced with this enormous task. She was familiar with office routines, and would not have first transcribed in handwriting, when the originals were in handwriting, and when she was well acquainted with the typewriter. It is highly likely that the task rested solely in her hands. With this immense task she probably wearied, or lost strict attention.
|ERRORS DUE TO HABIT OF MIND|
Page 883: At the bottom of the page the first printing had the red men fighting with their backs to the retreating ice and, when the land passage to the "west" became passable, they fled over the Bering isthmus. This was changed to "east" in all subsequent printings. This appeared to be a logical error, contradicting the context of the account.
How did it enter into the text? Quite likely by error of association. We habitually see the red man in North America. If he were fleeing over the Bering Isthmus the typist might unconsciously fall into the view that the flight was to the west.
Some have argued that the word "west" was used in the formal sense as a location, and not as a geographical direction. If so the word should have been capitalized. But this proposal cannot be tested if the original text was not capitalized. Furthermore, the context suggests that the word was not intended to specify location, conceptually foreign to the discussion. The Fellowship did not alter this word in its printing.
If the original document had "east" it would suggest that Christy felt at ease in making changes to the text by her personal judgment, "on the fly" as it were, as she was transcribing. This illustration offers support for the suggestion that she and the other Contact Commissioners felt free to make changes where they thought errors existed. They had developed a psychology which would permit such alterations.
Page 1943: Jesus could not have made remarks to the "twelve," (second paragraph). Judas had already departed; only eleven remained. This was changed to "apostles" in all later printings. If the original text had "apostles" we might surmise the typist transformed it into "twelve apostles." Then, perhaps, it was further changed to "twelve" through lapse of editing.
On the other hand, if the original text had "eleven," and Christy thought it should be "twelve," she might have edited again "on the fly" while typing. If so, it would illustrate the same freedom of alteration as the preceding example.
Both of these changes suggest that familiarity with the process of revelation did not produce a feeling of holy awe while transcribing the text. It was treated in a very practical manner, as part of a daily common routine.
Page 1317: The sentence in the first printing, "These men of God visited the new born child in the manger," was plainly contradicted by other passages. Joseph was introduced to a well-to-do man who offered his room at the inn. According to the account on page 1351, Joseph, Mary and the child moved to this room the day following the birth, where they remained for almost three weeks, until they found lodgings in the home of a distant relative of Joseph. According to statements on page 1352 the wise men did not find the baby until he was almost three weeks old. Therefore, we do not know if the wise men visited the child when the family was still in the room at the inn, or at the home of the distant relative. But one thing is certain: he definitely was no longer in the stable with "the manger." The phrase "in the manger" was removed from all subsequent printings.
Considerable confusion seems to be attached to the word "manger." Historically, we know of this account only from the Gospel of Luke. The Greek word is from a root which means "to eat," and could denote any construction within the stable that is used to hold animal fodder or grain, a "crib" as well as a "manger." From this association some might believe that the text intended a "baby's crib" but the word "crib" denotes the form of construction, with wooden slats. In a stable the slatted "crib" makes the fodder available to the animals. Corn "cribs" show that corn is contained in slatted structures to provide air circulation. A baby's "crib" has the same purpose. The word "manger" chosen by Bible translators derives from an old French word which means "to eat." The translators believed the container which held Jesus was a box or trough from which the horses or cattle ate grain, not the "crib" which held the hay. A "manger" is permanently attached to the structure of a stable in order that it not be shoved about. It is also placed at some height above the floor for their convenience. It is not large, and would serve ideally to hold a baby, out of the cold drafts of the floor, and out of harms way of people walking around. Only individuals who are unacquainted with barns or stables would suggest that this small trough would be detached from the wooden structure and moved elsewhere to serve as a crib. When Joseph and Mary moved to the greater safety of the room at the inn they no longer had need for the "manger."
The question is how the phrase "in the manger" became included in the text. The New Testament Greek text is plain: it always uses the phrase "lying in the manger." Our traditional notions suggest that somehow the animals, and the shepherds, and the angels, were all gathered about, in holiness, and we build these pleasant myths about how all was peaceful and quiet
"in the manger," where the image of the manger took over the entire stable area. I am certain that if Joseph, Mary and the child had remained in the stable,
the wise men would not have visited him "in the manger." Whether that was the "crib" for the hay, or the trough for the grain, it would have become quite crowded.
But these pleasant myths persist in our minds, as they surely did for William Sadler, Christy, and countless others. Since Christian tradition had the wise men visiting Jesus "in the manger" (instead of "lying in the manger") it was a perfectly natural mistake for Christy to type the extra phrase as she was transcribing the text, strictly out of habit of mind.
This peculiar change again raises the possibility that Christy consciously added the phrase which she thought should be there, again from habit of tradition.
All three of these cases show the possibility of psychological origins, either consciously or unconsciously, in habit of mind causing the typist to alter according to her mental framework.
In all cases it would mean also that Sadler and other members of the family (Contact Commission) depended upon the integrity of Christy's transcription and did not meticulously examine the original text to verify. Upon reading the transcripts (not original document) they may have fallen into the same trap of habit of mind, and simply slid over the errors.
We should remember also that the number of copies permitted for circulation were severely limited, and that they were kept within the confines of 533. Therefore, members of the Forum also did not detect the errors, probably for the same psychological reasons.
This conclusion implies a great faith in Christy's abilities. Sadler was an extremely busy individual and perhaps could not spare the time. How Lena Sadler, Wilfred Kellogg, Anna Kellogg, or others may have fit within the group relationships to assist in verification of text we cannot say.
Of course, why she, or William Sadler, or Lena, or someone else did not catch this mistake when they proofread the typewritten manuscript is difficult to understand. Surely, on something so important, one person would read from the original document while another followed in examination of the transcript. Apparently not.
It may be helpful to note that I found this habit of mind affecting the text elsewhere. In my letter to Martin Gardner dated September 6, 1993 I explained the rules for use of the word "Christ" in The Urantia Papers. This word was never applied to Jesus by the Revelators. Their use of the word were strictly limited to historical or traditional Christian reference, or as a deference to our calendric methods in Anno Domini or Before Christ. Furthermore, the word "Christ" was never applied to Michael except in the compound "Christ Michael."
A crucial reason exists for this restriction on application of "Christ" to Jesus or to Michael. The word "Christ" is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah." They are used in equivalent form in the New Testament. The Urantia Papers are extremely careful to not make Jesus the Messiah, because the Messiah, (the Christ), is our future planetary ruler. That role belongs to Melchizedek, assigned to him by Michael. We are so entrenched in the habit of using the words "Christ" and "Jesus" as equivalent names, or in the form "Jesus Christ," we are unaware of the crucial theological importance of this terminology.
In my exhaustive listing of the uses of the word "Christ" in The Urantia Papers I showed that two cases were in error in the title of Michael. "Christ Michael" is used in thirty-five paragraphs in the Papers. In all cases it uses this phrase to denote his heavenly status enriched by his human experience. But it never uses the simple "Christ" to identify him in his heavenly status. In one case, on page 448, the phrase "... Christ, the victorious Michael..." is used but this can be construed to be equivalent to "Christ Michael."
On page 490 the phrase "Since the triumph of Christ, all Norlatiadek..." is used. On page 1024 the phrase "...it was literally true that Christ did receive provisional title to Urantia..." is also used. These are the only two cases in the entire book in which the name "Christ" is used as equivalent for Michael (Jesus). Both are references to his celestial status, and both violate the rules for application to the one who will be planetary ruler. Therefore, both must be a mistake in transcription. The phrase in both cases should be "Christ Michael." The name "Michael" must have been inadvertently dropped when making the transcription, again strictly through habit of mind out of traditional conditioning.
The fact that the full title "Christ Michael" is used elsewhere shows that Christy was adhering to the revealed text. Whether these two cases were conscious or unconscious errors we shall never know.
I shall now go on to other types of errors.
|SIMPLE TRANSCRIPTION MISTAKES|
Page 486: In the first printing mention was made of a Melchizedek college which was established on Edentia almost four thousand years ago, immediately after Michael's announcement that he had selected Urantia as the world for his final bestowal. According to page 1316 this announcement was made shortly after the default of Adam and Eve. "And thus, for more than thirty-five thousand years, your world occupied a very conspicuous place in the councils of the entire universe." Hence the number on page 486 should be forty, not four. This was a simple transcription mistake. However, it was a logical mistake, and could have been noticed by the many individuals of the Forum who read the manuscript without recourse to a source document.
Does this error, long unnoticed through twenty years of study, tell us anything about the processes and procedures going on within the Forum, and Sadler's attention to fine detail? The constraints of manuscript access may account for the fact that members of the Forum did not detect the error. They just did not have the leisure to study the text in that detail. Members of the Sadler household (Contact Commission) also may have been too busy to devote such intimate study to the text. If so, it would indicate again that the Revelation was merely a part of the routine at 533, without the devotion many of us would now desire. We must keep in mind that the process of the Revelation, from the first beginnings in 1908, through the many years of night sessions with the Sleeping Subject, together with
the view that the phenomenon was merely a unique case of psychology, caused it to be viewed as a purely earthly phenomenon. Even the intimate exchanges between the Contact Commission and the Revelators had become familiar. Everyone in the household had become so accustomed to the process it was merely a part of their daily lives.
Page 413: In this description Andovontia is the name of our tertiary Universe Circuit Supervisor stationed in our local universe. In the first printing he was designated as secondary. Definitions on page 265 state that the Secondary Supervisors operate from the headquarter worlds of the superuniverse, while the Tertiary Supervisors operate from the headquarter worlds of the local universe. Therefore, the first printing had to be incorrect.
This probably was another transcription error, created by Christy as she typed. Working with an assortment of celestial personalities, and with more than one class of beings designated as primary, secondary and tertiary, (supernaphim, seconaphim, mercy reflectors, Lanonandeks, etc.), all prior to this page, she may easily have unconsciously confused the designation.
But again we have confirmation that solid comparison of the transcript against the original document was not done. Again, this error would suggest that the Revelation was merely part of the routine at 533, and did not receive dedicated attention.
Page 3: In the Foreword is a section on DIVINITY. In that section is a list of "perfection in all phases and forms of relativity..." In item #5 the word "other" was removed from "in all manifestations." This appears to have been removed for logical reasons. I can suppose that manifestations cannot be "other" and must be absolute. If the word "other" were used it would cause manifestations to have a secondary dependence upon absolute perfection in direction.
The word "other" may again have been a simple unconscious insertion.
(I personally have considerable difficulty distinguishing among the terms "aspects," "phases," "forms," "respects," and "attributes.")
Page 1849: Just before midnight on Tuesday, April 4, the Sanhedrin voted unanimously for the death of both Jesus and Lazarus, page 1909. The following day, Wednesday, heeding Jesus' advice, Lazarus took hasty flight from Bethany to Philadelphia, pages 1897 and 1927. Jesus was crucified Friday afternoon, page 1997, etc. The statement on page 1849 that Lazarus remained at the Bethany home until the day of the crucifixion of Jesus could not be correct. "Day" was then changed to "week."
The New Testament does not tell us what happened to Lazarus, except that he was with Jesus in Bethany before the latter's entry into Jerusalem. Therefore, we cannot find recourse in a tradition of the events of Passover week.
Can this be assumed to be another simple mistake in transcription, wherein Christy unconsciously substituted "day" for "week," or did she consciously substitute "day" because she
falsely believed Lazarus left the day of the crucifixion? We do not know. If the latter it would mean that she presumed against a divine text. In either case
this change illustrates once again the casual regard and common-place routines of the processes of the Revelation.
Page 608: Now consider a change in numbers of fallen Material Sons. Two passages are relevant.
"Page 581: Since the inception of the system of Satania, thirteen Planetary Adams have been lost in rebellion and default and 681,204 in the subordinate positions of trust."
"Page 608: Of the 681,217 Material Sons lost in Satania, ninety-five per cent were casualties of the Lucifer rebellion."
In the first printing the number on page 608 was 681,227. However, the two numbers on page 581 add to 681,217. Therefore, the number on 608 was reduced in all subsequent printings.
The error probably was due to a simple typographical mistake although, as Kristen pointed out, the internal evidence is not sufficient to say if the error was on page 581 or 608.
The first two of these logical contradictions are different from those assignable simply to habit of mind. There is no basis in habit for adding "other" to an utterly foreign concept, or for having Lazarus leave town any particular day. For these differences we must arrive at some rationale which would explain a clear difference in words. Although we are beginning to develop a picture of the routines and processes associated with the Revelation, we have not yet reached a level which would permit rigorous isolation of these changes.
|THE SCIENTIFIC MISTAKES|
Page 460: The density of a nearby sun was first given as about sixty thousand times that of our sun. After the first printing this was changed to forty thousand.
These numbers cannot be verified from simple calculations based on diameters and masses. Stars have density gradients, with the outer regions much less dense than the inner regions. Assumptions must be made about the location of "average" densities.
If we assume the values given in the text, the mass of the nearby sun began about the same as our sun, at 2 X 10 (to the 27 power) tons. (See page 459. Our scientific estimates are near this value.) If it has contracted to the size of our planet, the relative density should be much greater than either forty or sixty thousand, with calculation based on the original mass, and the diameter of that sun now about the same as the earth's diameter. (The ratio of the densities would be simply the ratio of the cubes of the respective diameters.) Calculation based on the mass of our sun, and the volume of the earth, again gives numbers much greater than the one ton per cubic inch provided in the text. Therefore, it is impossible to determine how the density was derived to make this statement.
From this lack of verification we must assign the mistake to a transcription error. But it is difficult to see how a sixty was substituted for a forty, or how the forty was determined as the correct value unless a reference transcript was available to determine the number in the original.
Page 477: Another mistake exists in the numbers assigned to the sizes and masses of atoms, electrons and protons.
"Each atom is a trifle over 1/100,000,000th of an inch in diameter, while an electron weighs a little less than 1/2,000th of the smallest atom, hydrogen. The positive proton, characteristic of the atomic nucleus, while it may be no larger than a negative electron, weighs from two to three thousand times more."
"If the mass of matter should be magnified until that of an electron equaled one tenth of an ounce, then were size to be proportionately magnified, the volume of such an electron would become as large as that of the earth. If the volume of a proton, eighteen hundred times as heavy as an electron, should be magnified to the size of the 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."
In all printings after the first, the word "less" was changed to "more" in the first paragraph, and the phrase "from two to three thousand times more" was changed to "almost two thousand times more."
Obviously, these changes were more than spelling, typographical errors, or simple substitution.
Two factors enter into the changes. First, internal consistency, and
second, modern scientific measurements. If the mass of a proton is "eighteen
hundred times as heavy" as that of an electron, as stated in the second
paragraph, it could not be "two to three thousand time more," as stated
in the first paragraph. This was a glaring contradiction. Current scientific
estimates place the value at 1,836.
The impression we might receive is that someone had a passing knowledge of the ratio of the masses and might have remembered it as "two to three thousand times more," rather than the precise figure. But why would a direct contradiction exist in the next paragraph?
Could the midwayers have produced such an elemental error? The values were known in 1934. The error could not have been intended to obscure scientific knowledge in advance of discovery.
The additional error of "less" to "more" in the first paragraph accentuates the fact that the errors are solely in that paragraph, not in the following paragraph. Was the entire paragraph humanly created? Given the lack of human attention to the various errors, and the lack of persons familiar with atomic science among the Contact Commission, it seems hardly possible that a human mortal would have taken the time to concentrate on this detail.
Regardless of how the mistake originated, it is obvious once again that meticulous examination of the text was not done. Otherwise, this contradiction would have been detected before publication.
Page 478: At the top of the page appears a statement about nuclear stability as more than 100 electrons are introduced artificially into one atomic system. The result is the "well-nigh" instantaneous disruption of the central "proton," with wild dispersion of the electrons. The hyphenated term "well-nigh" was missing in the first printing.
According to our nuclear explorations, we have been able to artificially create atoms with atomic numbers greater than 100. For example, by 1960 we had created Mendelevium, which had isotopes with radioactive life-times of 0.5 and 1.5 hours. These certainly were not instantaneous disruptions, nor well-nigh instantaneous dispersion of electrons.
A major question before us is why the Revelators would produce scientific statements which were erroneous. If we depended on these statements to guide scientific investigation we would be badly misled. How many other scientific statements, heretofore not verified, are false? It is difficult to penetrate the rationale for such presentation.
Once again we are forced to assess the text internally without recourse to scientific knowledge. Logically, we would not expect any material operation within the universe to be "instantaneous." Time is required to proceed from one state to another. Therefore, it is far wiser to state that a material change transpires "well-nigh instantaneously." This is a logical necessity, fairly obvious to any thinking person and probably detected by someone in the Forum or among the Contact Commissioners.
I shall now examine Kristen's notes included in the Pathway's printing
but not included in the above discussions. They include defects which were
not changed in any printing, but they contribute to our understanding of
the mechanisms of the Revelation, and the human contributions. They may
provide clues to the form of the original document. I show only those defects
which are pertinent to this discussion.
The following tabulation shows the Page number and the category of defect.
124 maltese should be Maltese
266 "No." spelled out elsewhere as "number."
628 "the" should be "these" to clarify meaning
I shall include discussion of these below.
|A GENERAL ASSESSMENT|
We are now in a position to answer several questions. One simple fact
is evident: no word changes were made to the text after the second printing,
except for one in the third. This shows firmly that the integrity of the
text was respected by all other persons associated with the care of the
Revelation, including all later Trustees.
Does this mean a reference document was still being used to verify text between 1955 and 1967 while William Sadler and Christy were both alive? Was that reference document then destroyed?
We can address this question by examination of the types of word changes discussed above.
On pages 883, (east is west), 1943, (twelve apostles), 1317, (the manger), 486, (forty thousand years), 413, (tertiary), 1849 (Lazarus leaves town), and 608 (number of Sons), were changes that could have been made without examination of the transcribed text. They were logical mistakes. The form of the change was forced by the logic. No reference document was required to detect the errors.
The remaining four changes are on 3, (other manifestations), 460, (density of the sun), 477, (nuclear masses), and 478 (instantaneous disruptions). The last three are scientific mistakes. The four cannot be deduced from simple logic, although common sense could have indicated the change on 3 and should have indicated the change on 478. The numerical values of the errors on 460 and 477 have no scientific credentials; the corrections could not have been made with reference against scientific knowledge. Since these last two seem almost arbitrary, without firm foundation, we cannot say that they were not made from someone's hazy memory. In fact, the changes on 477 suggest almost that some human hand played around with the numbers.
In summary, it is highly probable that no reference document existed to make any of the changes, and that the scientific errors were changed arbitrarily by recourse to the memories of William Sadler and Christy. (Or Bill Sadler, Jr. before he died in 1963.)
From this we could infer that Christy's transcription document was destroyed sometime near the date of the first printing, or perhaps before.
One of the leading questions is the form of the document given by the Revelators. Was it a running text without capitalization or punctuation?
The meager evidence suggests so.
It seems natural for a trained secretary to place capitalizations in formal words. Christy not only was a trained secretary; she served in management positions in her employment. She would have been accustomed to proper grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.
The word "maltese," and the indecision of capitalization of the formal names on page 1321, suggest that the original document
was all in lower case. The changes in "desert" to "Desert", "ten commandments" to "Ten Commandments" and "Unrevealed" to "unrevealed," "Ameba" and "amoeba" --
all exhibit indecision as to the proper form.
The uncertainty in hyphenation of words, and the uncertainty in compound words ("enroute" to "en route," "anyway" to "any way," and so on), suggest that Christy depended upon a text that was in unfamiliar format or style.
More substantial evidence exists with the punctuation problems. The insertion and removal of commas, the change from semi-colon to comma, the change of a question mark to a comma, and the addition of periods at the end of sentences (six cases), all indicate difficulty in assessing proper punctuation. What were dependent and independent clauses? Where did sentences end, and others begin? What was a question, or merely a statement?
The grammatical uncertainties may also indicate difficulty in typing from an original document. Why would someone with Christy's considerable experience in the English language have trouble with "between and among," "are and is," "laid and lay," or "whom and who," unless she again made "corrections" "on the fly" as she typed, without taking the time to verify the context. (Although, out of respect for Christy's fallibility, many of us through a lifetime have trouble with these forms.)
Curiously, we have direct evidence in one case. The Greek symbol for "gamma" was used rather than the word. It is highly probable this was the original form. Christy did not have a Greek "gamma" type on her typewriter; she could only substitute the letter "Y."
One other factor can be used to evaluate assignment to purely human cause of the errors. I asked, "Do the four Parts of the Revelation show any preference over one another in terms of human attention to errors?" Or, phrased differently, did one Part receive more attention than another?
The following tabulation show the relative size of the four Parts, the
relative number of respective errors, and the error ratio.
From these numbers we might conclude that Part I received the most attention, to display the least number of errors for its relative size. Part II received the least attention, and Part IV was also less studied. There is sufficient disparity in the numbers to deny their assignment to random chance.
Anecdotes circulate through the Urantia community that Part IV appeared in typewritten form. No documented support exists for this story. Even if it did, we would not know if it appeared without punctuation or capitalization, as in the handwritten documents, thus subject to the same human errors as the other three Parts. The evidence suggests that it was subject to the same errors and had no special advantage in transcription.
In review, I am amazed at the high integrity of the text for such a
large volume. The word changes seem to be entirely human, with the errors
due to lapse of human attention, insertion of human judgment, and alteration
from hazy human memory.
Would any of the word changes vitally affect our recognition of, and dedication to, truth?
No. They are minor details, devoid of any power to impact on the great truths of the Revelation.
Were any of the errors introduced by the printer? Except for possible proof-reading mistakes in printings #6 through #9 we cannot be sure. Otherwise, it would appear not. They are errors due to the hands of the transcriber.
I personally feel there was a psychology of proprietary right to the text. The human caretakers, William Sadler, Christy, or other members of the Contact Commission, felt no need to
report their hand in the details of care of the text. Their attitude was humanly natural for a care that covered more than fifty years. Would any of us have
behaved differently? Unfortunately, this proprietary attitude carried on to later Foundation Trustees, who had no legal, human, or divine authority for such attitude. Most
unfortunately, the proprietary attitude extended beyond control of the text to legal control of the Revelation.
The foregoing analysis shows nothing in the changes which would indicate that the text was produced by human mortals. The small number of errors, and the manner in which they were handled, show attempt to maintain integrity to an original document. The changes do not show arbitrary alterations guided by the wishes of some human author. The human hands at work were acting as though they had a trust. Those mortals were human, and the few errors which crept into the text were purely from their human care.
We should be grateful for their dedication to the integrity of a divine Revelation.