Urantia Book Index

Computer Analysis of Printings of The Urantia Book:
Publisher's Changes, 1955-1999

by Merritt Horn
January 2001

Changes in 42:6.7 through 69:3.9

        I.     Summary of Conclusions for the Impatient Reader
        II.    Scope of Analysis
        III.   Editorial Philosophy
        IV.   Critical Apparatus
                A.        Classification of Editorial Intent for Changes in the Text
                B.        Classification of Errors
                C.        Abbreviations; editions of The Urantia Book
        V.    Changes in Urantia Foundation editions of The Urantia Book (1955-1999)
                        Changes in 0:0.0 through 42:5.1
                        Changes in 42:6.7 through 69:3.9
                        Changes in 71:7.2 through 110:5.2
                        Changes in 117:7.4 through 196:3.29
)               42:6.7;  p.477 ¶1            Change type: M2
        There are two interdependent changes in this paragraph:
(a)   1st:                                   ...an electron weighs a little less than 1/2,000th of the smallest atom,...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         ...an electron weighs a little more than 1/2,000th of the smallest atom,...
(b)   1st:                                   The positive proton...weighs from two to three thousand times more.
        2nd - 15th, CD:         The positive proton...weighs almost two thousand times more.
        [For historical reference, the first discussion of the relative masses of the structural elements of atoms in the Encyclopaedia Britannica is found in its 13th  Edition (1926):
        “Through the experimental discoveries of the second half of the 19th century it became gradually clear that the atoms of the elements, far from being indivisible entities, had to be thought of as aggregates built up of separate particles.  Thus from experiments on electrical discharges in rarified gases and especially from a closer study of the so-called cathode rays, one was led to recognise the existence of small negatively charged particles the mass of which was found to be about 2,000 times as small as the mass of the lightest atom, the hydrogen atom.  These small particles, which may be regarded as atoms of negative electricity are now, following Johnstone Stoney, generally called electrons.  Through the investigations of J. J. Thomson and others convincing evidence was obtained that these electrons are a constituent of every atom...” (Vol. 29 pg. 262)]
        The revised wording is consistent with the statement in the paragraph following the subject paragraph (42:6.8), where the author states that a proton is “eighteen hundred times as heavy as an electron;” and is also in general agreement with current scientific opinion which places the ratio at about 1:1,836.
        If it is assumed that the author of this paper is not the source of the apparent error in the 1955 text, the only mechanism available is an E1 error similar to explanation #2 for the note regarding 41:4.4:  If one erroneously interpreted the electron : proton ratio of 1:1,800 as being slightly less than 1/2,000, one might view an original (inferred) passage that was synonymous with the 1967 version as being in error, and suggest those changes in wording which are found in the 1955 text—which then had to be un-done once the erroneous correction was recognized.
        There is no direct evidence that this was the actual mechanism for the origin of this error, but            if the authors were prone to mathematical clumsiness, and the quality of the text was due to excellent mathematical editing, The Urantia Book would not contain the flaw under discussion, but would contain a number of errors that simply could not have been found without computers.  (For instance, the calculation of the days and dates in the Jesus papers was virtually impossible until a few years ago, but now, anyone with a good calendar program can go back to the years a.d.1 - a.d.30 and find that every day associated with a date was calculated correctly somehow by someone during the 1930’s.*)  If, however, the authors were far better mathematicians than the editors, we might observe precisely what we do observe: one or two errors caused by the well-intentioned editorial misinterpretation of proximate data.
        (*The apparent miscalculation of Pentecost is a separate issue that will be analyzed in a forthcoming paper.)
        The 1955 text is incorrect.  This editor’s best explanation, at present, is an E1 change, apparently involving several words, made prior to publication to correct what was believed to be an earlier human error.
)               42:7.7;  p.478 ¶1            Change type: M3
        1st:                                   ...the instantaneous disruption of the central proton...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         ...the well-nigh instantaneous disruption of the central proton...
        The insertion of  well-nigh was perhaps made because the observed deterioration of the known man-made elements with atomic numbers above 100, while extremely rapid, is not instantaneous—if by that description one means that such elements would have half-lives of zero.  However:
        a) Given the time-frame within which a Mighty Messenger (the author of Paper 42) views reality, the phraseology hardly requires correction even if the sentence is to be understood as just described.
        b) It is not self-evident that the “disruption of the central proton” is identical with the nuclear deterioration which we measure in terms of half-lives.  The central proton’s disruption might be the immediate cause for the rapid, though not instantaneous, decay which our scientists observe.
        c) The procedure described by the paper’s author which leads to the disruption—the insertion of an additional electron into the orbital field of an element that already contains 100 electrons—is itself distinct from the methods whereby transuranium elements are created by our scientists, which involve the insertion of additional particles into the atomic nucleus by various means.
        d) It is of interest to note that (laboratory-scale creation of minuscule quantities—no more than a few thousand atoms—of short-lived, heavier elements notwithstanding), the heaviest element ever created during the large-scale matter/energy conversions/interactions of either nuclear reactors or underground nuclear explosions has consistently been an isotope of fermium (the 100th element)—an unexpected fact for which our scientists have found no ready explanation since the early 1960s when this phenomenon was first observed.
        Thus, the editorial decision to introduce well-nigh into the text was unwarranted—being unnecessary at best, and scientifically incorrect at worst.
        Current science does not require alteration of the 1955 text (even if, for the sake of argument, such a change were within the editor’s province).
)               43:1.6;  p.486 ¶5            Change type: M2
        1st:                                   ...established almost four thousand years ago, immediately after...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         ...established almost forty thousand years ago, immediately after...
        The second edition correction appears to be warranted based on a reference at 119:7.2:
“The public announcement that Michael had selected Urantia as the theater for his final bestowal was made shortly after we learned about 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.”
        The default occurred about 37,800 years ago, so “almost forty thousand” and “more than thirty‑five thousand” would seem to be equally reasonable descriptions.
        While the original reading could have been caused by a T2/T3 typing error, the words don’t really fit that type of error very well.  Another possibility is that an (E1) incorrect pre-publication edit was made by mistakenly associating the establishment of the college with the time of Machiventa’s bestowal (4,000 years ago).
        It is this editor’s opinion, however, that the problem is identical in origin to that of 41:4.4: the number in question was written as a numeral in the manuscript (40,000 not forty thousand), and that the error was caused by the loss of a zero before the number was formatted into words for printing.  (The proper formatting of words and numbers is precisely the type of editorial decision that the revelators could give to the humans preparing the form of the text for printing without giving those humans any authority to change any of the content of the text.)  If this theory is correct, this is a simple T1 (dropped keystroke) error, disguised by the later change in formatting of the number.
        The 1955 text is incorrect;  it should read forty thousand.  There are several possible causes, this editor favors a T1 (dropped keystroke) error based on the theory that the manuscript contained numerals rather than written-out numbers.
)               43:8.2;  p.494 ¶1            Change type: S2
        1st:                                   While you are rekeyed each time...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         While you are re-keyed each time...
        The only other occurrence of re-keyed  is in hyphenated form (48:2.14).
        Words formed with the “re-” prefix, fall under the same general Chicago Manual rule referred to for (29:4.27) above, but this instance is covered by an exception:
        “a) When the first vowel of the added word would...suggest mispronunciation, the hyphen is retained.”
        In this case, the un-hyphenated form appears to indicate that the first syllable is pronounced with a short e, causing the reader to stumble.  Insertion of the hyphen resolves the problem.
        There was an error of either type T1 (dropped keystroke) or type E2 (incorrect editorial decision regarding hyphenation) in the 1995 text.
)               44:0.1;  p.497 ¶1            Change type: P2
        1st:                                   ...divisional and universe headquarters worlds, may be found...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         ...divisional and universe headquarters worlds may be found...
        Although the comma in the first edition is optional, it is not ungrammatical.
        The 1955 text required no modification.
)               46:1.8;  p.520 ¶4            Change type: P2
        1st, 2nd, 12th - 15th, CD:           ...but it is not dependent on them; worlds like Jerusem...
        3rd - 11th:                                 ...but it is not dependent on them, worlds like Jerusem...
        The replacement of the original semicolon by a comma was erroneous.  The semicolon is the correct choice for joining two independent clauses.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               46:5.18;  p.526 ¶0          Change type: D1
        1st, 2nd, 6th - 15th, CD:             ...it is among the more recent constructions.
        3rd - 5th:                                   ...it is among the more recent constructions  [missing period]
        This is one of the minor errors that entered the database when the original plates were first discarded.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               47:0.2;  p.530 ¶2            Change type: D1
        1st, 2nd, 6th - 15th, CD:             ...of the finaliter corps assigned to Satania.
        3rd - 5th:                                   ...of the finaliter corps assigned to Satania  [missing period]
        This is one of the minor errors that entered the database when the original plates were first discarded.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               47:0.4;  p.530 ¶4            Change type: M1
        1st - 6th:                            The seven mansion worlds are in charge of the morontia supervisors...
        7th - 15th, CD:          The seven mansion worlds are in the charge of the morontia supervisors...
        This was an unnecessary edit, as the phrase in charge of may be employed either actively (“...the morontia supervisors in charge of the mansion worlds...”) or passively (“...the mansion worlds in charge of the morontia supervisors...”).  Although the former is more common today, the latter construction would not have appeared awkward for any reader of English before the mid-twentieth century; even now, no reasonable reader could claim a basis for confusion unless the author has used the phrase in an inappropriate setting—when the priority of the related parties is not self-evident.  The underlying relationship between the parties, here and at the other instances of this construction in the text (46:5.17; 73:7.4; 183:4.4; 187:6.2), is clear; so the authors’ choice of words was correct, unambiguous and reasonable.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               49:3.3;  p.563 ¶6            Change type: D1/P2
        1st, 2nd, 12th - 14th, CD:           ...meteorites enter the atmosphere of Urantia daily, coming in...
        3rd - 11th, 15th:                         ...meteorites enter the atmosphere of Urantia daily coming in...
        The comma in the original sentence is correctly utilized to separate the beginning independent phase from the trailing dependent phrase.  The comma’s location at the end of a line makes it a likely candidate for inadvertent loss when the text was translated from the original plates—a D1 change—but does not explain its later disappearance in the 15th printing.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               51:6.3;  p.587 ¶1            Change type: S5/S6
        1st - 5th, CD:            ...situated not far‑distant still another and older headquarters...
        6th - 15th:                  ...situated not far distant still another and older headquarters...
        There is no basis for removing the hyphen.  Far-distant in any structural setting is a single concept.  The only un-hyphenated instance of these two words in the text (94:5.6) bears no grammatical relationship to this construction and is very closely related to all of the hyphenated examples.  That one case cannot therefore be used as a justification for this change and is itself a reasonable candidate for editorial standardization.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               52:6;  p.597            Change type: S2
        1st:                                   6. URANTIA’S POST-BESTOWAL AGE
        2nd - 15th, CD:         6. URANTIA’S POSTBESTOWAL AGE
        The un-hyphenated form is more commonly found in the text, but the original form is appropriate at this location (as a section title) because of its parallelism with the titles of sections two through five and seven of this paper. Only standardization for electronic search might justify the change (which would require the alteration of section five's title as well).
        There was no error in the 1955 text, but standardization for electronic search, if universally applied, might justify a change.
)               53:5.2;  p.605 ¶6            Change type: P2
        1st - 10th, 12th - 15th, CD:...the two which preceded it there was no absolute...
        11th:                                         ...the two which preceded it, there was no absolute...
        Although a comma here might assist in phrasing, there is no need to insert one.
        The 1955 punctuation is reasonable.
)               53:7.8;  p.608 ¶4            Change type: M2
        1st:                                   Of the 681,227 Material Sons lost in Satania,...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         Of the 681,217 Material Sons lost in Satania,...
        The change from 681,227 to 681,217 was,  presumably, made because of the following passage:
“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.” (51:1.5)
        It does appear that one of the numbers is in error, but whether 681,227 should be reduced by ten or 681,204 should be increased by ten cannot be determined from the text.  The cause of the error in the first edition is almost certainly a single mistaken keystroke (T3).
        There was an T3 error made at some point but insufficient contextual evidence makes it impossible to reconstruct the original.
)               54:6.10;  p.620 ¶2          Change type: P2
        1st - 10th, 12th - 15th, CD:         At least I was not even when I had thus attained...
        11th:                                                 At least I was not, even when I had thus attained...
        Though this comma may help the reader in phrasing the sentence, in the absence of compelling evidence that the extant text is a corrupted version of the original, the editor is not justified in superimposing his own preferences over the author’s choice of expression.
        The 1955 punctuation is acceptable.
)               55:2.8;  p.624 ¶2            Change type: D1
        1st, 2nd, 11th - 15th, CD:           ...not yet occurred according to my observation.
        3rd - 10th:                                 ...not yet occurred according to my observation  [missing period]
        This is one of the minor errors that entered the database when the original plates were first discarded.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               55:7.4;  p.632 ¶3            Change type: D1
        1st - 5th, 12th - 15th, CD:   ...settledness for one millennium of system time,...
        6th - 11th:                                  ...settledness for one millenium of system time,...
        The loss of the second n in the sixth printing was probably due to an unnoticed database corruption.  The likelihood that this is the source of the problem is increased by the fact that in the first through eleventh editions, the text flow caused millennium to be broken after the first n, with the remaining letters moving to the following line.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               55:12.5;  p.636 ¶6          Change type: S5
        1st, 2nd:                             None of us entertain a satisfactory concept...
        3rd - 15th, CD:         None of us entertains a satisfactory concept...
        This change was apparently made under the misconception that, because of their semantic similarity, none and no one share the same syntax.  However, both Webster’s and the OED attest that none, commonly takes a plural verb.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               57:8.18;  p.662 ¶5          Change type: D1
        1st, 2nd, 12th - 15th, CD:           ...and to regulate its flow, as is disclosed...
        3rd - 11th:                                 ...and to regulate its flow as is disclosed...
        The removal of this comma, located originally at the end of a line, was probably inadvertent, one of many similar problems arising in the 3rd printing.
        The 1955 text is correct.
)               61:3.13;  p.697 ¶8          Change type: S3
        1st:                                   Weasels, martins, otters, and raccoons...
        2nd - 15th, CD:         Weasels, martens, otters, and raccoons...
        A single mistaken keystroke (T3 error) could have produced martins from an intended martens.  It is also possible, however,  that the original form was the author’s choice, being a correct, though less common, variant. (We cannot assert that the author would not use an unusual variant, because coons was used for raccoons only two pages previously. (61:2.7; p.695 ¶5))
        Inasmuch as martin is not found in any other context (e.g. purple martin), there is no need to change the spelling to improve the accuracy of the electronic database.
        Unless it is the policy of an editor to standardize all of an author’s spellings to the most common variant, the best course of action, if it is believed that the reader will need assistance with unusual words, is to create a comprehensive cross-reference.
        The 1955 text might contain a T3 error, but requires no change.
)               69:3.9;  p.774 ¶8            Change type: S2
        1st - 9th, 12th - 14th, CD:           ...the flint flakers and stonemasons...
        10th, 11th, 15th:                                 ...the flint flakers and stone masons...
        The original is clear, and is a correct form, but of nine occurrences in the text this is the only instance in which the compound form is found; this change would therefore be a reasonable standardization of the database.

        It is likely that the 1955 text contained a dropped keystroke (T1) error here.

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