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Detailed Information About the Standard Reference Text

Additional Details about the Standard Reference Text (SRT)


SRT Committee Reports

  • 2009 Table summarizing proposed corrections. Items that were forwarded in 2009 to publishers of The Urantia Book for recommended adoption.
  • 2009 Table listing all corrections. Includes all proposed corrections, including those that were rejected and others that are merely informational.
  • 2009 Final Report. A detailed report representing the outcome of the first convening of the SRT Committee.
  • 2012 Committee recommendations (coming soon)
  • 2015 Committee recommendations (coming soon)
  • 2018 Committee recommendations (coming soon)
  • 2021 Committee recommendations (coming soon)
  • 2024 Committee recommendations (coming soon)
Looking for a higher-level overview?

Below is a condensed summary of the 2009 essay What is the Standard Reference Text? An overview is available that simply lists all adopted corrections.


Urantia Foundation is dedicated to publishing The Urantia Book inviolate and free from errors. Since the book was first published in 1955, editors have made textual corrections to spelling errors and other minor issues. Inadvertent typos have also crept into various printings. It is not surprising to find errors in a text over one million words that originated long before digital word processing and typesetting came into use.

In 2007 Urantia Foundation and Uversa Press formed a joint editorial committee to evaluate and address such concerns. A Standard Reference Text (SRT) Committee, consisting of longtime readers and people with experience in typesetting and printing, was tasked with:

  1. Documenting the differences between the 1955 first edition of The Urantia Book and later printings by both publishers;
  2. Identifying each known correction in the text and determining the nature and purpose of it;
  3. Recommending whether the above should be retained or returned to its original published form;
  4. Standardizing spelling and capitalization;
  5. Reviewing and resolving formatting questions which have been raised over the years;
  6. Examining the book’s Table of Contents and proposing a format consistent with the reasoning used in other text and format issues; and
  7. Proposing a standard reference numbering system for identifying passages within The Urantia Book.

After more than two years of intensive work, these tasks were completed in 2009. The result was the committee’s substantial first report and recommendations to the publishers. This report, its decisions, and proposed referencing system were uniformly adopted by both publishers with the unanimous approval of the Trustees of Urantia Foundation. The resulting text was denominated the Standard Reference Text of The Urantia Book.


The committee’s working philosophy is to recommend only necessary and minor corrections to the “original” 1955 text.

No matter how else a potential issue might be classified, it must represent a true anomaly—something that arrests the attention as being uncharacteristic of the authors. The potential issue must be amenable to solution by positing the operation of ordinary transcriptional or typographical processes, ruling out any issues which, however inconsistent with the known characteristics of the author, could not have come about because of errors arising during the normal processes involved in preparing a work for publication.

In addition to the original 1955 printing, over three dozen external works were used as reference materials to help establish context. Examples include:

  • Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition of 1934 
  • Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) editions in use between 1933 and 1955
  • Oxford English Dictionary of 1933
  • The American Standard Version Bible of 1901

Potential issues in the text were classified using the following system:

  1. Deity pronouns. The 1955 text includes both capitalized and lowercase forms of pronouns referring to Deity, primarily Him/him and His/his. Earlier editors had changed several of the capitalized instances to lowercase, but careful inspection revealed that the 1955 text conformed reasonably to the recommendations of the CMS; all pronoun capitalizations that had been changed over the years were returned to their original 1955 forms.
  2. Other capitalization issues. Geographic names, personal titles, and other general classes of capitalized words were considered on a case-by-case basis. The approach was conservative, inclined strongly toward leaving the word as found in the 1955 edition.
  3. Italics and other formatting issues. These mostly consisted of simple typographical errors where a word in italics had been incorrectly followed by a punctuation mark in regular (Roman) type. There were also a few cases of inconsistent usage of italics.
  4. Number values and formats. Correct formats for numbers, times of day, etc. were generally resolved by reference to the CMS. There were also some items which were inherently more complex.
  5. Compound, hyphenated, or open word forms. Issues concerning hyphenated, open, and closed versions of individual words and word pairs are common in a work of this size. Variances were, whenever possible, resolved by standardizing on the predominant form found in the text.
  6. Spelling and other word form issues. Some words were not spelled consistently in the 1955 edition. Decisions were based on preponderance of usage in the text and the acceptability of the variants. In general, the authors’ preferences were followed provided that the spelling was not otherwise unknown in English. If there was no evidence of preferred usage, the form which had the strongest support in the reference dictionaries was generally selected.
  7. Transliterations. The authors’ preferences were followed if precedents existed in usage elsewhere.
  8. Grammar. Typical instances included sentences with missing short connectives, and correctly spelled words that were incorrectly used because they represented the wrong form of that particular word. In almost every case, the error could be corrected by removing, changing, or adding a single letter.
  9. Phrasing and punctuation. Misplaced and missing commas are typical of this group. Every attempt was made to allow the original to stand if it was reasonable and led to no confusion.
  10. Multiple factors. The most difficult issues embodied several different kinds of problems. An error of this type might be, in the end, diagnosed as a simple spelling, capitalization or punctuation error, even though the perceived problem with the original passage could not be classified in that way. For example, in 102:8.4 the phrase “Ethics is the eternal social mirror” was considered for a typographical error, given that in context the phrase “Ethics is the external social mirror” makes more sense.

Standard Reference Numbering System

The committee developed a standard numeric referencing system which allows readers to locate paragraphs in the book. These numerical references should always be used when quoting from The Urantia Book. The system accurately correlates translations with the English text and is essential for coding electronic book formats.

This notation uses a colon and period to separate paper, section, and paragraph numbers. For example:

  • 3:2.4 — Paper 3, section 2, paragraph 4
  • 42:5–7 — Sections 5 through 7 of paper 42
  • 134:6.2–9— Paragraphs 2 through 9 of section 6 of paper 134
  • 160:1.3–5.8 — The third paragraph of the first section of paper 160 through the eighth paragraph of section five of the same paper.

For the purposes of the referencing system, paragraphs are defined as body text that begins with an indentation of any length, continuing until the beginning of the next indentation or the occurrence of title text (i.e., a new paper or a new section). This definition of “paragraph” may therefore mark as separate paragraphs items that are not genuinely distinct paragraphs (e.g., lines of poetry). However, it is a simple and uniform technique.

SRT Committee Membership

The SRT Committee continues to meet periodically to address its assigned tasks and submit additional recommendations to the publishers. Over 300 items have been considered to date, resulting in over 175 corrections to the 1955 text. The vast majority of typographical issues from the first edition have been discovered and rectified.

Current committee members as of 2024:

  • Marilynn Kulieke, co-chair
  • Merritt Horn, co-chair
  • Marvin Gawryn, project manager
  • Ken Keyser
  • Jay Peregrine
  • Tamara Strumfeld
  • Tim Duffy

Former committee members:

  • Seppo Kanerva
  • Nancy Johnson
  • Larry Watkins
  • David Kulieke