Urantia Foundation's Index of The Urantia Book

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Urantia Foundation's Index of The Urantia Book

~ This index uses page references that only apply to Urantia Foundation's printings of The Urantia Book from 2008 to the present. ~

Copyright © 2017 Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved.
Second Edition December 2017
ISBN: 978-0-911560-10-7

Preface to the Index of The Urantia Book

The first few printings of The Urantia Book confidently, though somewhat prematurely, referred to an index in the present tense: “An exhaustive index of the Urantia Book [sic] is published in a separate volume.”  Now—several generations later—that statement has been rendered true.

The team, which brought the Index to its present form, expected to conduct only one round of copyediting for spelling and grammar, alphabetization corrections, and link checks. This work, however, has had so many hands on it over so many years, that a deeper revision was required.

The need for standardization soon became apparent as the process of copyediting began. These basics were executed: Spelling was made consistent with treatment in the text of The Urantia Book regardless of modern usage; rules in the current Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) were consistently applied. However, this Index is—and must be, based on the breadth and depth of the work it serves—far more elaborate in its structure and purpose than a typical index covered in CMS; in some respects it is unique. New rules had to be invented for a variety of style issues that arose. This applied not only to small issues such as punctuation, capitalization, and alphabetization, but also to larger ones—for example—what we called the “Big Topics,” which required special structural treatment and presented various internal challenges from the standpoint of consistency. Cross-references also turned out to need more work.

As the review continued—taking several very methodical rounds—our eyes sharpened and became more perceptive of other issues, including missing material, treatment of proper names, “author credits,” and inconsistencies of certain categories across all letters. The list goes on and on.

What had been intended from the start as an “exhaustive” index, we felt obliged to make more so, even though patience was also becoming exhausted. Deadlines were extended and some understandably began to question whether the work would be completed in their lifetime. But we kept faith with the idea that the work not only should be, but could be, finished soon enough for all of us to enjoy. That did mean that some issues had to be left for future editions, so the project may very well be ongoing.

In general, our watchword as we considered decisions as to how to treat certain issues was utility to the user. We hope you agree that this form of common sense has delivered a product which is genuinely useful, however elaborate and comprehensive.

Some characteristic features of the Index appeared to have been there from the start, including a distinctive “voice” which we made a point of preserving. Certain special vocabulary recurring in paraphrases throughout—including references to “the continental nation” and “the Nazareth family”—we took care to retain and to emulate when adding new material. Other features of “voice,” paraphrase, and interpretation, will probably be noticed and appreciated by users just as we did, over time.

In the course of this task, the editing team began to feel a strong sense of mission, of being privileged to contribute to the development of this most important secondary work. We came to suspect that it was no accident that we were available and prepared with the abilities to do the job.

Looking back to the time elapsed since the original promise of an Index, it is clear how time was required to complete the work. Technology, which was not available in the earlier decades, has been crucial for success.

Finally, having had the benefit of decades in which to become familiar with the content and range of subject matter in The Urantia Book—longer than the original Index team of the 1940s and 1950s had—seems to have made a difference in our ability to notice omissions and make descriptions more accurate, and in general to exercise judgment about what to include.

We trust that the original team, as well as all those who have contributed to the work of this Index in the intervening years, would approve of our efforts. We hope you do too!

December, 2017

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