Second Miler Grant Program - Byron Belitsos
Byron Belitsos proposed to edit and publish an anthology of scholarly essays aboutThe Urantia Book to be entitled Reason and Revelation. This is the full title:
Reason and Revelation
An Anthology of Scholarly Writings about The Urantia Book
“Reason and Revelation” is especially targeting practicing scholars and serious researchers who are relatively new to the revelation; this unique anthology does not assume prior knowledge of the text of The Urantia Book. It is also aimed at deep thinkers, of any sort, hoping to expand their appreciation for The Urantia Book’s relevance to contemporary thought. In addition to introducing academics and critical thinkers to The Urantia Book within a scholarly context, “Reason and Revelation” is also designed as an introductory textbook for use in university classrooms, especially in fields such as religious studies, philosophy, theology, history, and general humanities.
Like the Urantia revelation itself, this anthology is interdisciplinary. Reason and Revelation will be divided into four parts: general studies, origin and influence studies, religion and spirituality, and philosophy and theology. A preliminary outline can be found below.
Some contributors will contribute existing materials already published in periodicals such as The Fellowship Herald, but in almost all cases they will need to revise their essays for a non-Urantia-Book reading audience.
Not all authors covered in the anthology are “reader-believers,” but most are advanced students of The Urantia Book. Several are deceased. Some authors have chosen to write under pseudonyms. The anthology prioritizes veteran Urantia Book students who are practicing scholars and university level teachers; the second priority group are scholars and thinkers who have written balanced and fair-minded interpretations of The Urantia Book, but don’t believe in it. The third set of essayists we have sought are careful thinkers who may or may not be Urantia Book believers. One contributor is a Catholic priest and monastic.
Byron is still seeking submissions, which may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Byron was motivated to create this anthology of essays to fill a gap he found when looking for scholarly sources on The Urantia Book to support his academic argument about its theology, while he was a student recently at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, which is part of Columbia University. Columbia University has one of the largest libraries in the world and he found no scholarly books or articles on The Urantia Book revelation. Byron wants to ensure that future scholars have scholarly references they can find regarding The Urantia Book. He has already published a book with concepts from The Urantia Book titled Your Evolving Soul.
Byron is seeking an academic publisher for the anthology. If such a publisher cannot be found, the manuscript will be published by Origin Press, an award-winning publishing house founded in 1996 by Byron. The Urantia Book Fellowship Second Miler Grant Program is providing seed money for this project but the anthology still requires additional funding which is being actively sought.
PART I: GENERAL STUDIES
“Sixty-Four Original Urantia Book Concepts”—William Sadler, MD
Sadler (1875–1969) was a polymath, physician, and pioneering psychiatrist who studied with Freud in Vienna and taught pastoral theology for decades at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He was the author of innumerable popular as well as academic texts, including The Physiology of Faith and Fear (1923) and Theory and Practice of Psychiatry (1936). The leader of the original Contact Commission, he assembled the first set of readers of the text, known as the Forum; oversaw the original publication of the Urantia Papers; and was the leading figure of the Urantia movement until his death in 1969.
“The Urantia Book: A Divine-Human Partnership”—Barbara Newsom
PART II: ORIGIN AND INFLUENCE STUDIES
“The Forum and the Origin of the Urantia Papers”—Sioux Oliva, PhD
Oliva was a long-time student of The Urantia Book, but her scholarship led her to a skeptical position about some of its revelatory claims. Sioux has a PhD in American History from the University of Southern California.This scholarly essay is excerpted from her 2014 book, Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book: A History of a Spiritual Revelation in the 20th Century.
Some Human Sources of The Urantia Book—(editor to be determined)
The authors of The Urantia Book acknowledge that they drew from human sources, especially the Bible, in presenting new revelatory concepts that build on prior traditions. Matthew Block, the world’s premier scholar concerning this topic, has revolutionized scholarly study of the text of The Urantia Book because of his discovery of several hundred human sources. This section provides sample excerpts from some of his numerous essayson these sources and their purported use by the revelators. Block did graduate work in theology at the Divinity School at the University of Chicago.
“Revelatory Mouthpiecing”— Zechariah Mann, PhD (pseudonym)
“Cultural Influence of the Urantia Movement in the Music Industry” (unconfirmed, title TBD)—Michael MacIsaac, MA
PART III: RELIGION AND SPIRITUALITY
“The Urantia Book and Religious Studies”—Meredith Sprunger, PhD
“Creating a Philosophy of Spiritual Living”—Jeff Wattles, PhD
Wattles is a graduate of Stanford and Northwestern, an emeritus professor of philosophy at Kent State University, and acclaimed academic author of two books on the philosophy of religion, including Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Golden Rule (Oxford University Press, 1996).
“Apostle Paul and the Urantia Revelation: The Question of Mystery Cult Influence”— Zechariah Mann, PhD (pseudonym)
“Urantia Book Deviations from Traditional Christian Doctrine”—Meredith Sprunger, PhD
See author biography above.
“The Afterlife and Conditional Immortality in The Urantia Book”— Rev. James Thomas (pseudonym)
Reverend Thomas, a Catholic priest, is a long-time resident of a Catholic monastery.
“The Urantia Revelation and the Problem of Theodicy”—Byron Belitsos, M.A.
This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book, Integral Theodicy (Wipf & Stock, 2022). See author biography above.
“Interview: A Lutheran Theologian Encounters The Urantia Book”—Ted Peters, PhD and Byron Belitsos.
This chapter presents the edited transcript of an interview with Ted Peters, emeritus professor of systematic theology and ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California at Berkeley. He is author of numerous books and several hundred essays, and is best known for his books God—The World’s Future: Systematic Theology for a New Era (Fortress Press, 2015) and co-edited The Gift of Grace: The Future of Lutheran Theology (2004).