Some time ago I was shopping for homeschooling resources on the internet. I happened to come across a warning on one bookseller’s website that many so-called “unabridged” modern copies of the classics are really, in fact, “abridged” versions. I can now testify from personal experience that this is correct.
I recently purchased a “complete and unabridged” used copy of Robinson Crusoe from a local store and compared that copy to the PDF version I have as part of the Puritans’ Home School Curriculum. The used copy was published in 1993. Since I know there is absolutely no “conspiracy” against Christianity at any level of our society, I decided to search for the terms “Bible” and “Jesus” on my PHSC copy and compare the results to the used copy.
The first discrepancy came in Chapter X of the used copy where I discovered that two paragraphs mentioning Jesus had been removed from the text. After that, I found other discrepancies, although it is hard to pinpoint them exactly. This is due to the fact that the two copies diverge so much from the first ten chapters that it was hard to line them up against each other. All I can say for certain is that the used copy appears to have been seriously rearranged and was missing pages and even entire chapters. The missing pages and chapters were those specifically referring to God, the devil, Jesus, and salvation.
The difference in the two texts may or may not be innocent. However, if you have a particular version of a particular story in mind for your students to study, you will have to check even the “unabridged” versions to see if they contain the text you have in mind. It would be helpful if publishers indicated which version of a text they are publishing where different versions exist!