Serenity Prayer in Yale Alumni Magazine

Mon Jul 14 18:49:26 UTC 2008

        I think the evidence shows that prayers and the like were freely
communicated without thought of credit.  Somebody wrote the Serenity
Prayer, and that person, whether Niebuhr or somebody else, received no
credit until 1942 at the earliest.

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Laurence Horn
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: Serenity Prayer in Yale Alumni Magazine

At 2:26 PM -0400 7/14/08, Baker, John wrote:
>         Thanks, Fred.  What the citations show is that the Serenity
>Prayer's initial dissemination did not result from preaching around the

>country generally and is unlikely to have come from use at a seminary.
>It must have been in some medium targeted at prominently placed women.
>Of course, it's possible that Niebuhr spoke before such a group of
>women, perhaps at a YWCA meeting, or that one of his students who heard

>it at the seminary did so.
>John Baker

Indeed, that would seem highly plausible--except for the fact that these
presumably highly moral and ethical students and YWCA officers evidently
all failed to give Neibuhr credit...


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