Friday, July 11, 2008

The Serenity Prayer

New York Times
11 July 2008

Serenity Prayer Stirs Up Doubt: Who Wrote It?


Generations of recovering alcoholics, soldiers, weary parents, exploited workers and just about anybody feeling beaten down by life have found solace in a short prayer that begins, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change."

Now the Serenity Prayer is about to endure a controversy over its authorship that is likely to be anything but serene. [...]

[Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr claimed he wrote the prayer sometime in the 1940s, but Fred Shapiro, a law librarian at Yale, has found versions of it going as far back as 1936.]

Yale Alumni Magazine
July/August 2008

Who wrote the Serenity Prayer?
The inspiring text -- long attributed to an eminent theologian -- may have deeper roots than we thought.

by Fred R. Shapiro
[Elisabeth Sifton's response follows Shapiro's article.]