Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dogma, Dogmas and Dogmatics: As Explained by T.F. Torrance

Thomas F. Torrance, “Karl Barth and the Latin Heresy,” Scottish Journal of Theology 39 (1986): 467-8.
“…Karl Barth sought to develop a distinctive kind of dogmatics in which constant account is taken of the fact that it is none other than the Lord God himself who meets us in Revelation. By his very nature revealed to us in Jesus Christ God encounters us as he who is infinitely greater than we can ever conceive, who transcends all our theological formulations, but who nevertheless actually gives himself as the object of our knowledge in Christ. This is not to say that our knowledge of God is false because it is inadequate to his nature, but rather that inadequacy of this kind belongs to its essential truth in pointing away from itself to the ultimate Truth of God. Hence in order to be really faithful to God as he has revealed himself, dogmatics must build recognition of its own inadequacy into its basic structure. It must never lose sight of the fact that even when God makes himself known to us, his Truth retains its own boundless mystery, majesty and wholeness, in virtue of which it far outreaches the creaturely limits of human thought and speech. This is why Barth felt constrained to draw a clear distinction between dogma and dogmas. In dogma the theologian is concerned with the fundamental Datum of divine Revelation, the one source and norm of all our knowledge of God, to which it points and by which it is judged. Dogma is not itself the Truth of God’s Revelation, but the unformalisable intuitive recognition of it evoked in us by Revelation, and which implicitly exercises a regulative force in all faithful attempts to give our understanding of Revelation explicit formulation in dogmas. In this sense dogma constitutes the informal base upon which all formal accounts of our knowledge of God rest, and from which they cannot be cut off without becoming theologically empty and meaningless. Everything would go wrong, however, if it were thought that dogma could be reduced to explicit formalisation in dogmas, for that would imply that dogmatic formulations of the faith are to be regarded as transcriptions or even constitutions of its essential substance. It was in rejecting any such idea that Karl Barth insisted that dogmatics is the science of dogma, not that science of dogmas.”
If you want to dig around in Barth for the material that Torrance is riffing off of, look in paragraphs 1 and 7 in Church Dogmatics 1.1, and in paragraphs 25-27 in CD 2.1. The CD 1.1 material deals more with dogmatics as a science, and its method, while the CD 2.1 material deals with the knowledge of God.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Announcing the Second Annual Karl Barth Blog Conference

It is my distinct pleasure to announce that a second Karl Barth Blog Conference is in the works here at DET, to be held in the early weeks of June, 2008.

The first conference was, at least by my standards, a resounding success. A number of people from within and without the blogging community came together to write two weeks worth of posts on chapters from Barth’s Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century, site stats indicated that there were many people dropping by to spend considerable amounts of time reading the material, and – best of all – some of those readers left comments. My hope is that the 2008 conference will generate even more discussion.

The topic for the conference will be Eberhard Jüngel’s God’s Being is in Becoming: The Trinitarian Being of God in the Theology of Karl Barth. The projected schedule is as follows:

  • Day 1 – “Introduction,” by WTM; with an introductory discussion entitled "And Never the Twain Shall Meet...: Theology Meets Philosophy in Jüngel's Work," by Jon Mackenzie.

  • Day 2 – “The Passion of God: Some Questions for Jungel on Divine Suffering,” by Scott Jackson; Response by Matthew Bruce.

  • Day 3 – “A Still Greater Historicity: Hegel, Jüngel, and the Historicization of God's Being,” by Halden Doerge; Response by Adam Steward.

  • Day 4 – “Minor Premise: Incipient Theological Ethics in God's Being is in Becoming,” James Cubie; Reponse by Shane Wilkins.

  • Day 5 – “God's Objectivity: Revelation as Sacrament in Jüngel's 'God's Being is in Becoming'” by Thomas Adams; Response by Chris TerryNelson.

  • Day 6 – “Demythologizing the Divide between Barth and Bultmann: Jüngel's Gottes Sein ist im Werden as an Attempt toward a Rapprochement between Karl and Rudolf,” by David Congdon; Response by Luke.

Call for Papers

As you can see from the projected schedule above, there remain a number of opportunities for official participation. There is one plenary post slot still available – please e-mail me with proposals (derevth at gmail dot com). In addition to the plenary posts, I would like to have official respondents. These respondents will be given early access to the plenary post in question so that they can prepare a response, which will be posted beneath the plenary material. This is intended as a kickoff to further engagement in the comments. If you are interested in one of these slots, please let me know in the comments of this thread. An official response should be 500-1000 words.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Some Uncharacteristic Triviality

Well my dear readers of DET, I am finally almost free of the Fall 2007 semester here at PTS – my first as a PhD student. This morning will be given over to putting the finishing touches on the last of my papers, and then I will turn my attention to some grading that I am responsible for. I don’t care what anyone else tells you, I’d take grading a giant mound of uninspired essays any day of the week (and twice on Sundays) over being forced to write a paper in far too little time. On that score, lets just say I’m not looking forward to the end of the Spring 2008 semester…

In view of things wrapping up, I thought that I would honor a meme tag coming from my friend Erik.

  1. One book that changed my life: Karl Barth’s Evangelical Theology: An Introduction. This was the first Barth I read and it was an important catalyst in establishing me in my current theological interests.

  2. One book that you have read more than once: There are so many to choose from. Let’s shake it up a bit and say The Lord of the Rings.

  3. One book you would want on a desert island: Erik said that he would want the whole Chronicles of Narnia so I’m going to pick a series as well - Harry Potter.

  4. Two books that made you laugh: David Bentley Hart’s Beauty of the Infinite (he has some real hum-dinger phrases in there, especially when describing other people’s work!) and Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians (his understanding of the young student of theology is so accurate that all one can do to protect oneself is laugh).

  5. One book that made you cry: Nothing comes to mind in terms of books, so I’ll just name a couple movies that make me cry: Gladiator and Godfather 3.

  6. One book you wish you'd written: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. I wish my writing was better, and it would have to be if I had penned this volume.

  7. One book you wish had never been written: Erik’s answer is good enough for me.

  8. Two books you are currently reading: I’m only reading one at the moment – Christiphe Chalamet’s Dialectical Theologians: Wilhelm Herrmann, Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann.

  9. One book you've been meaning to read: Eleonore Stump’s Aquinas.

  10. Tag five people: Um, no. I’ll take two: Scholasticus and theklines. Of course, anyone else who reads this meme here at DET and wants to play along is free to consider themselves tagged as well.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Webster on Bonhoeffer and Reading Scripture

John Webster, Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 81-2.

[Bonhoeffer possesses in his middle period] a distinctive conception of the nature of Holy Scripture, one which has already been moved beyond that presupposed in the exegetical work of Creation and Fall, above all because Bonhoeffer now assumes the perspicuity of Scripture. Scripture’s perspicuity renders redundant the somewhat cumbersome technicalities of the philosophy of existence which burden the exposition of the early chapters of Genesis. What Bonhoeffer contests is the assumption that Holy Scripture is inert until realised by interpretive acts of ‘making present’. ‘True making present’ requires no ‘act of making present’; rather, it is a matter of ‘the question of the Sache’, of the text itself. Issues of interpretation are subservient to issues of the matter of the text, namely Jesus Christ who here announces his presence. ‘When Christ comes to speech in the word of the New Testament, there is “making present”. Not where the present puts forward its claim before Christ but where the present stands before Christ’s claim, there is “making present”.’ …Bonhoeffer argues that the human present is not determined by ‘a definition of time’ but by ‘the word of Christ as the Word of God’. ‘The concretissimum of the Christian message and of the exposition of texts is not a human act of “making present”, but is always God himself, in the Holy Spirit.’

There is a direct consequence here for the task of interpretation which shapes very profoundly the biblical writings of this period of Bonhoeffer’s life. Christian proclamation becomes relevant through Sachlichkeit, that is, through being ‘bound to Scripture’. The ‘matter’ of the New Testament is Christ present in the word; he, not I, is the proper logical subject of Vergegenwärtigung, and so the making present of the text is nothing other than Auslegung des Wortes. Crucially, this means that the task of establishing relevance is not pre- or post-exegetical; on the contrary, exegesis itself performs this task, and does so because the textual word which is the concern of exegesis is Christ’s address to church and world in the potency of the Spirit. That word is not as it were waiting on the fringes of the human present, hoping somehow to be made real; it announces itself in its own proper communicative vigor.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bethge on Bonhoeffer’s First Trip to the United States

Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Man of Vision, Man of Courage (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), 104-5.

The reader should remember that Bonhoeffer completed his habilitation thesis (Act and Being) in the early months of 1930, having completed his doctoral thesis (Sanctorum Communio) in 1927. The trip to the United States here discussed followed upon his habilitation.
The idea of spending a year in America as an exchange student arose in the second half of 1929…Nevertheless he hesitated before putting in his application. He mistrusted what awaited him in America. The New World in itself did not fascinate him sufficiently. Was he to become a student again and devote a whole year to whatever place might be allotted him? He was told something about American ‘textbook methods’; and he regarded American theology as non-existent.

So he sought information from a previous recipient of an American grant, and what he was told was not exactly encouraging. One indeed had to go as an ordinary student, subject oneself to the ‘credit system’, and accumulate the required number of points by attending lectures and seminars and receiving satisfactory reports; agreement to this was insisted on by the American consulate before it granted a visa. To prevent him from being excessively disappointed as a result of his German ideas of academic freedom, his informant advised him to imagine the atmosphere of a German secondary school. In his field of systematic theology there was of course nothing to learn. The only place that was worth while was Union Theological Seminary in New York, which had a great many other things to offer, but he might well be allotted a place at Hartford or St. Louis; seventeenth-century orthodoxy still prevailed even at Princeton, so his German informant told him. He was advised to postpone going to America until he could go there as a professor.

He hesitated, but at the beginning of May, when he was assured of a place at Union Theological Seminary, he did so no longer.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 3.8-9

1 Peter 3.8-9

[8] Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. [9] Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.



This section is another fine exhibition of Calvin’s love of brevity: these two verses are given less than two pages of comment. Calvin understands these verses, coming as they do after a long list of advice and admonishments to various types of people, to be “general precepts which indiscriminately belong to all.” Furthermore, these things are “especially necessary to foster friendship and love,” something that was always at the forefront of Calvin’s mind even though many people have a rather different stereotype of him.

What Calvin has to say about being like-minded is interesting in that he affirms that “friends are at liberty to think different” but also says that “to do so is a cloud which obscures love; yea, from this seed easily arises hatred.” I don’t know quite what to do with this except to chalk it up to dialectic – we are to seek a balance between utter freedom of thought and utter conformity of thought.

Another point that Calvin makes strongly has to do with being humble. He calls humility
“the chief bond to preserve friendship, when every one thinks modestly and humbly of himself; as there is nothing on the other hand which produces more discords than when we think too highly of ourselves. Wisely then does Peter bids us to be humble-minded…lest pride and haughtiness should lead us to despise our neighbors.”
Finally, Calvin sums these verses up nicely when he writes
“Peter teaches us in general, that evils are to be overcome with acts of kindness. This is indeed very hard, but we ought to imitate in this case our heavenly Father, who makes his sun to rise on the unworthy.”

Monday, January 07, 2008

Philippians 4.1-9: A Sermon

I preached this sermon over two years ago, but I was reminded of it recently and thought that I would post it.


Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long for, my cause for joy and my reason for boasting, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. (2) I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to agree with one another in the Lord. (3) Indeed, I ask you also loyal fellow-worker , help these women who have shared my struggle in the gospel, together also with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (4) Rejoice in the Lord always – I will say it again: Rejoice! (5) Let all people know your kindness. The Lord is near. (6) Worry in no way, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, disclose your requests to God. (7) And God’s peace, which is more valuable than all reason, will hold your desires and your thoughts prisoner in Christ Jesus. (8) As for the rest, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy, whatever is conforming to the will of God, whatever is innocent, whatever is pleasing, whatever is worthy of praise, if there is any moral excellence and if any praiseworthy thing - take these things into account. (9) Also, those things that you learned and received and heard and saw by me - do these things; and the God of peace will be with you.


How many of you have ever watched the Christian station called Trinity Broadcasting Network – TBN – on cable TV? My wife thinks I’m crazy, but I love to watch TBN. The preachers on TBN are so intense in their preaching that you can get tired just watching them. I grew up with generally sedate, exegetical preaching, and preachers on TBN are like something out of a different world for me. I think that Paul would be on TBN if he was around today. Don’t get me wrong, I hold Paul in the highest respect. But every now and then I listen to what he has to say to us and it sounds so foreign. Take a few instances from our passage today. As a quick side-note, you will not find the translation we are using today in any printed Bible since it is my own translation. I figured that since I’ve spent so much time learning Greek then I should use it now and then. Anyway, if we look at this passage, it is pretty easy to see that Paul says some pretty “out-there” things.
  • 4:1, Paul says that his readers are his “cause for joy and my reason for boasting.” What is Paul’s deal with boasting? He’s always talking about it. Just read any of his letters and you will see what I mean.

  • 4:3, Paul talks about people having their names in a “book of life.” Have you ever seen a “book of life?” I haven’t. Is it some kind of first-aid manual? Do we have one here at the church for legal reasons?

  • 4:4, Paul tells us to rejoice – twice! Why does Paul always repeat himself? I can just picture Paul sitting around a fire with Timothy and others on his travels. “Listen to this, everyone” Paul says - he’s busy writing Philippians at the time – “listen to this and tell me if you like it. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’” “You can say that again, Paul” chuckles Timothy. “I think I will,” replies Paul with a perfectly serious expression on his face.

  • 4:5. What is this business about letting all people know about our kindness? Should we take out advertisement time on the local cable channel? Did the early Christians develop a line of tracts to inform their neighbors of their kindness? Maybe we should get T-shirts. And then Paul says “The Lord is near.” How did you know that Paul? The Lord is only just now pulling in the driveway. Hey, come over here and check out his new Mercedes!

  • 4:7 – This sounds a bit scary. God’s peace is going to hold me prisoner? Some peace! It sounds more like occupation by a hostile force. Or at least “taxation without representation.”

  • 4:8 – And what is this nonsense about taking into account whatever is true, worthy, innocent, pleasing, or whatever? How am I supposed to know what fits the bill? Things that please me don’t necessarily please anyone else. For instance, I’m a big U2 fan. I think their music is quite true, worthy, and pleasing. But I’m sure I could find someone to disagree with me. At least theoretically.

The point is that, if we are really honest with ourselves, we find it difficult to make heads or tails out of what Paul is talking about.

To make matters worse, all these things that Paul is saying are commands. They are imperatives. They demand that we do something!
  • 4:1 – “Stand firm in the Lord.” Ok Paul, I’ll do that! Um, Paul…how am I supposed to do that? I have all the firmness of a wet noodle.

  • 4:2, Paul tells Euodia and Syntyche to agree with each other. I guess that since it was important for these two ladies to agree with each other in the Lord, then we should agree with each other in the Lord also. But what exactly are we supposed to agree about? Perhaps the color of the background we use for the PowerPoint slides?

  • 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always – I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul seems to be pretty taken with this talk about rejoicing. He has been talking about it throughout this whole letter. “I rejoice, even though I am in prison,” he said in 1:18-19, and again in 2:17-18. In 3:1 he flat out says it like in our passage today, “Rejoice in the Lord.” But there are some days that I wake up and the last thing on my mind is rejoicing. And then someone cuts me off on Route #1 and the last thing on my mind is rejoicing. And then I cut them off and the first thing on my mind is rejoicing!

  • 4:5 – “Let all people know about your kindness,” Paul says. Talk about misrepresentation in advertising. Aren’t we supposed to give an accurate portrayal? “Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Travis and I’m a kind person. Never mind about earlier today when my neighbor’s copy of the New York Times wound up on my driveway. Don’t worry, I’ll get it back to him just as soon as I take a peak at what my favorite columnist has to say.” We have a hard enough time being genuinely kind to those we love, much less everyone.

  • 4:6, “Worry in no way.” Paul, how am I supposed to not worry? Have you seen the world that I’m living in? There were guys with assault rifles in Penn Station just a week or two ago!

  • 4:8 – You already know what I think about this list of things to take into account. But even that bit about whatever conforms to the will of God – how am I supposed to do God’s will? I don’t really know what it is, and I have a sneaky suspicion that it might include selling my U2 CD collection in order to give more money to the church, or – heaven help me – to the poor.

  • 4:9 – And to top it all off, I’m supposed to do everything that you taught and did? Paul, you lived nearly 2000 years ago. How am I supposed to know what you did, much less do what you did? I’ve read Acts and I’m not terribly excited about going through everything you did. Well, a Caesar doesn’t rule from Rome anymore so I’m pretty sure that gets me off the hook about being in prison there.

Not only are the things that Paul writes to us hard to understand, they are impossible to do. Who among us has the courage to face the will of God and to submit completely to it? Who among us is able to impact the world like Paul did? What two people among us are even able to agree with one another? And how on earth could we possibly trick ourselves into thinking that we can rejoice in the Lord all the time, much less pull-off being kind to everyone? Still, this is what is demanded of us.

There is one thing about Paul that we can count on to help us out of this mess. Paul has a one-track mind. He is only able to think about one thing - God. No matter what it sounds like Paul is talking about, he is only ever talking about one thing. The Gospel. Jesus Christ. God. No matter how wrapped up Paul gets in talking about what we need to do, his underlying preoccupation with God and the Gospel keeps bubbling to the surface. We are to stand firm in the Lord (v1). We are to agree in the Lord (v2). It is important to agree because we share in the work of the Gospel (v3). We should rejoice – say it with me – in the Lord (v4). There is no need to worry because we pray to God, and because God’s peace – his holistic provision for the flourishing of our lives – holds prisoner even the rebelliousness of our thoughts and desires in Christ Jesus (v6-7). We can know the true, the worthy, the innocent, the pleasing, the morally excellent and the praiseworthy thing because they are things that conform to the will of God (v8). Which, by the way, Paul understands as being disclosed in Jesus Christ. And finally we can do what Paul did because the God of our flourishing will be with us (v9).

However, on top of all this, the one thing that drives this home, the one thing that puts it all into focus, is found in verse 5. “THE LORD IS NEAR.” This phrase seems to come out of nowhere. It is not grammatically or syntactically tied to what comes before or after it. This quick cloudburst of profundity breaks forth from Paul’s lips as though he is simply not able to contain himself. It stands alone, and it towers over this entire passage as the flashing neon road sign that points us along the path of understanding. This is the Archimedean point, such that if we stand here on this phrase, we can move the whole passage.

I think the point of what Paul is getting at is that these words of his are confusing. They are not easy for us to understand, and they are even more difficult for us to hear. Paul knows that he is placing demands upon us that we cannot possibly meet. That is, he knows that he is placing demands upon us that we cannot possibly meet if we try to do it ourselves. Furthermore, he knows that if we try to meet these demands ourselves, we will do nothing but enter a spiral of guilt and hopelessness. We loudly protest to the creator of the universe, “Dear God! You expect me to do all these things!?!” But at the same time, we are Americans. We are men and women of capitalistic skill and acumen. We know that the first offer is only a jumping-off point. God goes high, we go low, and then all parties agree on something in the middle – or, if we can cut a good bargain, something on the low end. Then we go out and spend our energy trying to convince ourselves that we are living up to even these low standards, when the reality is that we fail miserably every day. Paul knows this. And God certainly knows this.

BUT. “The Lord is near.” How is he near? In Jesus Christ. In the one human being who was able to obey God perfectly. In the one human being who died in a state of complete innocence. In the one human being who bore our sins and guilt and inadequacies far away beyond the veil of reality.

YES. “The Lord is near.” How is he near? In Christ Jesus. God walking on earth. God eating with us. God laughing with us. God crying with us. God dying with us? NO! GOD DYING FOR US.

In Jesus Christ, the amazing has happened. In the nearness of the Lord, the impossible has become actual. We are forgiven. Why? Because of what God did, and not because of anything we did or could possibly hope to do. Not because we made God an offer he couldn’t refuse. Not because we cut an amazing deal with him. Not because we did anything, but because HE DID EVERYTHING.

And now Paul calls us to do the impossible. Only now, we are not responsible for our own performance. God has made himself responsible for our performance, and in Christ Jesus, that performance was pulled-off without a hitch. What we are now commanded to do is called forth from us not by obligation, but by love. It is not a demand that is placed upon us from outside of ourselves, but an irrigation system meant to direct the waters of love for God that bubble up from inside our souls.

In closing, I want to leave you with a metaphor for all this. Gardening. I once heard a story about an old theologian who kept a garden as a hobby. And whenever this theologian went to give lectures, he would stay with the many friends that he had made throughout his career. When it came time for our theologian to return home, he always asked his host for permission to take a small plant - maybe his host had a flower planter beneath the kitchen window or a few shrubs off the back patio. He would then take these plants home and care for them in his garden. There is something about gardening that theologians are drawn to. I think this metaphor explains that a little.

When we garden and we want something to grow better, we enhance the conditions under which the growth is to take place. For instance, we add fertilizer, we apply more or less sun, we apply more or less water. But the best conditions in the world will mean nothing if the seed does not crack open and release its life-giving energy. Like any metaphor, we can’t push this too far. But the point is clear: the growth of our spiritual life, the development of our discipleship, the progress of our subjective sanctification does not come about because we struggle to meet conditions – such as obeying the many commands that Paul gives us in this passage. No, we grow, to steal a phrase from Saint Augustine, when “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” That is, when the Gospel grabs a hold of us and starts to transform us by its life-changing power. This isn’t a “let go and let God” strategy. This is a “Got God?” strategy.

Do we truly understand the depth of the significance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I don’t think any of us do, but that is precisely what must be grasped. That is what is required of us in the working out of our salvation with fear and trembling, which Paul mentions in 2:12-13. We do not “fear and tremble” because we know that we cannot live up to God’s expectations and are worried about what may come as God’s retaliation. In Christ, we have no reason now to fear God. We fear and tremble because something exciting is going on. If we really understand it we get goose bumps and shivers up and down our spines. Our hair stands on end. Our adrenaline is pumping, sending our minds and bodies into overdrive. In other words, we “fear and tremble” because it is God, the infinite creator of the universe, the author of our salvation, who is working in us both to will and to do. Amen.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Whimsical Barth: Some Excerpts

A Late Friendship: The Letters of Karl Barth and Carl Zuckmayer (Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982).

Barth’s self-description in his first letter to Zuckmayer:
“I am an Evangelical theologian, a pastor in Geneva and the Aargau for twelve years, then a professor for fifteen years in Göttingen, Münster, and Bonn, where I became unacceptable because I would not take the oath of loyalty to Hitler in 1935, and from then until 1962 a professor here in Basel. I have written many stout and slim volumes of practical, historical, and above all—do not be alarmed!—dogmatic theology. I now live in quiet but busy retirement. I value the presence of loving women, good wine, and a constantly burning pipe.” (4)
Barth on Schleiermacher during his final seminar on the figure:
“Schleiermacher:…I am dealing with him in a seminar with many boy and girl students and for the moment I am enjoying it (with the old love/hate and the even older hate/love).” (43)
Barth on certain interesting individuals:
“I have all kinds of things to report. For instance, a very orthodox group of Roman Catholic vicars invited me for the second time to a lively hour-long conference. Again, we had a visit from a crazy woman from St. Gall who thought she was the woman of Rev. 12 and a reincarnation of Mary. Again, an immature theological student from Canada came to see me this morning and asked—among other things—what reason means for my theology. Answer: I use it!” (43)
Zuckmayer on American parenting:
“If one has lived in America and seen in countless cases what injustice is done to children, one has enough of it. One sees too much that someone, hidden behind misunderstood psychoanalytical maxims, allows them to become little tyrants and ill-humored despots, despots whom adults crawl in front of for pure convenience, only to get peace; and one sees how this takes effect in the unfortunate adolescents when they, brought up without authority, are confronted with the difficulties of life.” (47)