Table of Contents
Vol.9: The Flood: Local or Global?
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1. Names
as Different Societies have Viewed Them
Chapter 2. Names
as Scripture Views Them
1967 Doorway Paper No. 54, published privately by Arthur
1979 Part IV in The Flood:Local or Global?, vol.9
in The Doorway Papers Series by Zondervan Publishing Company
1997 Arthur Custance Online Library (HTML)
2001 2nd Edition (HTML) (design revisions)
1 of 2
It is one of the wonders of Scripture that
it can use our strangely variant ways of viewing reality
to make its own revelation clear
without in any way compromising the truth of what is being revealed.
A FEW YEARS
ago a little girl was released from a mental institution in Chicago
whose history is rather remarkable. (1)
This little girl, Mary, was virtually
an orphan. Her father had died soon after her birth, and her
mother became melancholic and lost all interest in her child,
failing to train her in any way whatever, and then died when
Mary was three years old. Some relatives who took her were appalled
by her antisocial behavior and homicidal attacks on other children.
Finally, when the situation became desperate, Mary, now nine
years old, was placed in the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School
in the University of Chicago.
In this school Mary began to paint,
and though initially she did so with a peculiar anxiety, for
the first time in her life she came to enjoy something. Her first
picture seemed to be almost an accident but she described it
as herself ‹ and then added immediately, "It's just
any girl. . . a girl without a name." "Nameless"
‹ what a pathetic picture for a child to have of herself.
Much later in her three-year period
of treatment she began suddenly to recover under the patient
and very loving care of the teachers. One day she said, quite
spontaneously, "Let's start the world all over again."
Then she changed the name by which they had been calling her
and took a new name.
To herself, the girl was no longer
nameless. Nor had she the old name. In her child-like mind she
was entirely a different personality and this required a new
name. In an extraordinary way, as Bruno Bettelheim describes
it, "she gave birth to herself as a new person in the form
of an infant. This process was accompanied by a long series of
Exactly what the nature of such
a transformation is, it is difficult to say. What does stand
out, and what is to be noted in the light of what follows in
this paper, is that she not only spontaneously equated the possession
of a name with the possession of personality but also felt that
a new personality required a new name. Christian experience has
some remarkable parallels here. . . .
1. Bettelheim, Bruno, "Schizophrenia,
A Case Study," in Scientific American, April, 1952,
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