Black & White

My years of doctoral study were spent among the seminaries and divinity schools of Chicago’s Hyde Park, in a consortium of academies that gave the student access to what was perhaps the world’s best-known collocation of theology faculties and teachers. Each of these schools encouraged its students to take advantage of the extraordinary depth and range of acclaimed expertise available at this notable encampment of demons, devoted to the torment of Christ and the confusion of his Church.

The professor under whom I was studying at the time of this story was an expert on one of the most important liberal Protestant theologians of the twentieth century, and was in fact one of this theologian’s last doctoral students. He was an excellent pedagogue, some of whose teaching methods I purposed to imitate once I stood behind the lectern myself (which I never did) and needed ways to render the very difficult accessible to a theologically exposed but unsophisticated audience. The professor was also haughty and unpleasant, a player of favorites, and especially attentive to pretty female students—defects remarked upon but unpenalized in the upper regions of the Ivory Tower, at least in those days.

A Restive Young Man

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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.

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