This is an excerpt from my work in 2017, The Significance of the Elterngebot (that is, The Significance of the Biblical Commandment on Parents, the latter being the passages Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16).
Note: The Decalogue is the Ten Commandments. Deka is the Greek for ten, and logos is Greek of word.
What My Doctoral Dissertation Aimed For
“With this dissertation we investigate how the Decalogue’s injunction to honor parents was treated or applied throughout the history of the direct recipients of the Judeo-Christian teachings. This means treating biblical Israel first as the roots, next the Greco-Roman context that contains the New Testament and other contemporaneous literature, then western Europe and through it to wherever western European influence can largely be seen today (e.g., the USA).
With such an extremely wide scope, and while trying to situate the relevance of honoring parents throughout this course of history, backgrounds that deal with the general situation and then of the family are given priority. Nevertheless, not all angles and all aspects or details could be included, so that at best it is an attempt to get a broad sketch of how the Decalogue commandment to honor parents had fared ever since Christianity took off from Palestine.
There is no assumption, however, that any generation’s treatment of parents and the elderly is a direct effect of how the commandment to honor parents is being taught at that historical point. That is, taking care of one’s elderly parents is considered as part of the natural law, and so universal, regardless of the historical perspective.
This work in no manner suggests that the way western European adult children treat their parents with honor and respect is dismal. On the contrary, it can be easily verifiable that European studies regarding the care for parents in special circumstances as well as for the elderly are far from scarce, which is all under gerontology, as mentioned above.
What this work has tried to do is to trace what has happened to the commandment to honor parents, so to speak, in order to gain insights of its relevance to our present context.”
The question of how to honor narcissistic parents deserves another major research altogether (uhuh, I don’t have it in my dissertation, though I certainly do want to find out about it, and fast!). What’s more important is that one has become aware of the situation, and so start from there. . . It certainly is very tough going. . .