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Presentation, recommendation and order of my book The Jesus project (Reserarch report)


Publication of my book

The Jesus project: a research report

(Budapest 2010. Novella Publishing)



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Presentation and recommendation

by the translator Márton Mesterházi

            This is a pseudo-documentary novel, told in the form of essay-drama.

The research report is about “reconstructions” proposed by Cumulus: a genius in any field he entered, meteorology, literature, sociology; a rebel against any form of tyranny (banned / sacked several times by the past regime); an agnostic in search of faith; and from time to time a cruelly suffering mental patient who finally escapes – fortunately not into death – into medically controlled seclusion with some slight hope of being healed.

He is at least as important a theme of the reported research, as the official one: the miracle – so rich in meaning – told in all the four Gospels, which in English language Bibles mostly figures under the title Jesus feeds five thousand men; the reconstructions of which the Consilium analyzes between January and August 2006. They accept Cumulus’ interpretation of the text (mainly John 6.) with the two key sentences he insisted on: “Give ye them to eat.” (Luke 9. 13.) and “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes.” (John 6. 9.) The reconstructions of the Feeding had also been designed and organized by him:

September 2001: a pop concert which proved to be a failure;

May 2002: a very successful conjuring event with David Copperfield;

June 2003: a dramatic performance with the Arvisura shamanic theatre;

October 2003: an ecumenical devotion with the Arvisura theatre, Jesus played by a black American woman, a Baptist minister; attended by groups of seminarists and novice nuns, and the later bishop of Vác;

June 2004: an ecumenical meditation with Buddhists and Krishna-believers also present, and texts from the Rig Veda, the Brihadaranjak Upanishad, the Bhagavag-Gita, the Tao Te King, the Koran, the Zohar, and the Gospel.

September 2005: This is the day 24 hours’ programme of religious music, with Tóparti on the phone as the Good God, and Cumulus on the stage (reading John 6.) as Jesus.

The description of the fictitious reconstructions is believably vivid, and is accompanied by professionally composed tables, statistics, heated analytical debates and commentaries of sociological self-criticism. As a result of which the reader is soon drawn into the story: as it were, becomes a part of it.

The story and its discussion by the members of the Consilium puts some important questions. What is a miracle? Does it happen in physical reality or in the hearts of people? How would today’s people react to a Christ working  miracles among us? Would they understand the meaning of a miracle? Would their hearts be touched? Would they offer (some of) their goods to the needful? Or would they want to make a king (a dictator) of Him for his extraordinary powers?

The book had a remarkable critical reception. The notices/essays concentrate on two subjects in their evaluations. On the one hand they emphasize the deep empathy, wise humour and unsparing self-criticism with which István Kamarás views religious people, Christian communities and the Catholic church; the position he takes in favour of orthopraxis (as opposed to orthodoxy).

On the other hand they appreciate the novelty of the subject, the ease of the style, the mild and wise humour, the ability to move, to create catharsis, the playful, ironical language and its combination with uplifting inspiration.


Other recommendations

“A research report”. That is what the reader should expect. A research report in inverted commas, because the author of The Jesus-project has written a fictitious documentary. We might even say: in this report – that is, in the exciting story of Cumulus – nothing is real. Still, the story is true, and it is up to the reader to decide, why. (Péter Somlai, sociologist, university professor, Doctor of the Academy)

We say faith could even remove mountains. Nowadays we have hydraulic shovels and explosives at our disposal for doing the same anytime. It is a much tougher job, and the test of real and true faith, whether it can move hearts. The story of the Jesus-project, though in principle just a fictitious “sociological” reconstruction of the miracle of the Feeding, awakens in us the conviction that “our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous” (Shakespeare: King Lear), that is: that we always have something we can share with our neighbour. (Gábor Jakab, Roman Catholic parish priest, Papal chaplain)

The Narrator of The Jesus-project, speaking the special language of sociology, in fact appeals to such human faculty in us, of which it has been unusual to talk in this age of late modernity. That which the plain man calls miracle, has been replaced in Europe by messianistic teleological ideologies. Centuries have atrophied that “relay” of perception, which in earlier ages enabled us to communicate between the visible and the invisible. István Kamarás is a messenger: an instrument of that extraordinary transmission of values. (Éva Gy. Gyimesi, literary historian, university professor, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist)




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