Angol nyelvű absztraktok

Ádám, Anikó

Aesthetics made Sacred: The Gothic Cathedral in the 19th Century

In this essay, I examine the concepts and ideas which have inspired the renovation and reception of Gothic monuments, churches and cathedrals in the recent past and the present-day. Gothic cathedrals are leaving behind the “sacred” and becoming organic parts of cities, which are increasingly experienced as exhibition spaces. Their images are reproduced, affecting the imaginations of globalized tourists who visit these buildings en masse. The Gothic cathedral, along with several other kinds of monuments, has become a symbol of motion, and Medieval French architecture [ordre français] is now a product of mass consumption.

Apor, Eszter

Micrography as an Artistic Technique of Figuration in Jewish, Protestant and Catholic Religious Cultures

The term of micrography has many meanings. One of them refers to a method of writing with miniature letters (calligraphic or printed), which creates an image at the same time. This duality results in an interesting phenomenon for the viewer (and the historian of art). I know a series of artistic micrographic portraits in which the depictions are more dominant from the viewpoint of visuality than textuality. I search for the best term for them. There is another interesting aspect of micrography, namely its origin. According to tradition, the origins of this type of writing practice (as artistic technique) lie in the Jewish religious literature around the 9th century, and it was inspired by Islamic and (indirectly) Far Eastern calligraphy. Later, it came into general use in European Christian manuscripts and votive pictures. In the 16th century, it became known in the Protestant churches, and it acquired the new function of circulating doctrines. Given the diversity of opinions (in Byzantium) about the adoration of icons, the micrographic images have different visual characteristics.

Bukáné Kaskötő, Marietta

In the Service of ‘Sacred’ Music – A Supplement to the History

of Cecilianism in Hungary

As was the case in many European countries, the flourishing attempts to reform Church music, i.e. Cecilianism, at the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries had an enormous effect on the life of Catholic Church music in Hungary. The Cecilians’ aimed primarily to restore the former liturgical position of the Gregorian chant and replace the instrumental compositions with the vocal polyphonic works of Palestrina. Numerous new Church music compositions were created in the spirit of the aesthetic ideal defined by the representatives of this movement. However, most of these compositions have little artistic value. Moreover, they bore few actual affinities with Palestrina’s style. Thus, a kind of self-contradiction arose between the aesthetic ideal and the practical realization of Cecilianism. My study presents the relationship of Hungarian authors belonging to different generations and ideological circles between 1853 and 1950 to Cecilianism (such as Ferenc Zsasskovszky, Mihály Bogisich, Lajos Bárdos, György Deák-Bárdos) and offers insights into the world of the composition of Church music that had the approval of a contemporary ideology.

Czeglédy, Anita

Sacral Secularisation: Rilke and Modernity from a Protestant Perspective

The following study focuses on the artistic turn in the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. His early writing roots in his experience of Russia, the Russian art, icon painting and religion. This is the world of God arising from a fruitful darkness, a world of possibilities, a world still being born. The aesthetic and poetic turn, which is a result of his experience of modern arts in Paris, is often interpreted as a loss of the sacral perspective. The study attempts to show that the Paris ‘school of seeing’ influenced by the masters August Rodin and Paul Cézanne is actually a new form of artistic religiousness, which has a lot in common with the Russian icon painting. The argumentation also refers to the theory of art as a ‘form of incarnation’ of János Pilinszky, and approaches to a wider sense of the term ‘secularisation’ from a protestant perspective.

Cseke, Ákos

Lying, Truth, Literature: Foucault, Beckett

This study deals basically with the literary theory concerning the “death of the author” (Barthes) and tries to argue, first, that this theory owes much to the French philosophical debates of the 1960s and also to the theory of the “death of God” (Nietzsche) and, second, that one of its most important representatives, Michel Foucault, argued in the late 1970s that this theory was no longer valid as a description and understanding of modern art and literature. I also suggest that this idea in the thought of Michel Foucault is apparent in his interpretation of Samuel Beckett and, finally, that the late Foucault’s understanding of literature and art in general rests on his splendid analysis of the notion of parrhesia (truth-telling) in ancient and Christian spirituality. Modern art, according to Foucault, is not the place where the author has the possibility – or the right – to disappear. The artist, on the contrary, is the truth-teller par excellence who is deeply implicated in what he or she writes and tells. Modern art in this sense is heir to the philosophical and religious schools (Platonism, Cynicism, Christianity etc.) that were dedicated to the “will to truth”.

Cseppentő, Krisztina

Sacral Modernity: The Prodigal Sons of Rilke

Throughout his life Rainer Maria Rilke as a poet kept grappling with Christianity. As a result, the major part of his work is inspired by this fundamental heritage of European culture. Both the poem Der Auszug des verlorenen Sohnes (New Poems, 1907) and the last record of The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge adapt the biblical story of the prodigal son. The texts do not simply refer to the Bible, but they are essentially based on it – yet both texts are at the same time highly critical of the original biblical version; their blistering attack calls the present day validity of the parable into question. Therefore, it seems a reasonable endeavour to analyse Rilke’s two texts here from the biblical angle, focusing on the general embeddedness in and dialogue with the Christian tradition. I shall examine parallels and contrasts between Luke 15:11–32 and the texts mentioned above, as well as attempt to investigate some aspects of the relationship between Rilke’s personal life and his poetic oeuvre, hoping to gain an insight into relevant aspects of the interconnectedness of the sacred and the prophane in his life.

Demeter, Márton

The Role of Institutions in Transcendental Imaging: Propedeutics

for an Anatomy of the Sacred Arts

Labeling any human effort a “religious act” presupposes a condition which could be called a “religious position”. As every act could be conceived of as an implementation of a given state or condition, we could also say that every religious act is an implementation of a given religious position. Typical examples of religious actions of this kind are prayers, but, in its inherent complexity, the Divine Liturgy could also been considered a set of religious acts. By comparing Eastern and Western religious visual arts, I demonstrate that these representations could be considered according to analytical methods, but we must take into consideration the social contexts in which these representations found form. Drawing on several examples, I shed light on the similarities and diffe­rences between Western religious painting and Eastern orthodox iconography. I also consider the images of both traditions as a means of sacral communication.

Dobák-Szalai, Zsuzsanna

Back to the Roots – What Julio Cortázar and Zdeněk Miler are Dreaming About

The subject of this study is the uncertainty caused by the “death of God”, the declining importance of religion as a cultural factor. This liberation awaited by so many also caused the loss of a strong fund, the pluralization of values, and broad relativization. Obviously at first this led to confusion regarding artists rather than to a search for their own paths. Artists tried to fill the huge gap left by the absence of God in many different ways, such as putting several subjects like art, a beloved person, an alternative transcendental power or even themselves on a pedestal, or by turning back to ancient rituals or myths. My study is trying to find answers for questions like whether this search for a path only consists of nostalgia towards God, the desperate longing for the lost safety, or it is a stage for a fertile, promising path to the future, a herald of the birth of a new paradigm. The theoretical background of my inquiry includes ideas by Octavio Paz, Jan Assmann and Mircea Eliade illustrated through the comparative analysis of a short story by Julio Cortázar and a unique episode of the Czech cartoon series, The Mole.

Faludy, Judit

James Ensor: the end of his creative period (in 1892/93)

In this paper I present a personal reading of the creative period of James Ensor. Having analysed his figurative paintings and drawings which represent men and women together, I have found only one in which the viewer finds a well-balanced, respectful image of a woman, in which the man has no fear but the two figures occupy different spaces. This painting from 1892 has a specific religious theme: The Virgin of Consolation. I have studied the artist as himself a borderline personality (research I pursued in the late 1990s and early 2000s), and I came to regard this painting as a kind of bookend to his active, creative period. In my view, it constitutes the end of his creative period and the beginning of the period in which he copied the works of early Baroque masters and begins to repeat themes and motifs found in his earlier works. In this essay, I attempt to show this link.

Farkas, György

The Pop Concert as Sacral Performance

Transcendence and Transgression in the Performances

of Japanese Pop Band Babymetal

The Japanese band called Babymetal plays in a unique musical genre: a fusion of JPop and classical mainstream metal. I have studied their songs, live performances and music videos in order to understand the transcendental allusions and Japanese sacral traditions, influences of which can be found in the compositions. My aim is to examine the transgressive layers of these pieces of art, which at first hearing resemble ordinary JPop songs. I would like to prove that these works are amusing entertainment on the surface, but intrinsically we are spectators to a transgressive act and a sacral performance.

Farkas, Zsuzsa

Time is the Wisest

The Transformation of the Roles of Churches

In order to avoid having to define what is meant by a “holy place” from a theological point of view, I begin from the premise that the churches around us are an important part of our culture. The timeless buildings also represent a timelessness that outlasts changing power structures, and they provide a site for the experiences of the sacred in everyday life. Furthermore, they are essential parts of the history of art and architecture.

In our times, there are more and more abandoned churches, partly because the customs of the believers have changed. I examine what happens to these buildings, which were once cultural and educational centers of communities. The architectural monuments are constantly changing, serving at times as exhibition halls, record offices and sites for other community functions. A current example in Scotland concerns a church that is sometimes home to pub life. In Edinburgh, where every clan built a church, concerts are held by various bands in the Tron church during the Fringe festival. The number of Hungarian synagogues that have been put to new uses has been counted. The Museum of Ethnology hosted an exhibition of photographs by Bernadett Alpern on this entitled “Used Stones”. In Banat (a region most of which is in present-day Romania, though parts are also in Serbia and southeastern Hungary), the Serbian Catholic Church decided at one point to destroy the abandoned Catholic churches. The decision concerning the three Hungarian churches was met with outrage, and indeed it was revoked as a result of the protest. Perhaps we must trust these buildings to the hands of time in the hopes that there will come a new time in which each building will be properly preserved, in accordance with its value. Some of the edifices are becoming wonderful ruins, for example the Abbey of Zsámbék, which was originally built in the 13th century.

Fogarasi, Klára

Sacredness–Interior–Photograph (Historical Imagery

and Case Studies from the Present-day)

The creation of a personal relationship with the Creator has always been heavily supported by the vision of home. In this essay, I seek an answer to the question of the place of the photograph (private photo), which is a particular form of visuality, in this relationship. Where do pictures figure in the course of private moments of prayer and devotion? What signs can be found on their “installations” that would suggest that the photograph has become part of a sacral relationship? Furthermore, what is the function of a given photograph for a given person?

The planning and the layout of the space where these photographs appear (near the sacred images), the ornamentation which surrounds them, and the events that bring them into existence all bear witness to their creator’s strong relationship to transcendence. Photographs surrounded by artistic trimming (with a crucifix) or with paper cuttings which represent beloved family members (more specifically, the individuals they depict) can take part in the blessings and protection of the superior being. There are two reasons for this: first, in the tradition (“knowledge”) of folklore, the photograph is tantamount to the person depicted (hence the manner in which it is treated has an important role), and second, in the forms and customs of religious practice (both festive and everyday), which consists of both magical and liturgical elements, the people, objects and places depicted become part of the sacred universe.

With regards to their functions, through the ways in which they were created the frames and installations of the photographs, which are objects of the applied arts, have both church-historical, religious-folklore, and anthropological meanings. The study of these works can be considered part of the fields of research in various branches of the sciences, and the functions and communicative purposes they serve can also be approached from various methodological perspectives, depending on the discipline.

Gálosi, Adrienne

Contemplation and Beauty, Disturbance and Appropriation

– Christian Iconography in the Contemporary Art World

In this essay I deal with the questions of how scholars and critics can reflect on contemporary art and whether or not contemporary art has religious content, supposing that the answers to these questions are manifold. If we treat art and religion as two disparate domains, we may feel unsettled when confronted with a devotional work of art in an art gallery, as we may expect contemporary art that uses religious iconography to incorporate self-reflexivity and a sense of self-critique. Taking this as my point of departure, I examine different historically evolving attitudes towards images together with the different contemporary spheres and institutions in which images of Christian iconography appear. In the complex web of the different uses and modes of appreciation of such images, I consider what principles and prejudices might guide or mislead the critic when he or she interprets such images. Though the paper addresses this issue from the perspective of the contemporary art critic, at certain points it also reflects on the possible considerations of the Church when it condemns or accepts a work of art for sacred purposes. I primarily use the ideas of Jacques Maritain to draw certain distinctions in the field of religious art.

Gellér, Katalin

Frescos and Stained Glass Works in the Chapel of Lipótmező

Sándor Nagy, the leading master of the colony of artists in Gödöllő, designed and painted the wall paintings (1912) and the stained glass works (1913–1914) for the Hungarian Royal National Lunatic Asylum (Madhouse), which since 1898 has been known as the National Neurological Hospital of Lipótmező (it was designed by Ludwig Zettl, an architect from Vienna).

The stained glass windows were executed by Miksa Róth. Geometrically complex wall paintings exemplify complete mastery of the artistic principles of the Beuron School, which was used in the renewal of this kind of church art. The light and color system of the windows symbolically represents supernatural forces. The windows have a role that is as important as the role of windows in Gothic church architecture. Sándor Nagy enhanced the Biblical drama with new iconography, and he used flower ornaments characteristic of Art Nouveau.

Inside the Lunatic Asylum, the decoration harmonized with the essential function of the establishment, which is to provide a place where people with psychological disorders could recover. The intention was to create a peaceful combination of colors, a goal that was met with particular skill in the windows of the nave.

The Chapel of Lipótmező is one of the most important works of art of the Hungarian Secession, much like the Saint Leopold Church of Steinhof (1904–1907), which was designed by Otto Wagner for the Heilanstalt für Nerven- und Geisteskranke in Vienna, the interior decoration of which was done by Kolo Moser, Remigius Geyling and Othmar Schimkowitz.

Gőbel, Orsolya

Children’s Knowledge of the Divine World in the Intuitive-projective Belief Phase

During a child’s early years of elementary school, the expression of religious experiences in both verbal (cognitive) and visual, graphic ways becomes balanced. In this paper, I examine the spiritual experiences of children in the pre-school and early school age and their visual and verbal expressions of heaven in a study involving 36 children.

I noticed that drawings done by children aged 6–8 are aesthetically subtle and that the astute observations made by children about their drawings make it possible for them to pass the fairy-tale stage and use their imaginations as means of expressing innate knowledge. The universal, primal, archetypical figures in their drawings became unique in every case under examination, precisely signifying their personal spiritual experiences.

Gyöngyössy, Orsolya

The Use of Religious Symbols in Virtual Cemeteries

Virtual burial, virtual cemeteries and rentable “quasi-resting places” on the Internet – as signs of a revolutionary new grief-culture which is based on Western European and American models – appeared approximately ten years ago in Hungary (ca. 2005). These memorial websites (eg.; offer a possibility to overcome distance and time; the users can express their loss without visiting the physical grave of the deceased. The only thing they have to do is register on the site in order to create virtual graves, light virtual candles and place virtual flowers. This phenomenon is a perfect example of how the Internet could be a “servant” of sacral communication. But what about the traditional religious symbols concerning the end of life? How do these symbols and symbolic representations (the rosary, images of the death of Jesus, images of the mourning Virgin Mary etc.) appear in virtual cemeteries? This kind of research helps us outline tendencies, understand modern grief-culture and envision the surviving forms of traditional religious symbols.

Hárdi, István

Visual Depictions of Temptation (The Temptation of Saint Anthony: Variations on a Theme)

Why is the temptation of St. Anthony so popular as a topic in the fine arts? Why has it enriched literature and music for nearly 2,000 years?

Temptation is not only a theological question, but also a psychological and psychoanalytical one. Generally we associate the concept of temptation with external (mainly sexual) stimuli, i.e. seduction and either a show of resistance or giving in. In consumer society, the horizon of temptation is substantially broadening with the great invasion of products. Artworks depicting the temptation of St. Anthony (251−356) offer an interesting insight into the problem and a psychological, psychoanalytical approach. The story, which was first written down by bishop Athanasius in the 4th century, went through various transformations until it found retelling in, The Temptation of Saint Anthony the world famous novel by Flaubert.

I provide an overview of the great collection of artworks dealing with this story by focusing on “key-pictures”. I also draw on the experiences acquired in the dynamic examination of drawings as well. Temptations sometimes delineate real events and sometimes depict visions. The figures of temptation in mediaeval art are mainly demons or devils. Alongside monsters, Bosch uses elements of sexual perversion and incredibly rich, fantastic combinations. In works of Modern art, in addition to the demonic figures, seductive people are often depicted, sometimes with all the details of the moment of temptation.

Freud says of Félicien Rops that he anticipated the insights of science with his picture, which contains the “return of the repressed”. The studies of Reik and Kraft confirm this observation. I give a major role to ambivalence, i.e. to the phenomenon of something appearing, in the moment of decision, as “good”, while in fact it is bad. In the artworks, in addition to the facial expression, the position of the arms and the hands express the mental state of the person suffering temptation, either as a defense mechanism or a clinging pose.

I seek an explanation for the great interest that has been taken in this topic and its popularity in art in its general human aspects, the problems and conflicts of decision-making, the importance of pleasure, repression and resignation, and the great question of life and death.

Horváth, Csaba

Under Whose Gaze do we Live?

In this essay I examine the ways in which a stylistic problem becomes an ethical question in several classical and contemporary detective novels. In the books of the American Raymond Chandler, the Austrian Wolf Haas and the Hungarian Sándor Tar, the narrators’ or protagonists’ discursive style differs from conventional speech. Specifically, it is rude, sometimes aggressive and almost always ironic. But this is more than a matter of simple provocation. This kind of difference in the languages of the book exceeds stylistic indecency and represents ethical judgment. It makes it possible to show the moral and stylistic emptiness of the conventional world, which tries to hide its crimes and sins through language.

Horváth, Katalin

On a Problematic Part of Laskai sorok (Laskai Lines)

Our linguistic record from the 15th century called Laskai sorok (Laskai Lines) is the first poetic prayer in the Hungarian language. The five-line prayer to the Eucharist was discovered by Béla Holl in 1982. It must have been recited during communion: the text is a prayer to Christ who is present through bread. It was copied in 1433 by D. Laskai into a school book of Latin biblical texts, possibly compiled in the Benedictine monastery at Pécsvárad. The first line of the prayer („Oh ÿstennek teste ÿdeʃegh ez vilagnak otalma”) has the disputed word ÿdeʃegh, which raises the question of interpretation. Scientific opinion is divided on its meaning: some researchers interpret it as ídesség ~ édesség ‘sweetness’ according to the written form of the word, while others understand it as idvesség ~ üdvösség ‘salvation’. Despite the special interest of this question, until now no in-depth study on the tropes of the text or the etymology of the word (édesség) have been undertaken. In my paper I carry out extensive research, which proves that the correct interpretation is the one based on the written form of the word.

Hóvári, János

Antonio Barluzzi, the Architect of the Holy Land

First constructions: The Church of All Nations and The Church of the Transfiguration, 1919–1924

Franciscan monk Antonio Barluzzi was one of the most important architects of the Holy Land. He started his first project in Jerusalem before the First World War and remained active and influential in his field until his death in 1960. The churches and other edifices constructed according to his designs are testimony to his unique style. He was one of the first architects of the Holy Land to put personal visions into his works and rise out of the artistic anonymity of his predecessors. His style originated in Italy, but was adjusted to meet the contemporary demands of the Holy Land, both spiritually and technically. However, with the construction in the 1960s of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, a remarkable modernist church of the Holy Land, his concept of design for holy sites began to be rejected.

Barluzzi began to develop his own distinctive style in the early 1920s. The first two churches built according to his designs (he planned and constructed them at the same time) were The Church of All Nations in Jerusalem and The Church of the Transfiguration on the peak of Mount Tabor. Each edifice compelled him to devise different solutions, but both holy places played an important role in Jesus’ life and in proving that he is the one chosen by God to redeem humankind. Barluzzi had to build a new church in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent his last night with his disciples and where he was arrested. The construction was a remarkable collaborative effort of various nations and was therefore called The Church of All Nations. The mosaic of the main altar was made by Endre Muzsinszky-Nagy, a Hungarian artist. Barluzzi’s work on The Church of the Transfiguration involved an archaeological reconstruction of the ruined Crusader Church and the addition to it of functional edifices. In 1924, he became a celebrated architect in the Holy Land when the two constructions were successfully completed. As a result, over the course of the next three decades he was given many new tasks by the Franciscans involving the reconstruction and revivification of holy sites in the Holy Land.

Juhos, Rózsa

Sepulchrum: Art and Liturgy in the Late Middle Ages

In this essay I examine the functions of the late medieval Easter Sepulchers with a figure of the Savior built interior of the churches in the West. One of the functions they fulfilled took place during the liturgy of the Holy Week, which was increasingly visual and theatricalized. Outside of the liturgical ceremony, they were also used as devotional images. This approach corresponds to the art historical idea of the Andachtsbild, which is defined as a type of monumental image permanently displayed in the church interior and serving individual devotional purposes. According to this theory of the Andachtsbild, the two functions are the opposite of each other. This study seeks to challenge the established method of separating liturgical use and individual devotional uses. The sepulchrum could serve several functions at the same time, and one cannot exclude the possibility that they were used as devotional objects during the official ceremony.

K. Kaposi, Krisztina

Plays based on the Story of Lazarus and the Interpretive Communities

in Early Modern Europe

In this essay I examine medieval plays based on the story of Lazarus and their interpretive communities in Early Modern Europe. While examining the contemporary social contexts and the literary roles of these dramas, my research also focuses on the rhetorical techniques, motifs and figures of speech that were used to fulfill different functions (moralization, social criticism, anticlericalism etc.) in the process of the audience’s or reader’s reception. A comparison of the interpretive communities of the Lazarus plays sheds light on the ways in which models of reception shifted in the 16th and 17th centuries. The changes that took place in the publics for these plays were due in part to the medial changes that took place in Early Modern Europe between the 15th and the 17th centuries. In the 15th century, the Lazarus plays had collective religious functions which found manifestation in the large performances for the public stage. Two centuries later, the plays were written primarily for a readership, rather than a largely illiterate public.

Kékesi Kun, Árpád

Transcendentalism in the Theater: Romeo Castellucci’s “Divine Comedy”

Romeo Castellucci’s influence on the European theater of the new millennium can only be compared to the influence of Robert Wilson in the 1970s. The Italian theater practitioner created his Divine Comedy as a resident artist at the Festival d’Avignon in 2008, and his trilogy was chosen as “the best play and one of the ten most influential cultural events in the world for the decade 2000–2010” by the French newspaper Le Monde. Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, inspired by Dante’s well-known epic poem, set their own course of representation between theater and performance, the fine arts and the performing arts, while answering questions posed by Dante’s work seven hundred years ago. What is hell? What is purgatory? What is paradise? How can they find expression in art? The essay focuses on Castellucci’s answers to these questions and describes the struggles (not only the intellectual ones) that motivate the confrontation with the problems of life and the afterlife, being and non-existence.

Kemenesi, Zsuzsanna

The Interpretation of the Concept of Holiness at the Prompting

of the Various Disciplines

The long-term effects of “being-in-the-wired world” could impact the socio-cultural, material and overall emotional dimensions of our lives. According to Clay Shirky’s theoretical approach, “[t]he Internet is not a public sphere. It is a private sphere that tolerates public speech”.

How can cultural turns transform into sacral phenomena? Virtual art is the digital problem-solving of the soul. Instances of digital artistic expression and their impacts are examined, as is the extent to which they could challenge our senses. In fact, they are rather like “silent poetry”, “motionless dance”, “imageless painting” or “soundless music”. I wonder how the concept of holiness can be interpreted according to the theoretical approaches of the various scientific disciplines. By pursuing research on cyberspace and virtual realities, scholarship on this subject should be quick to be up to date. However, it can be quick in academic terms only. The antagonism can be described by the time-lapse between “academic time” versus “cyberspace time”. The discourse should endeavor to distinguish the territorial and non-territorial autonomies characterizing the socio-cultural climate of “holy”. However, we already find ourselves in a post-internet age.

Kenéz, László

Audible Zen

The Intertwining of Religion and Music in Buddhism

This paper deals with the shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese vertical bamboo flute. Originally, the shakuhachi was used by Zen Buddhist monks as a tool of spiritual training, but nowadays it is regarded mostly as a musical instrument, even in Japan. Is there a difference between playing the shakuhachi for spiritual and for musical aims? I would like to show how the shakuhachi is a par excellence religious tool, a special instrument for Zen Buddhist meditation. The aim of this type of meditation is to change the player’s ordinary mind and help him or her reach a special state of mind called Enlightenment (satori), as in sitting meditation (zazen). This blowing meditation (suizen) emphasizes the musical process over the result, tone and timbre over melody, and breathing over rhythm, in contrast with a general musical practice.

Klemm, László

Büchner’s drama, Woyzeck, and the issue of sacrality

Georg Büchner (1813–1837), a writer who, though he died young, left a very concise legacy, is a representative of the generation coming directly after the Goethe era. As a member of the generation that came in the wake of arising the Enlightenment, like some other icons of that era, Büchner would not even get to the point of identifying himself with the notions of a universal ideology, as he was too disappointed in them already in his youth. Büchner had a similar attitude to the actual French revolutions. Although his oeuvre is a trove of negation of idealism(s), he can also be interpreted as the forerunner of the modern absurd existence/drama, including writers such as Beckett and Ionesco. Nevertheless, his unfinished stage play Woyzeck (1836) is not simply perhaps the most significant social drama of the era (most of the interpretations tend to focus on this element), it bears a surprising number of biblical-sacral references, a feature to which literary scholarship has paid less attention. However, it is not unambiguously clear on the basis of the composition whether these references serve merely as a kind of counterpoint or can be used as positive points of reference.

Korpics, Márta

“…Because by Your holy cross you have redeemed the world”

The Calvary as an Artistic Creation and an Edifice which Provides Space

for Services

The study is about a very popular Catholic orison prayer-method and the Calvary. This form of prayer has traditions that are centuries old. These traditions gave form to the architectural solutions (Calvary), the written versions (the texts of the services of the Stations of the Cross), and the custom itself. The Calvary is a very important edifice of cities, villages and places of pilgrimage. In this essay, I examine the history of religious traditions. I show the particularities of communication and the impact of communication on practice. I discuss practices related to the cult of images. I raise the question, does the Calvary constitute art? How can these structures be interpreted in the contexts of religion and art? To answer these questions, I use Howes’s typology. I also address the issues of popular piety. Finally, I examine how the Calvary can function as a bridge between popular and official religious practice.

Kosinsky, Richárd

The Syncretism of István Nádler

In my paper I broach the question of how meaning is created or composed within the works of István Nádler. I do not aim to interpret his artworks in a narrative sense, rather I examine the tools with which he creates the content of his paintings. I argue that Nádler’s goal is to make the mechanisms of his paintings stand out. By revealing these mechanisms, he elevates the effects to the level of pure experience. These notions resonate with Béla Hamvas’ hermetic concepts of syncretism.

Through the experience of the syntax of the paintings and the confrontation with the materials and the manners in which they were used, we can trace each of the artist’s movements and, indeed, each of his emotions, since he has worked with gestures since the 1980s.

Nádler’s manner of creating and composing meaning makes the experience of the painting synchronous with its creation. Thus, the image becomes part of the present, both in its physical and temporal forms.

Kovács, Imre

The Landscape as Gesamtkunstwerk

Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage I., Suisse in a Cultural-Historical Context

There are works of art the study of which calls for an interdisciplinary approach. One such work of art is the Swiss volume of Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, one of the earliest of his masterpieces. The nine piano pieces, which were composed partly in Switzerland in 1835 and later revised and finally published in 1855, are of course of interest primarily to musicologists. However, they could also be examined from a wider perspective involving aesthetic, literary and art historical approaches, which seems relevant for two reasons. First, seven of the nine piano pieces, which were inspired by the landscapes of Switzerland, are accompanied by quotations from works by Byron, Senancour, and Schiller, which Liszt intended as a verbal addendum to his music. Second, Liszt’s publisher, Schott, ordered landscape illustrations for the title pages of these piano pieces. In this essay I examine the inspirational impulses of this unique, early lisztian Gesamtkunstwerk. Specifically, I consider what the Swiss scenery may have meant to Liszt as a source of inspiration and how his experiences of travel may have been influenced by his readings of his beloved authors, Byron, Senancour and Lamartine.

Kövi, Zsuzsanna – Grezsa, Ferenc – Mirnics, Zsuzsanna – Rózsa, Sándor – Vargha, András – Kása, Dorottya – Koós, Tamás – Vass, Zoltán

Spritual well-being as a protective factor of substance use

The present study aimed to explore the association between spiritual well-being and substance use. 6272 students took part in our study, which also focused on how to measure the spiritual well-being with the Sixty Second Drawing Test (participants are asked to draw people and concepts as circles). Our results indicated that the small distance between Self and God circles and the large God circle in relation to Self circle could be linked to high religiosity, which proved to be protective factors against substance use.

There was a significant, but weak association between religiosity and substance use: higher religiosity was linked to lower level of substance use and as a mediator variable problem- focused coping and reduced deviant behavior were identified.

The results of the drawing test showed that the substance use is associated with mental problems and deviant friends, whereas faith in God, positive school environment, good relationship with teachers and mother proved to be protective. Moreover, analyses of drawing Self and God circles, revealed that merged Self and God circles has the highest prevalence among certain substance users.

Kucsera, Tamás Gergely

Beyond Art, beyond Man

In Modernity, the perception of being became fragmented; an increased emphasis on immanence has made it impossible for men and women to turn towards the ultimate questions of their existence. As a result, art today does not normally attempt to represent the Whole or the sacred in a contingent and autonomous manner. Based on the idea of the creation of men and women in God’s image, the modern concept of personality has been driven to an individualistic extreme, resulting in a culture that focuses on sensation and experience, a culture in which the consumer of art needs to be provided with a unique experience in order to perceive himself or herself as a person. The transcendent, including art, has been abolished from the scope of things human.

Legéndy, Kristóf

The 19th-Century Sources of Aspiration in Modern Thinking

In this paper I introduce the main elements of modern man’s thinking, without any claim of exhaustiveness, through the study of 19th-century religious, artistic and philosophical trends. I explain my patterns of thinking mainly from philosophical and religious points of view, so I put less emphasis on aesthetical and artistic viewpoints. In order to further an understanding of the important findings in my short paper, which I summarize in one or two sentences, I found it necessary to include the ideas of thinkers from previous ages, or rather their cultural ambitions, and the ways in which they are related to the theoretical and artistic trends of the 20th century, even if only assessed at a referential level.

Lipp, Mónika

Art and Healing in the 18th Century: The Reconstruction of the Interior of the Hospital and Convent of the Brothers Hospitallers in Eger

In my research, I concentrated on works of art belonging to the Brothers Hospitallers in Eger that are closely connected to the main activity of the order: healing. Most of the works of art depict the life of the founder of the order, Saint John of God (1495‒1550), and the miracles that happened to him. The founder set an example for the Brothers Hospitallers. There used to be a large painting in the hospital depicting Saint John of God and the seven deeds of mercy. In the refectory there used to be two paintings, one showing Jesus healing the sick and one showing Jesus healing the blind and mute man who was possessed by a demon. The latter picture is a clear reference to patients suffering from mental illnesses who were cared for in the hospital. The hospital in Eger used to be home to the first Hungarian university of medicine.

Lovász, Irén

From Cave to Cupola: The Acoustic Effects of Sacred Spaces

From Archaeoacoustics and Soundtherapy to the Contemporary

Performing Arts

The acoustic dimension of the human voice in sacred and spiritual communication and in voice-therapy is one of my main fields of interest. Recent studies in the multidisciplinary field of archaeoacoustics opened a new door in our understanding of the uses of the voice, with a focus on the ancient uses of sound in sacred and contemplative spaces. I provide a brief overview of the newest studies and inquiries in this new field, focusing on the Hypogeum in Malta. I share my experiences using human voice in acoustic sacred spaces, including caves and churches. The sound of my CD entitled Sacred Voice was inspired by the ambience of the enchanting acoustics of the undercroft of the Basilica, where the recording was made. The strong resonance of the architectural space was used as a natural acoustic instrument itself. Among the sacred places in the Carpathian basin where unusual sound phenomena can be experienced, one should mention the 13th-century 12 Apostles’ Rotunda of Bény, in which one finds 12 mysterious vaulted niches. The architecture was probably influenced by considerations of resonance and the deliberate use of niches in order to improve sound quality for spiritual purposes. I also present a method as part of which we use the cave as a metaphor in my contemporary voice-therapy practice, including notions of the cave as an archetypical symbol.

M. Tóth, Géza

Opera Performance and Religious Service: Thoughts on the Concert Production of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (in Mendelssohn’s Arrangement) (Premier: Hungarian State Opera House, 28 March 2013)

On 28 March 2013 (Maundy Thursday), Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (the Felix Mendelssohn Bartoldy transcription) was performed for the first time in the Hungarian State Opera. The performance was also the Hungarian premier of Mendelssohn’s version. I was asked to serve as director and visual designer. This case study is a summary of my work, from the invitation to the premier, in which I describe how I work as an artist.

Miskei, Antal

The Cult of the Mother of God in Ráczkeve (On the Iconography

of the Patron Saint of the Serbian Church in Ráckeve)

The death of the Mother of God church in Ráckeve is Hungary’s only Byzantine liturgy, late Gothic-style church building. The nave was consecrated sometime around 1487. It has two side chapels, one of which (the eastern one) is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, the other of which (the western one) is dedicated to Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian. They were both built in the early 16th century. The walls of the church were painted on three occasions: first in the 16th century, then at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, and then from 1765 to 1771. On this last occasion, the artists arrived from Moskhopolis and the surrounding area. Their leader was a man named Theodor Szimeonov Gruntović. The group consisted of three to five painters, wood carvers and a few auxiliary artisans.

The image of the Mother of God is found in the center of the chairs, icons and paintings of Mary’s throne, next to the image of Christ. The most common image types emphasize Mary’s importance as the Mother of God, her status as a queen, and her role as a mediator. The three scenes in the northwestern corner of the pronaos depict the life of the Mother of God. The post-Byzantine-style paintings of the 18th century show the influences of the Baroque as well.

Németh, István

The Naked Truth: Old Testament Figures in Compromising Situations

The basic aim of representations of Scriptural subjects in the fine arts is to convey theological and moral messages to the viewer. However, the Old Testament scenes that are most frequently depicted in Renaissance and Baroque paintings and prints are in many cases explicitly provocative and eroticized. The very seductive scenes of Susanna and the Elders arouse bawdy rather than lofty thoughts in the viewer, and this leads to the question of whether Susanna – depicted in these pictures as an irresistibly attractive Old Testament Venus – actually fits the Scriptural model of a woman as the embodiment of morality, chastity and marital fidelity.

Nyerges, Gabriella

Supplement for the Musical Prosody of Pange lingua

Around 1930 the Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály used St. Thomas Aquinas’s Latin hymn for his own work entitled Pange lingua. At the same time the Hungarian poet Mihály Babits translated many Medieval Latin hymns to Hungarian, including Pange lingua, which were published in his poetry volume entitled Amor Sanctus. Could the composer and the poet know each other’s work? Kodály’s book collection did not include the volume by Babits and there is no sign in his letters that he knew about it. In the melodies by Kodály the prosody of the text played an important role: the musical prosody never turned against the original forms of the poems, on the contrary, the adaptations revealed the musicality of the poems themselves. My initial suggestion was that perhaps Kodály had deliberately enclosed the Hungarian translation to the Latin original. Bilingualism was not unfamiliar to him, which is clear from the fact that his folk song adaptation Énekszó was published together with both the Hungarian and English texts. However, Kodály’s first edition of Pange lingua did not include a Hungarian translation, so he certainly did not propose to sing the Hungarian version of the text. The Hungarian translation by Babits appeared in the print versions of the sheet music only from the 1960s. Although the Hungarian version could be sung along the melody as an experiment, but it was merely composed in order to help understanding the Latin original’s form and content.

Páli, Attila

Attempts to Express the State of Mystical Union in Works of Saint Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross

The mystical experience was always part of the interests of theologians, philosophers, artists and scientists, as it is a phenomenon, which seems to be part of the fundamental characteristic of the human. And still there are invincible difficulties around this topic, as the researcher of this question can base his investigation only on reports of mystical authors, who at the same time mention frequently that they cannot formulate this experience in adequate language. The structural peculiarities of the linguistic instrument will have exerted a modifying effect upon the texts explorable by the researcher. Still the mystics do not give up the efforts to document these impressions noticing the boundaries of the language. In this study I try to demonstrate how the inexpressible mystical experience disrupts the structure of the common language and common logical thinking, and what alternate, poetic technics are induced by it. The experience reaches beyond the limits of the normal sense, so it generates typically paradoxical, irrational, surreal images, and the analysis of the structure of these images can bring us closer to reveal the nature of this phenomenon. My study is based on theoretical texts of Saint Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross which dealing with the possibilities of the language, and their poems, which were created under the influence of the mystic experience.

Prontvai, Vera

An Attempt to Outline the Composition of the Liturgical Theater

In this essay I explore the concept of liturgical theater introduced by János Pilinszky. I also offer an analysis of the play entitled Tanítványok (“Disciples”), which was produced by András Visky and Gábor Tompa, in the course of which I identify the characteristic features of liturgical theater in light of the motif of the search for truth. The liturgical theater in András Visky’s work is a unique alloy of dramaturgy reminiscent of Beckett, the mystery play and barrack dramaturgy. The structure of the drama is built around a series of homilies in which notions of memory and precision are tools for exploring the truth. The special language of the play is reflected in the search for meaning in the juxtaposition of the different meanings. My study of the characteristics of liturgical theater deals with the special question of the search for identity, the choice of language, the traditions of ritual theater, and a comparison of the Holy Mass and the theater.

Rácsok, Gabriella

Film and Theology in Conversation on the Silence of God

on the Basis of Ingmar Bergman’s Winter Light

This study is an attempt to engage in a theological dialogue with the second film of Ingmar Bergman’s “Silence of God” trilogy, Winter Light [literally “The Communicants”]. In the course of the conversation, I apply Czech theologian Ivana Noble’s so-called “translation rules”. Accordingly, I first take a look at the film itself: the choice of genre, the known intention of the director, the means of expression and the cinematographic solutions. Since Bergman uses specifically theological themes and questions to create a film in Winter Light, theological reflection becomes possible. I describe the theological questions behind the characters’ religious experiences (sin, various images of god, love, faith, community, God’s silence etc.) and reflect on and reconsider these themes in my own language, with occasional references to Protestant theologians such as Bonhoeffer, Tillich and Pannenberg. The essay concludes with a reference to Bergman as a portrayer of horizontal transcendence, either of “transcendence as alterity” or of “radical immanence”, and I offer two kinds of encounters with the film for the audience.

Reinhardt, Melinda – Vass, Zoltán

Archetypal Meanings of the Road and the Symbolism

of Projective Road Drawings.

Personal and Transcendent Dimensions in the Psychology

of Visual Expression

In this study, we examine the symbolic meanings the road and the journey. The road is an archetypal symbol, a universal phenomenon, therefore it can be a fundamental principle in the interpretation of human life and ontological experiences. The potential meanings of the road are framed in the tradition and current trends of the analysis of symbols in the psychology of visual expression. We consider the road as a life-symbol, a transcendent and transpersonal emblem, an interface between God and mortals, and a symbol of self-knowledge and self-development. We explain, moreover, how the concept of an inner and sacrificial road and journey find manifestation in architecture. Finally, the study presents the personal and transpersonal aspects of the analysis of projective road drawings. It becomes clearly apparent that an understanding of the universal meanings of an archetypal topos can further help a nuanced interpretation of the psychological implications of drawings, in this case the interpretation of projective road drawings.

Schiller, Vera

Rituals Represented in the Dramas of Euripides

Data regarding contemporary rites play an important role in the tragedies of Euripides, playing parts as preceding factors, consequences or associated features to the drama. These are communicated to the audience as either methods of deus ex machina, or by gods appearing in the prologue, or by one of the dramatis personae, or else by the chorus. The data mentioned may be the descriptions of 1. ritual celebrations, 2. ritual worship of certain locations, 3. sacred traditions. These do not constitute a large part of the drama itself, but they appear very frequently. They may not be conspicuous as obvious references to today’s readers and theatre audience, but they were very well known and relevant to the author’s contemporaries, and as such, they served to create a link between the sacred places and the plot of the drama. Consequently, the appearance of the rituals is deeply rooted in the works of Euripides. The study attempts to enumerate and categorise these moments, analysing the importance of each in forming or terminating the plot of the tragedy.

Sepsi, Enikő

“Saintly” Dramaturgy in the Theater of Valère Novarina

Valère Novarina’s theatrical work is based on a circular dramaturgy in which saintly and profane themes and styles alternate. This organic theater tries to reach the via negative, the state in which the actor is a vehicle (to use the term introduced by Grotowski), an empty vessel that bears the creative word and breaths new life into it in each production. The hidden Easter liturgy of the creative word (LOGOS) in space (Acte inconnu, Avignon) is the basic dramaturgy of Novarina’s theatrical work, which, on the other hand, follows the French tradition of the theater of words.

Valère Novarina’s writerly practice, his essays accompanying his work on stage (ex. Pour en finir avec le sacré) draw a distinction, with the use of an important linguistic and philosophical apparatus, between the closed term “sacral” and the term “saintly,” which is considered more open.

This essay deals with the play Opérette imaginaire, which has been translated into Hungarian and was performed in Debrecen (in the Csokonai Színház) in 2008, as well as in Paris Odéon in 2010 (directed by Valère Novarina and Adélaïde Pralon). I examine how religio and the concepts and expressive forms on the stage of “saintly” and “profane” are interlinked in Novarina’s oeuvre.

Spannraft, Marcellina

Christian Symbols and Connotations in Contemporary

Hungarian Haiku Poetry

Haiku poetry comes from the 17th century Japan. Its history is inseparable from Zen Buddhism. In spite of this, haiku is very popular not only in Japan, but in Hungary as well. Some Hungarian haiku poets follow the classical Japanese way, but some of them follow the Christian tradition in writing. The author has examined a large text corpus (30,000 poems), and has collected different kinds of Christian symbols and connotations in season words (kigo): Christian holidays, sacred places, prayer-forms etc. „Life is a path”. This cognitive basic metaphor occurs not only in koan or zen haiku, but in Hungarian, Christian poetry as well. This paper also deals with the parallels between the Buddhist ethical and aesthetic categories (sabi, shiori and hosomi) and the principles of the New Testament, appearing in some Hungarian haiku poems.

Szántó, István

Votive – Representations of Religious Objects of Folk Culture in the Fine Arts

The subject of this essay is votive objects in the fine arts. In the course of my creative work, I have always been preoccupied with the transmission of mystic power – in the material objects and artifacts of folk culture – created along with votive objects. My interest in this subject was inspired by personal experience. A close relative of mine had a serious heart operation. For his recovery, I made several votive works, the first of which was my composition entitled “Viaszágy” (Wax Bed). I will present this work in detail, including a discussion of my fundamental conception and my use of materials.

How are the objects of folk arts and the folk religious world present in contemporary art? For me, it is self-evident that the study of the material culture of folklore is part of the study of the Hungarian fine arts, though I am also interested in the role of folklore in the fine arts of other nations. In this essay I examine the roles of the memories of folk culture and the ways in which they should be subsequently included, used or correctly quoted in new works. The essence of my works is the metamorphosis of folk motifs in the fine arts.

Száz, Pál

“The Hasidic bleeding Jesus Child”

Reading Strategies of Cultural Ambivalence, Hybridity and Mimicry

in the Works of Szilárd Borbély Splendors of Death and While the Holy

Infant is Sleeping in our Hearts

The present study analyzes two works of Szilárd Borbély (The Splendours of Death, While the Holy Infant is Sleeping in our Hearts) which can be characterized as culturally syncretic textual structures, due to using borrowed motifs from Christianity and Judaism, specifically Hasidism. According to the postcolonial theory of Homi K. Bhabha published in his monography The Location of Culture, these texts can be identified as cultural hybrid texts. Examples of mimicry are also present (as in the case of Three Kings, it is clearly shown that they represent the disguise of three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). The theory of hybridization is also useful for the interpretation of borrowed motifs. In some cases, parallelization of similar motifs in both traditions can be found (Shekhina and Virgin Mary). The most interesting case is the textual incorporation of the elements which are mutual Jewish–Christian cultural codes, like the motif of messiah, one of the most remarkable motifs in the works of Szilárd Borbély.

Tóth, Sára

Gates of Life: the Nuptial Metaphor in Some of T. S. Eliot Major Poems

Offering an alternative to current scholarly analysis on T. S. Eliot’s work which is dominated by gender studies and psychoanalysis, the present paper offers to uncover some of the reasons for the ongoing ability of T. S. Eliot’s poems to influence readers and provide spiritual inspiration. It is increasingly realized that our culture is characterized by ‘interiorization of religion’, rather than secularization. Institutional religion is increasingly replaced by spirituality, which aspires to transcend the dualism of body and spirit and can be defined as a ‘reaching out’ of the whole person towards realities which transcend the world of the senses. In the same vein, Paul Ricoeur argues that in a reader-centred, hermeneutical approach the nuptial metaphor of the Bible becomes an intersecting metaphor in which the divine or mystical and the human meanings of love mutually interpret or ‘intersignify’ one another in what he calls metaphorical interplay. Applying the hermeneutical perspectives of Ricoeur and Northrop Frye I set out to show how, in spite of Eliot’s troubled relationship with the body and sexuality, it is possible to read his images of sexual love on the one hand and of mystical or divine union on the other as ‘intersecting metaphors’, mutually interpreting and reinforcing each other.

Törőcsik, Attila

Thoughts on the Pragmatic Dimensions of Sacral Music

How far do the boundaries of the sacred stretch? What makes us consider music sacred, and who decides which works of music fall into this category? Is there such a thing as a “universal sacred”, or does this depend on culture? These questions have remained unanswered for centuries. Churches and art historians at one time regarded themselves as able to offer answers, yet they forgot the most important thing: the attitudes of the receiver. In this essay I examine the topic from the perspective of pragmatics and the viewpoint of the receiver in the hope that this will help bring different opinions and notions of this religious and artistic question closer to one another.

Várkonyi, Borbála

The Form of Love in Dante’s Works

In the course of the essay my aim is to draw attention to the possible connection between the notions of „love” and „form” in the works of Dante Alighieri. My special focus is on The Divine Comedy, more precisely on the Paradiso, regarding the fact that both the „form” of the beloved Beatrice and the „form” of the universe are being seen by Dante simultaneously. First I give a short overview of the notion of form and love looking back to the Greek antiquity, which is followed by an analysis of passages from Dante’s works, such as the Letter to Can Grande della Scala, the Vita Nuova and the Convivio to point out the usage of form as a philosophical term in Dante’s way of thinking. Therefore we could distinguish three kinds of interpretation of form: one refers to a poetical sense, one refers again to the soul/mind, and the third reveals the inner connection of the Holy Trinity. The essay’s main question is how these interpretations could be combined; what does it mean to see Beatrice as a kind of „form of love”, and to see the realm of divinity, and, at last, the Holy Trinity? My argument is that The Divine Comedy creates a new way of seeing forms (we could think of it as a theological/mystical vision), in which the form of love is seen as the form of the Holy Trinity.

Zsoldos, Emese

„Death is the kiss of God”

Imaginations and Visions in the Rembrandt-text by Sandor Brody (1924)

Sandor Brody believed in the anthrophomorphous interpretation of the Talmud philosophers: „Death is the kiss of God.” This essay is going to examine how formation of Death’s mode of existence has manifested itself in Brody’s Rembrandt-text written in the 1920s. The prose work entitled Rembrandt. A portrait in light and shadow published after the author’s death in 1924 consists of two forewords and 29 short stories. The Rembrandt-text focuses on aspects of the literary form’s definition and in this context on problems of the relation between the author/narrator and the title-role. The statements in Brody’s confession-like forewords as well as the prose-poetical characteristics of the text have made it possible to be interpreted as an art novel, a fictive biography, a hidden autobiographical construction or a cultic phenomenon like an initiatory artistic rite. In this essay, in order to avoid the uncertain field of the literary form’s definition, I am trying to explain the complex phenomenon of the death-concept appearing in the text, which is linked to Jewish and Christian sacral traditions as well as the enterity of suppositions, emotions and actions. The view and display of Brody’s Rembrandt-figure comes in the form of visions: „he was charmed by visions and his entire work ends in a vision”, and in pictures which are present in the narrative in a way (by means of recollection, evoking, visualization) that they inevitably call readers to an associative cooperation.