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Fodor, N. (1958). People who are Christ. Psychoanal. Rev., 45A(1/2):100-119.

(1958). Psychoanalytic Review, 45A(1/2):100-119

People who are Christ

Nandor Fodor

The first time I met a man who claimed to be Jesus Christ I was without psychoanalytic experience. The man was under visible strain, his eyes darted around the room, he was suspicious and secretive. After hesitating for a while he leaned over and whispered: “I am Jesus Christ; God the Father told me this morning to visit you because you will help me regain my rightful place.”

I was completely taken aback, closed my eyes and, after a short silence, answered him: “Go back; tell the Father He has made a mistake.”

I do not know how the Father reacted to my message, but I learned later that the identification with Jesus Christ arises from a loss of the boundary line between reality and dreams. Whoever tries to act out his dream in waking life without realizing that he is dreaming is psychotic or, at least, on the way to becoming psychotic. The Christ fantasy itself yields to analysis in the same manner as do dreams.

Without ever aspiring to the august role which it suggests to others, I have found the Christ motive in my own dreams; I was in possession of the Shem, the Tetragrammaton and an attempt was made to steal it from me. 5 By patient analysis I came to the conclusion that the Christ-neurotic may have the same motive that inspired my dream: to sit on the right-hand side of the Father, since such an acceptance fantasy relieves him from incestuous guilt. In order to dissuade him from being Jesus Christ, we have to convince him that he has not committed the heinous sin of incest, that it is part of his fantasy life only and that he has to face it instead of escaping from it into a greater fantasy in waking life.

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