Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dreams in the ANE and the Joseph story

PROF. JACK M. SASSON: Joseph and the Dreams of Many Colors. Understanding the practice of dream interpretation in the Joseph story by using the ANE interpretive traditions as background (
Dreams across Centuries

Millennia before Sigmund Freud penned his classic work Die Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams, 1899) and long before the 2nd century CE professional diviner, Artemidorus of Daldis, distilled centuries of traditions on dream interpretation into his Oneirocritica,[1] people in the Ancient Near East had cultivated a strong interest in dreams and their interpretations. From the Freudian perspective, dreams are an expression of a person’s subconscious, and they teach us about a person’s inner life.

In antiquity, however, a dream was understood as a message from a deity, often reflecting an issue of importance to an entire community. In fact, in the conception of the ancients, a dream could affect many people beyond its recipient. Thus, in the ANE, a process of evaluating dreams developed, which included the following investigations: their viability, their veracity, their import, and their fulfillment.

Some background on dreams and dream interpretation in antiquity is in yesterday's post here (and links) and also here, here, here, here, and here. And then there's the story of my own revelatory dream here.