Anticipations of dream psychology in the Talmud,

M.H. Spero

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Various statements throughout the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud with reference to dreams, their nature, validity, and analysis were explicated in terms of modern understandings and theories of dream psychology. Contrary to the more unsystematic categorizations of some earlier writers on the topic, the data, when carefully analyzed, imply a highly advanced conception of dreamwork. Such notions as wish‐fulfillment, distortion, repression of threatening material and some salient features of commonly accepted dream‐analysis theory were found to be anticipated by the rabbis of the Talmud. The Talmud is also shown to have a more eclectic view of the reality of dreams as opposed to older, more mythologized and spiritualized views. Both Ts also contain nonlegal or aggadic digressions. These digressions are replete with historical, medical, scientific, proverbial, religious, and moral statements. Most of the material on dream psychology gathered and presented here was culled from this aggadic body. The word Tanaic refers to an order of scholars mentioned in the T., living during the first two centuries CE. Rabbis living after this period were called amoraim. Most of the Rabbis mentioned here were tannaim. For the reader's benefit, a reliable English translation and exposition of the Talmud B. is the Soncino Press edition. All footnotes and references to the Talmud, although drawn from the original Aramaic text, apply to the pagination in this English translation as well. Copyright © 1975 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company,
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)374
JournalJournal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences,
Issue number4,
StatePublished - 1975


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