Different dreams: Two models of interpretation for three pairs of dreams (Genesis 37-50)

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It is generally agreed that the motif of dream-pairs is one of the unifying elements of the Joseph narrative. Each scene in question features not one dream but two. Different theories have been proposed regarding the contribution of these dream-pairs to the narrative, and regarding the relationship between the dreams of each pair. Joseph interprets the Pharaoh's two dreams as "one and the same," but he presents a different interpretation for each of the ministers' dreams. The narrative does not explicitly indicate whether Joseph's own dreams share a meaning or have separate meanings; indeed, there are different scholarly approaches to this question. This article proposes that the relationship between Joseph's dreams is a fundamental question in the narrative, and the two models presented later in the story are two possible interpretations between which Joseph himself has the power to choose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-732
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biblical Literature
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016


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