Cultural and religious understandings of dreaming and its interpretation in the first millennium are of enduring relevance to modern religious conflict. Yet, the development of dream theory from Jewish to Christian to Muslim sources has never been traced, although dream interpretation has been commonly recognised as a rich part of western culture and society from Classical Antiquity to the present day (s.v. ‘Dreams’ in Hornblower and Spawforth 2012). Due to their essentially private nature, dreams were never successfully brought under control by Christian or Muslim authorities. Attempts to regulate the dream life of early Christians and Muslims, and to use the dreams of its outstanding cultural figures as tools of social or religious control, have enduring relevance, and show the common cultural roots of Jewish, Christian and Muslim dream interpretation.
By its anticipated outcomes, the proposed project will advance the knowledge base of several disciplines, namely those of classical literature; late antique literature; early Islamic literature; and the social, cultural and religious history of the first millennium CE. No previous scholarship has brought together classical, Jewish, Christian and early Islamic texts on dreams and dream interpretation, or focused on their legitimisation of inter-religious violence.