Genesis Dreams: Using a Private, Psychological Event as a Cultural, Political Declaration

Ariel Knafo*, Tziporit Glick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The article examines the role of the 13 dreams in the book of Genesis. The dreams are first shortly described (following Gnuse, 1984, and Oppenheim, 1956) in their historical context: the Near-East of over 3000 years ago. The structure of some of the dreams is then discussed and compared to dreams from another historical period, that of modern Jewish Moroccan pilgrims (Bilu & Abramovitch, 1985), whose faith is based largely on the Bible. Following this discussion of the structure, the message of the dreams, regarding both the near future, and the remote, national future, is described. The article discusses the argument that all these dreams serve the purpose of establishing a common national identity, which has been historically the basis of Jewish faith. Possible reasons for using dreams in conveying the message are then discussed. The article ends with a discussion on the declining importance of the dream in the post-Genesis Bible.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Bible
  • Culture and dreams
  • History
  • Judaism
  • Visitational dreams


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