Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dream reports

Throughout the sacred writings we found reports of dreams. Josephus who rewrote these sacred writings included numerous dream reports. What is interesting is that, with the exception of the Gospel of Matthew, we do not found these reports in the New Testament. Earlier I had noted that Josephus seems to state his belief in “the cessation of prophecy” yet he asserts that he like the prophets is able to interpret dreams. It seems to me that Josephus says that the true prophets are able to interpret dreams and predict the future. Josephus may in fact be commenting on the general lack of dream reports in the New Testament and the absence on any interpretation of dreams by Jesus, the prophet like Moses and Elijah. Neither Moses nor Elijah interpreted dreams.

Josephus considered Daniel to be one of the greatest prophets. Joseph, the man who interpreted the dreams of the Pharaoh, also receives favorable mention. Josephus like Daniel and Joseph could interpret dreams.

Deuteronomy 13 contains a warning that “you shall not listen . . . to that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” This suggests that the ability to interpret dreams is not always the sign of a true prophet. Jeremiah warned the people against those “that prophesy false dreams.” Jude warns that filthy dreamers defile the flesh. It appears that by the time of the first century the ability to interpret dreams may have been a questionable talent. But Peter declares “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

These findings would not be remarkable but for the fact that Josephus used words like “chosen,” “sent,” “messenger,” “minister” and “inspired” in reference to himself. It is clear that Josephus utilized numerous literary and rhetorical devices to elevate himself. Did he also do so to distinguish himself from Jesus who is one of the reasons Josephus rewrote sacred scriptures?

This is a work in progress.

Copyrighted 2008


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