Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Bibliography on Dreams

We daffers are currently in the middle of what Prof. Avraham Weiss ז"ל called "מסכת החלומות". The equivalent passage in the Yerushalmi is in מעשר שני, פרק ד הלכה ו. Perhaps some ReclaimingTheDaffers would be interested in reading some of the articles that modern חוֹקְרִים have written on the topic of these “dream-books”.

A quick search on RAMBI for “Talmud AND dreams” yielded the following results. I have not had a chance to actually see any of these articles, so I cannot vouch for their quality. However, I have heard Prof. Richard Kalmin (author of article #3 on the list) lecture on the topic, and I can assure you that his lecture was interesting.
(Kalmin argued that in ארץ ישראל, the land of the Yerushalmi, it was acceptable for rabbis to interpret dreams, whereas in Babylonia, this was not considered appropriate. This is why the Bavli hates Bar Haddaya so much. Part of the reason that the Babylonian rabbis, both Amoraim and Stammaim, wrote so many dream “translations” into this מסכת חלומות was that they wanted to put people like Bar Haddaya out of business.)


1. Alexander, Philip S. Bavli. “Berakhot 55a-57b; the talmudic dreambook in context.” Journal of Jewish Studies 46 (1995). 230-248

2. Spero, Moshe Halevi. “Dream psychology in talmudic thought.” PAOJS 3-4 (1976). 123-132

3. Kalmin, Richard Lee. “Dreams and dream interpreters.” Sages, Stories, Authors, and Editors in Rabbinic Babylonia (1994). 61-80

4. Neusner, Jacob. “In the view of rabbinic Judaism, what, exactly, ended with prophecy?” Mediators of the Divine (1998). 45-60

5. Koet, Bart Jan. “ ‘Sag lieber, dass er diesen Traum positiv deuten soll’; über die Traumdeutung nach einem rabbinischen Traumbuch (Babylonischer Talmud Berachot 55-57).” Kirche und Israel 17,2 (2002). 133-149

6. Ulmer, Rivka. “The semiotics of the dream sequence in Talmud Yerushalmi Ma`aser Sheni.” Henoch 23,2-3 (2001). 305-323

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