Dream-Visions in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dynamics of Dream-Visions Revelation in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls emerged out of my doctoral dissertation completed at McMaster University (Religious Studies, 2013). In 2016, it was awarded the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise from the University of Heidelberg. I spoke about the contributions of the book for Dead Sea Scrolls and biblical research in an interview with Ancient Jew Review.

For more on this title and to preview its contents, see its product page at Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Synopsis of The Dynamics of Dream-Visions

The potential for ongoing divine disclosure in the post-biblical world holds both great prospect and problems. The Dynamics of Dream-Vision Revelation in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls speaks into the crucial theological question of how some ancient writers and communities at once showed reverence and respect for their inherited scriptural traditions as well as ingenuity to extend their authority and message for their contemporary world by subtly infusing antique materials with “new” revelation.

By redrawing patriarchal and diaspora personae as dreamers and relating their tales with an accentuated interest in dream-vision episodes, allusions, and interpretations, writers of some twenty pre/non-sectarian texts among the Qumran library strategically opened up the tradition to hear more from the “God in heaven who reveals mysteries” (Dan 2:28). The study transcends traditional categories (i.e., Bible, Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha) and captures how texts like Daniel 2–7, Genesis Apocryphon, and Aramaic Levi Document participated in and contributed to a shared revelatory discourse for the purposes of scriptural interpretation, endorsing priestly thought and praxis, and glossing Israelite history with an apocalyptic outlook.

To illumine this important component of the Aramaic texts the book is structured around the tandem interests of describing what these dream-visions do (shared applications) and how they do it (shared compositional patterns). In addition to casting fresh light on these individual text, the volume also contributes to the ongoing debate over whether the Aramaic texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls are a cohesive corpus or accidental anthology.

Resources and Reviews

On February 23, 2016 I lectured at a joint book launch with colleagues from the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at an event entitled, “Re-Imagining the Scriptural Past in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” My talk “The Eras of Empires in Daniel and Beyond” explored the ways ancient writers ordered apocalyptic outlooks using four-kingdom chronologies. The full presentation may be viewed here and the complete program of lectures is now posted on The Dead Sea Scrolls Institute YouTube channel.

Reviews of the title have appeared in Dead Sea Discoveries, Journal of Ancient Judaism, and Journal of Theological Studies. For full bibliographic information of reviews, see curriculum vitae.

A brief media release on the Lautenschlaeger award can be found at twu.ca.

Dream-Visions in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls