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May 2022

Our unacknowledged ancestors: dream theorists of antiquity, the middle ages, and the renaissance

Journal/Book: Psychiatr J Univ Ott. 1990; 15: 117-22.

Abstract: Exploring the dream world from a modern, or post-modern, perspective, especially through the lens of contemporary technologies, often leads us as researchers to see ourselves as engaged in a new and revolutionary discourse. In fact, this self-image is a profoundly ahistorical one, because it ignores the contributions of ancient, medieval and Renaissance oneirologists who wrote extensively, albeit in different terms and images of lucidity, prerecognition, day residue, wish fulfillment, incubation, problem solving, REM, obe, and the collective unconscious. There are also analogues in these early accounts to anxiety, recurrent, mirror, telepathic, shared, flying, and death dreams. Dream interpretation through music, analysis of dream as narrative, sophisticated theories about memory and language and symbolization are all part of the tradition. Further, early texts pose many issues in sleep and dream research which are not currently being pursued. We dream workers of the late twentieth century should therefore fortify ourselves with knowledge of the oneiric past as one important way to enhance our dream work in the twenty-first century.

Keyword(s): Dreams. History of Medicine, Ancient. History of Medicine, Medieval. History of Medicine, 16th Cent.. History of Medicine, 17th Cent.. Human. Psychological Theory


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