The Interpretation of Dreams and Portents in Antiquity

The Interpretation of Dreams and Portents in Antiquity

The Interpretation of Dreams and Portents in Antiquity

The Interpretation of Dreams and Portents in Antiquity


Mankind's awesome fascination with dreams and the occult is ageless. Collected for the first time are translations of some of the basic works used by ancient seers. Here, in their own words, are their interpretations of dreams, unraveling of signs, and their views on the significance of many kinds of unusual occurrences. Of interest to psychiatrists, psychologists, classicists, and historians of religion.


Mankind's awesome fascination with manifestations that pass understanding is ageless. We like to think of the past two centuries as an Age of Enlightenment, and there is no doubt that the era has been characterized by pervasive advances in all branches of knowledge. But those advances have had a negative sociopolitical concomitant, one that has, if anything, been aggravated in the two decades since this book first appeared. the spectacular technological [revolution] of recent years has deepened the chasm between cognoscenti and outsiders. To the latter, a large majority, these new developments widi their accompanying apparatus are mysti- fying, magical. Meanwhile, even sober newspapers are among the many that con- tinue to cosset the irrational with daily astrology columns and horoscopes.

Were these irrationalities dismissible as the concerns of the ignorant and un- educated, that might offer some comfort. But that comfort is not available. the so-called Unabomber, much in the headlines in recent years, writes to the press that he has no [desire to hurt professors who study archaeology, history, literature, or harmless stuff like that. the people we are out to get are the scientists and engineers.]

On the Op-Ed page of The New York Times of July 9, 1995, a professor of physics reminds us:

Growing numbers of people distrust the technology on which they depend, and
reject the Western scientific tradition that created it. It is a romantic rebellion, led
not by the religious fundamentalist who are the traditional foes of science, but by
serious academics and writers who regard themselves as intellectuals.

They range from the environmental extremist Jeremy Rifkin, who sees disaster
in every new technology, to a University of Delaware philosophy professor, Sandra
Harding, who argues that the laws of physics were constructed to maintain white
male dominance…

There is also a resurgence of belief in magic and psychic phenomena, which
has spread to all levels of society…[and] something called 'biofield therapeutics.'
Biofield therapeutics, it seems, manipulate the patient's [aura], scooping off any
negative energy. a patient in a Midwestern hospital reportedly complained after a
careless biofield practitioner, working on someone in the next bed, scooped some
negative energy onto him.

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