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Lorand, S. (1957). Dream Interpretation in the Talmud—(Babylonian and Graeco-Roman Period). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:92-97.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:92-97

Dream Interpretation in the Talmud—(Babylonian and Graeco-Roman Period)

Sandor Lorand

In surveying the scientific literature on dreams Freud remarked on the attitude toward dreams which prevailed during classical antiquity: 'They took it as axiomatic that dreams were connected with the world of superhuman beings in whom they believed and that they were revelations from gods and daemons' (1). In the present study I wish to present the thinking of the Hebrews of that same period with regard to the meaning of dreams. Their attitudes and beliefs about the origin, meaning, and interpretation of dreams are embodied in the Babylonian Talmud, which was compiled during the period extending from 200 B.C. to about A.D. 300, which may be referred to as the Graeco-Roman Period.

The Talmud is a compilation of the contributions of over 2, 000 scholars from various countries, principally Palestine and Babylon. These contributions date from 450 B.C. to about A.D. 500. The Talmud, containing some 6, 000 folio pages, is divided into the Palestinian and the Babylonian Talmud. These two separate sets of books are referred to collectively as the Talmud. The Palestinian Talmud is the earlier; the Babylonian was compiled about 200 years later and is considerably larger than the Palestinian.

The Talmud consists of two parts: the Mishnah, containing the first codification of Jewish law since the Bible, and edited by the Patriarch Rabbi Jehuda about 200 B.C.; and the Gemara, which is a commentary on the Mishnah. The scholars of the Mishnah are called the teachers (Tannaim), and the scholars of the Gemara are known as the interpreters (Amoraim).

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