This volume is an intriguing and subtle study of five Genesis dreams—Abimelech's (20:1–18), Jacob's (28:10–22; 31:10–13), Laban's (31:24) and Abraham's (15:1–21). Like many of their ancient Near Eastern counterparts all occur at times of uncertainty, concern status, and emphasize divine involvement in human affairs. At a deeper level, they also address doubts arising from God's promise of land, descendants, and a unique role for Israel among the nations. Their particular treatment of relations between Israelites and non-Israelites, and of Israel's absence from the land points to the Babylonian Exile as the background against which the patriarchal dream texts achieved their present form. Revisions of the Night shows how dreams combine the highly personal with the ardently political in an inspired response to national crisis.
Diana Lipton is a Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge and an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.