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Dreams and Visions in the Early Middle Ages
The Reception and Use of Patristic Ideas, 400–900


Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107442658

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About the Authors
  • Dreams and visions played important roles in the Christian cultures of the early Middle Ages. But not only did tradition and authoritative texts teach that some dreams were divine: some also pointed out that this was not always the case. Exploring a broad range of narrative sources and manuscripts, Jesse Keskiaho investigates how the teachings of Augustine of Hippo and Pope Gregory the Great on dreams and visions were read and used in different contexts. Keskiaho argues that the early medieval processes of reception in a sense created patristic opinion about dreams and visions, resulting in a set of authoritative ideas that could be used both to defend and to question reports of individual visionary experiences. This book is a major contribution to discussions about the intellectual place of dreams and visions in the early Middle Ages, and underlines the creative nature of early medieval engagement with authoritative texts.

    • A comprehensive overview of how dreams and visions were narrated in the early Middle Ages, and the influence of their author and intended audience
    • Presents a detailed investigation of the reception of Augustine of Hippo's and Gregory the Great's ideas about dreams and visions in their manuscript contexts
    • Brings together narratives and theological writings, presenting a nuanced overview of the place of dreams and visions in early medieval learned cultures
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107442658
    • length: 339 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Dreams in hagiography and other narratives
    3. Dreams and apparitions: patristic ideas and their reception
    4. The epistemology of visions: the reception of Augustine on the three visiones
    Epilogue: dreams and visions in early medieval thought
    Appendix: the pre-tenth-century manuscripts of the main works discussed

  • Author

    Jesse Keskiaho, University of Helsinki
    Jesse Keskiaho completed his doctorate in General History in 2013 at the University of Helsinki. His research interests focus on the intellectual and religious history of the Latin West in the early Middle Ages, particularly manuscript culture. He spent the academic year 2014–15 as a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge, pursuing a study of the early medieval annotations to Augustine's De Genesi ad litteram. Beyond his main area of study, he has collaborated in the study and digitisation of the medieval parchment fragments of the National Library in Helsinki, and co-ordinated the Codices Fennici project for the Finnish Literary Society, cataloguing and planning the digitisation of all medieval and sixteenth-century manuscripts copied or used in Finland. He has also participated in a project of the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, researching oracles and divination in the ancient world. He spent the academic year 2005–6 at the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae as the Wihuri postgraduate fellow. From 2006 to 2013 he served on the board of Glossa, the Society for Medieval Studies in Finland; from 2012 to 2013 as the president of the society. Since 2006 he has been the editor-in-chief of Mirator, a peer-reviewed online journal devoted to medieval studies.

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