Original Research - Special Collection: Biblical Spirituality

Dreaming about the body: Daniel 2:32–35 interpreted from a psychoanalytical perspective

Pieter van der Zwan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 3 | a5095 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i3.5095 | © 2018 Pieter van der Zwan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2018 | Published: 22 November 2018

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Just as the text is layered by redactional processes and its effects by reception processes, so different meanings of the statue of a human body in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream can be psychoanalytically ‘excavated’. Following a typical psychoanalytical dream interpretation, the possibility has therefore been explored of the body referring to the king as an individual before it was reinterpreted as a societal, collective body, the latter serving as a defence against the anxiety which the former would cause. Re-experiencing these common, human, unconscious anxieties and processing them could facilitate psychological healing and health, especially in the postmodern, pluralistic and eco-threatened context, which the dream seems to adumbrate.


Daniel; body; dream; psychoanalytic; layers of meaning 


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1. The punished and the lamenting body
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HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 75  issue: 3  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v75i3.5092