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

About the author(s)

Pieter van der Zwan, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa


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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Crossref Citations

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