Oneiric Foundations of Philosophy: Saint Augustine

Abstract

The aim of my article is to highlight the way in which dreams have influenced or prefigured Saint Augustine’s conversion to Christianity. Starting from the autobiographical writing Confessions Augustine is paradigmatic in developing what may be defined as “an oneiric autobiography”. In Christianity dreams have been associated with heresy being subject of demonic influence, in this sense, what is revealed in a dream should be treated with utmost caution. Augustine’s perspective shows that dreams may have a different significance; they might also predict a future benign choice or path to follow, such as his conversion to Christianity. The way in which one will perceive the concept of dreaming will be radically shifted among Christian approaches due to Augustine’s Confessions. Dreaming has never been more interesting after this.

Keywords: Saint Augustine, dreams, Christian philosophy, Neo-Platonism, conversion


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