The afterlife of a dream and the ritual system of the Epidaurian Asklepieion

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Abstract

This study looks at the ways that the healing inscriptions at the Epidauran Asklepieion transfer the private experience of a supplicant into the public realm of the life of the sanctuary. This process imbues the individual dream with a potential for influence that can honor the god in unforeseen ways well into the future. The study then examines the role of one god, MnÄ"mosyne, in the afterlife of the dream in order to gain an appreciation of the overall ritual system at the Asklepieion. It will be argued that MnÄ"mosyne plays a key role ritually not just in preserving the memory of the dream for the individual, but also in intellectually ordering the mind for the dreamer to articulate the dream to the sanctuary officials, in enabling the construction and inscription of the account for public display, and in creating opportunities for others to honor Asklepios well into the future and well beyond Epidaurus. MnÄ"mosynes involvement at the Epidauran Asklepieion attests to a complex ritual system of human action within a perceived divine group-effort to benefit the divine and human worlds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalArchiv fur Religionsgeschichte
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 26 2014
Externally publishedYes

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