Stances on Sleep and Dreaming in the Athanasian Corpus

Doru Costache, PhD
Senior Lecturer
St Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College

Abstract: The Athanasian corpus offers rich information in relation to sleep and dreaming, which currently is either ignored or misinterpreted. The complex approach of the Alexandrian father emerges in a range of contradictory stances on sleep and dreaming, sometimes depicted, positively, as natural phenomena and at times warned against because of the challenges they entail. This paper undertakes to bring to the fore the richness of the Athanasian views by pointing out the need for a comprehensive approach able to account for both kinds of stances. To that end, various Athanasian writings are analysed, the findings being assessed in the light of the saint’s realistic appraisal of human nature, through the lens of ascetic theology, and in the perspective of spiritual transformation within the experience of holiness.