Dodson interprets the dreams in the "Gospel of Matthew" in the context of the social and literary character of dreams in the Greco-Roman world. Dodson reads the dreams in the "Gospel of Matthew" (1:18b-25; 2:12, 13-15, 19-21, 22; 27:19) as the authorial audience. This approach requires an understanding of the social and literary character of dreams in the Greco-Roman world. Dodson describes the social function of dreams, noting that dreams constituted one form of divination in the ancient world, and looks at the theories and classification of dreams that developed in the ancient world. He then moves on to demonstrate the literary dimensions of dreams in Greco-Roman literature. This exploration of the literary representation of dreams is nuanced by considering the literary form of dreams, dreams in the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition, the inventiveness of literary dreams, and the literary function of dreams. The dreams in the "Gospel of Matthew" are then analyzed in this social and literary context. It is demonstrated that Matthew's use of dreams as a literary convention corresponds to the script of dreams in other Greco-Roman narratives.This correspondence includes the form of the Matthean dreams, dreams as a motif of the birth topos (1:18b-25), the association of dreams and prophecy (1:22-23; 2:15, 23), the use of the double-dream report (2:12 and 2:13-15), and dreams as an ominous sign in relation to an individual's death (27:19). An appendix considers the Matthean transfiguration as a dream-vision report. Formerly the "Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement", a book series that explores the many aspects of New Testament study including historical perspectives, social-scientific and literary theory, and theological, cultural and contextual approaches. "The Early Christianity in Context" series, a part of "JSNTS", examines the birth and development of early Christianity up to the end of the third century CE. The series places Christianity in its social, cultural, political and economic context. European Seminar on Christian Origins and "Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus Supplement" are also part of "JSNTS".
Reading Dreams by Derek S. Dodson was published by Continuum in June 2009. The ISBN for Reading Dreams is 9780567577702.