Dr Bronwen Neil from Centre for Early Christian Studies, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, has been awarded an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for 2014-2018, totalling $843,000. The title of the project is Dreams, Prophecy and Violence from Early Christianity to the Rise of Islam.
The project aims to uncover the common roots of Christian and Islamic dream interpretation. It will reveal common themes in dream literature from pagan and Jewish antiquity to early Christianity and early Islam, and show how dreams and prophecy have been used to increase religious control, and to justify violence since Late Antiquity.
With its focus on an ARC-targeted research area - Understanding Culture and Communities - the project will benefit Australia by building intercultural understanding between contemporary Jews, Christians and Muslims. It will stress the common cultural roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by uncovering the crucial role of dreams and prophecy in increasing the authority of religious leaders, and the use of dreams to justify inter-religious violence.
The project funding lasts for four years, and includes a Level E salary (research only) alongside short trips to the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Centre in Washington DC (Harvard University) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Centre for the Study of Christianity.