Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion by Kelly BulkeleyBig Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion by Kelly Bulkeley

Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of Religion

byKelly Bulkeley

Hardcover | March 30, 2016

Pricing and Purchase Info

$30.52 online 
$32.95 list price save 7%
Earn 153 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Big dreams are rare but highly memorable dream experiences that make a strong and lasting impact on the dreamer's waking awareness. Moving far beyond "I forgot to study and the finals are today" and other common scenarios, such dreams can include vivid imagery, intense emotions, fantasticcharacters, and an uncanny sense of being connected to forces beyond one's ordinary dreaming mind. In Big Dreams, Kelly Bulkeley provides the first full-scale cognitive scientific analysis of such dreams, putting forth an original theory about their formation, function, and meaning.Big dreams have played significant roles in religious and cultural history, but because of their infrequent occurrence and fantastical features, they have rarely been studied in light of modern science. We know a great deal about the religious manifestations of big dreams throughout history andaround the world, but until now that cross-cultural knowledge has never been integrated with scientific research on their psychological roots in the brain-mind system. In Big Dreams, Bulkeley puts a classic psychological thesis to the scientific test by clarifying and improving it with better data,sharper analysis, and a broader evolutionary framework. He brings evidence from multiple sources, shows patterns of similarity and difference, questions prior assumptions, and provides predictive models that can be applied to new sets of data. The notion of a connection between dreaming and religionhas always been intuitively compelling; Big Dreams transforms it into a solid premise of religious studies and brain-mind science. Combining evidence from religious studies, psychology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience, Big Dreams makes a compelling argument that big dreams are a primal wellspring of religious experience. They represent an innate, neurologically hard-wired capacity of our species thatregularly provokes greater self-awareness, creativity, and insight into the existential challenges and spiritual potentials of human life.
Kelly Bulkeley is Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He is former President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Senior Editor of the APA journal Dreaming, and author of Dreaming in the World's Religions (2008).
Title:Big Dreams: The Science of Dreaming and the Origins of ReligionFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.1 × 0.91 inPublished:March 30, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199351538

ISBN - 13:9780199351534

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

IntroductionSection I. Sleep1. The evolution of sleep2. The brain's paradoxical activities in sleep3. The role of sleep in human health and development4. Cultural practices of sleep through historySection II. Ordinary Dreaming5. Dream recall6. Patterns in from and content7. Continuities between dreaming and waking life8. Discontinuities and metaphorsSection III. Big Dreams9. Aggressive10. Sexual11. Gravitational12. MysticalSection IV. Religious Experiences13. Demonic attack14. Prohpetic vision15. Ritual healing16. Contemplative practiceConclusionAppendix: Word search methods in the study of dreamsIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Bulkeley's highly original contribution approaches dreaming from its most intense and transformative varieties, avoiding the more normative but less consequential dreaming as illustrated daydream. This allows us to better understand both the prominent place of dream studies in the history ofpsychology and how it is that such dreams have played a major role in the cultural origins of human spirituality." --Harry T. Hunt, author of On the Nature of Consciousness and Lives in Spirit