Filthy Dreamers and Scurrilous Dreams
Janine Riviere, “Filthy dreamers and scurrilous dreams”: The politics of dreams in seventeenth-century England. Proceedings of the University of Queensland History Research Group, pp. 15-22 (2001)
In seventeenth-century England the emergence of a multitude of dreams and dreamers claiming to be prophets gave rise to heated debate. In 1655, John Wilson, a minister of the ‘Church of Christ’ preached that there were too many ‘filthy dreamers’ and attempted to dissuade his parishioners from hearkening to the dreams and visions of Quakers and Seekers he believed were leading the people into apostasy and sin. Seeing dreams as aligned with prophesy and astrology, and other ‘superstitious’ and diabolocal practices, critics attacked dream interpretation as a dangerous spiritual and political ‘observation’ in need of reform.