Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2020

Chapter 12 - Visions and the Afterlife in Gregory’s Dialogues

from Part IV - Notable Authors and Texts


This chapter discusses Pope Gregory the Great’s ideas about visions and the afterlife, and how they were received in the early middle ages. To provide a fuller picture of Gregory’s ideas about afterlife visions, the chapter discusses his thought more generally about visions and dreams, especially the two main themes of this thought: the nature of dreams and visions, as ways through which invisible realities might be perceived; and the nature of afterlife visions, especially whether they represented the afterlife allegorically or as it was. The reception of Gregory’s ideas was influenced by the existing tradition of narrating afterlife visions and the way his works were excerpted and abbreviated to suit new needs. This process made Gregory known both as a proponent of the reality of visions and the author of a teaching critical of dreams, and his Dialogues an influential source of imagery for afterlife visions.