Photo, Scala/Art Resource, N.Y.

ON THE COVER: Clothed in the shimmering coat that marks him as his father’s favorite, Joseph stands small and alone, ringed by 10 of his 11 brothers, as he recounts his dreams, represented in floating bubbles in this painting by Raphael (1483–1520). In one dream, Joseph relates, the sun, moon and 11 stars bowed to him, and in another dream his brothers’ sheaves of wheat bowed to his. His brothers react violently and even consider killing him, according to Genesis 37. But author Arnold Ages insists these dreams were not the arrogant boastings of a spoiled child, as his brothers believed. In “Dreamer, Schemer, Slave and Prince: Understanding Joseph’s Dreams,” Ages argues that Joseph’s dreams sprang from childhood traumas, in particular, the death of his mother and the confrontational scene when he and all his family bowed down to his estranged uncle Esau.