Trauma and the Body in the Book of Psalms
Literary Trauma Studies has shed new light on the genesis, the literary and redactional development of the Bible as a whole, as well as on the theology of individual biblical books. The Book of Psalms has only received scant attention from this perspective. The proposed project will provide the very first comprehensive analysis of the representation of trauma in the Psalter. It will argue that the Psalter contains several references to individual and community experiences of trauma, and the use of the language of the body constitutes the most distinctive linguistic and literary feature in the Psalms’ discourse(s) on trauma. The Psalter's abundant use of the language of the body to represent trauma is not merely rhetorical. It rather depends on the fact that trauma is a bodily experience. In other words, the body pervades the Psalter’s language of trauma, because the experience of trauma pervades the body. Furthermore, this project aims to show how the interpretation of traumatic experiences and the linguistic and literary representations of these experiences through the language of the body vary throughout the Book of Psalms, in line with the perspectives of the Psalter’s individual collections, its five books, and its overall theological agenda. Finally, this research project intends to demonstrate that the Psalter’s use of the language of the body to represent trauma belongs to a widespread discourse on trauma in the Psalms’ cognate literature.