Original Research: Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

Deuteronomistic theology in Psalms 44, 74, 80 and 89: Examined through the lens of trauma

Xi Li
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a8506 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.8506 | © 2023 Xi Li | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 February 2023 | Published: 15 May 2023

About the author(s)

Xi Li, The Center for Judaic and Interreligious Studies, School of Philosophy and Social Development, Shandong University, Jinan, China


Biblical scholars are divided regarding the presence of Deuteronomistic theology in Psalms 44, 74, 80 and 89. This article re-examines this issue through the lens of trauma and argues for two points. Firstly, Psalms 44, 74, 80 and 89 do not reject Deuteronomistic theology because the accusations of God in these psalms do not indicate attribution of responsibility but demonstrate trauma victims’ negative cognition and emotion associated with the traumatic event. Secondly, the concept of post-traumatic growth (PTG) helps to clarify two crucial elements of Deuteronomistic theology concerning divine retribution and divine promise. Psalms 44 and 74 assume the first element; Psalms 80 and 89 presuppose the second.

Contribution: This article provides a fresh angle from trauma studies to approach biblical texts in the Hebrew Bible, clarifying the connection between Deuteronomistic theology and communal laments.


Deuteronomistic theology; communal laments; trauma studies; post-traumatic growth (PTG); Psalm 44; Psalm 74; Psalm 80; Psalm 89.

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