DOI: 10.1177/01461079231191553 ISSN:

Telling Stories for Healing and Resilience: A Trauma-informed Reading of Psalms 105 and 106

Rebecca W. Poe Hays
  • Religious studies

The poetic telling of stories—especially stories of ancestral failings and ongoing relationship to those failings—is a key aspect of how the book of Psalms moves audiences from trauma to healing and resilience. Trauma blocks the ability of survivors to narrate a coherent story of their experiences. Learning to tell traumatic stories—and integrate them into life moving forward—is a significant factor in healing from past traumas and building the resilience necessary to survive and sustain well-being through future ones. The “twin” Psalms 105 and 106 are an example of how the book of Psalms equips audiences for this work of processing trauma, moving toward healing, and building resilience through its poetic language, narrative structures, and community context. In particular, these psalms narrate a shared history, acknowledge the good and the bad within that history, and demand participation and response.

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