The majority of studies that apply trauma hermeneutics to the Hebrew Bible concentrate on ancient Israelites’ experiences of the Babylonian exile and ensuing literary productions. Expanding the horizon of this interpretive tendency, I trace evidence for persistent legacies of Israel’s collective trauma beyond the sixth century BCE. I argue that psalms of communal lament bear witness to ancient Israelites’ transgenerational transmission of their ancestors’ unresolved trauma rooted in historical experiences of divine anger. Demonstrating this argument involves exploring the mechanism and content of transgenerational trauma. The first section of this article compares ancient Mesopotamian Emesal laments with biblical psalms in order to identify shared textual mechanisms for transmitting ancestral laments in the Elohistic Psalter. Recognizing that psalms of communal lament in the Elohistic Psalter convey Israelites’ long-lasting memories of national catastrophes, the second section examines the content of transgenerational trauma by analyzing divine anger as a key motif that underlies these psalms. This analysis notes that nonpenitential psalms of communal lament commonly perceive divine anger as the primary cause of Israel’s national calamities. In light of a theory of transgenerational transmission of trauma, I suggest that the continual transmission of ancestors’ nonpenitential responses to divine anger reveals Israelites’ transgenerational trauma, differentiating this phenomenon from the process of trauma associated with self-blame.

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