Chapter 16 Josephus’ Retelling of the David and Bathsheba Narrative

In: The Character of David in Judaism, Christianity and Islam
Author: Michael Avioz

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The paper focuses on the way in which the ancient Jewish historian rewrote the David-Bathsheba narrative. It discusses the subject against the backdrop of the biblical text and its traditional rabbinic interpretations, and demonstrates that although it posed a great challenge to Josephus’ generally positive view of King David, the author of the Antiquities of the Jews decided to retain most of the problematic source material (with minor changes) and to confront it head-on. The article uncovers Josephus’ techniques when rewriting this narrative and tries to understand the reasons behind the changes he introduced.


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