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How three religious traditions have dealt with the David and Bathsheba story.

By David Tait

Royal Commissions and government enquiries in several countries have revealed widespread sexual abuse and cover-ups involving religious organisations, schools and youth groups. Some religious bodies, however, already have considerable experience in dealing with scandals – their sacred texts are full of dangerous stories that have shocked and challenged them over many centuries. The story of David and Bathsheba, for example, combines three themes central to the current crisis – sexual exploitation, abuse of power and attempted cover-up.

This article provides an analysis of how three faith communities – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have ‘managed’ the story of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba and assassination of her husband, Uriah, and the subsequent litany of rape and murder, possibly also incest, within the royal House. David’s legacy is central to the three traditions – he is a founding father of Judaism, a forbear of the Christian Messiah and a prophet for Islam.

Read the article Griffith Law Review 22.1 (2013): 180-204