Radio plays that were The Mark Drama of the 1940s: The Man Born to Be King by Dorothy L. Sayers

Drawing of a 1940s radio mic

Radio plays or the Mark Drama: Fresh communication of the same Gospel story in different times

As I read The Man Born to be King I found myself thinking, this was the Mark Drama of the 1940s! A series of twelve radio plays about the life of Jesus Christ, they were written by Dorothy L. Sayers for the BBC during WWII. Beginning with Jesus’ birth and ending with his ascension, they carefully and skillfully weave together the four gospel accounts. The result is intriguing and exciting, challenging and still fresh. Sayers’ novelist’s interest in plot, characterisation, language and themes made these plays a deeply refreshing and moving read. Yet her careful exegesis and study of the Gospels is also clearly evident. While there are a few areas where she embellishes pretty freely (particularly the motives of Judas), her portrayal always attempts to do all the biblical material justice when the Gospels do speak. While at times it’s clearly an (interesting) product of Sayers’ time, its power is also in the way she succeeds in demonstrating the Gospels’ timeless relevance. They made for spiritually refreshing holiday reading!

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