The Man Born to Be King
Wade Annotated Edition
by Dorothy L. Sayers
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Pub Date 24 Jan 2023 | Archive Date 23 Feb 2023
InterVarsity Press, IVP Academic
From December 1941 until October 1942, the BBC broadcast a series of radio dramas written by Dorothy L. Sayers. Against the backdrop of World War II, the plays presented twelve episodes in the life and ministry of Jesus, from the visit of the magi to his death and resurrection, collectively affirming the kingship of Christ.
Noted for their use of colloquial English as part of Sayers's effort to bring the Gospels to life in a new way for listeners, the plays were both controversial and incredibly successful, bolstering the morale of the country during the war. They were subsequently published in 1943, and they stand among Sayers's most beloved works to this day.
In this new critical and annotated edition, scholar Kathryn Wehr brings fresh insights to the plays, their background, Sayers's creative process, and the ongoing significance of the life of Christ today. Listen again, or for the first time, to the story of the man who was born to be—and still is—king.
A Note From the Publisher
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Average rating from 15 members
This edition is a treasure - I had never read or listened to Dorothy Sayers' cycle of BBC radio plays on the life of Christ, but Dr. Wehr's introductions and notes are the perfect companion and guide for a new reader eager to delve into the riches of this work.
The side notes are unobtrusive and don't distract from the text itself, but provide remarkable depth and context for the theological, linguistic, dramaturgic, and historical elements of Sayers' craft. I appreciated the notes from earlier drafts, inclusions from letters Sayers wrote on her creative process, and the overall focus on her careful, diligent task of depicting Biblical stories in a compelling and yet truthful way for a modern audience. I'm young enough to be well distanced from the shock of dramatic Biblical adaptations like Jesus Christ Superstar or Passion of the Christ, so it was also fascinating to have the historical context of just how novel and shocking Sayers' work was, and how skillfully she navigated the waters of potential blasphemy and public backlash.
The Man Born to be King is every bit as theologically rich and influential to 20th century British religious life as the work of Sayers' contemporary and friend C.S. Lewis, and I hope this new edition and Dr. Wehr's scholarship on this underrated gem will bring Sayers' work, as well as a deep appreciation for her genius, to a wider audience.