Lumen Magazine_Winter 2020

The Light and Heat of Dorothy Sayers’ Jesus

From the beginning St. Thomas Catholic Studies has been distinctively Catholic and also catholic, recognizing the great work of Catholics as well as other Christians. In the Summer 2020 issue of Logos we feature “Dorothy L. Sayers’ Christology in The Man Born to be King ,” an article by Kathryn Wehr on the marvelous depictions of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, and those surrounding him in Sayers’ cycle of 12 radio plays produced for the BBC in 1941 and 1942, and published in book form in 1943. Sayers, an Anglican of Catholic leanings, saw that though the historic creeds might seem abstract on first glance, what they taught about Jesus was not only based upon but illuminated the accounts given in the Gospels. In her radio plays she sought to make a new generation hear the Good News and the excitement that those creeds and the Gospel

stories carry with them. She did so by using her own dramatic and literary gifts in a way that was accurate but not pedantic. Wehr writes: “Readers should not expect to find a systematic theology; Sayers protested that she was not a theologian and she neither was trained in nor wrote academic theology. Nevertheless, she wrote and spoke confidently when she believed herself to be finding fresh words for creedal theology – giving flesh to “the strong, bony structure” of “‘dry’ official theology.” In the following excerpt Wehr discusses how Sayers used light and heat imagery to depict the one who is both light of the world and thus the life of all mankind. Mary Magdalene experiences guilt and contrition, like Matthew and Simon, but her experience of Jesus is not only because of his divine presence but also of his perfect humanity.

Dorothy L. Sayers

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