Judas: A Lenten Drama

Author: Sharon Thompson
Language: English

I recently attended a performance of Peter Shaffer’s play, Equus. The play was inspired by an irrational crime—a young man had intentionally blinded a number of horses with a sharp object. The playwright knew nothing about this individual or the circumstances surrounding the crime—only of the crime itself. The play seeks to create a mental world where the crime can be made comprehensible.

This short drama is of the same nature. We do not really know Judas: we only know his crime. What could make the crime of Judas comprehensible? We have limited information about Judas. He was from a Judean village, Kerioth; he was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, the only non-Galilean. He was appointed treasurer of the group; he betrayed Jesus into the hands of the Jewish authorities and subsequently committed suicide. Since we do not know the “real” Judas, or never will, his characterization must, of course, be imaginary. This drama is an attempt to present one possible set of circumstances that could have motivated Judas to act as he did.

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