In this reading by New Zealand's latest Poet Laureate, Judas Escariot’s recounts the life and death of Jesus in a story of friendship and rivalry, of uncertainty and enquiry, of challenges to belief, endurance and loyalty.
Produced by Adam Macaulay and engineered by Phil Brownlee for Radio New Zealand
Forty years after Jesus' death we visit Judas, living under an assumed name. Judas begins to give his account of his personal friendship with Jesus, his school mate. He describes his own family life… Audio
As schoolboys Judas and Jesus visit the temple in Jerusalem where Jesus frees a dove instead of killing it as a sacrifice. Jesus claims 'God told me to do it.' The 70 year old Judas also explains how… Audio
Jesus changes teachers and moves away from Nazareth. Judas and he do not meet again until Judas' wedding. Jesus seems to simply disappear for some time. His old teacher believes he's gone to join a… Audio
Judas's father tries to arrange a suitable marriage for Judas but Judas waits until his father goes travelling and changes all the arrangements so he can marry the one he loves - Judith. The blind… Audio
Jesus attends Judas' wedding in Nazareth and tells of his time in the caves near the Dead Sea with the Essenes. As part of his initiation he has spent 40 days and nights fending for himself in the… Audio
Jesus' fame spreads. He's uneasy about the claims people are making concerning his miraculous powers but, despite this, the tales become exaggerated and refined as they are told and retold. Judas… Audio
Jesus meets Mary Magdelene and she joins his followers. Judas gives his account of the meeting and tries to explain what he thinks was the nature of Jesus' love. Jesus also meets the other Mary -… Audio
Ptolemy, the old, blind prophet visiting Judas' village is revealed as Bartholomew, one of the original disciples and the only other living follower who was there with Jesus. Although Bartholomew… Audio
Judas admits to understanding how people might have been swayed by Jesus' oratorial skill and his message of hope for the poor. But Judas also acknowledges his own rationality and intelligence. Judas… Audio
Jesus heads to Jerusalem. On the way the other disciples are asked to preach and Judas notices how the less talented ones, when lost for what to say, fall to retelling stories of miracles as crowd… Audio
Jesus and the other disciples trash the money changers' tables in the temple. Judas tries to get Jesus to run away and, indeed, leave Jerusalem, but Jesus stays. At the last supper Judas realises with… Audio
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane and is arrested. Only Simon Peter and Judas follow him -- the others flee. Jesus is interrogated by the priests and the High Priest as Judas looks on. Pontius… Audio
Judas witnesses the crucifixion and is angry at himself and the others for not talking Jesus out of his suicidal course of action. The crucifixion shakes Judas and convinces him there is no god. God… Audio
C.K. (Christian Karlson) Stead is one of New Zealand’s foremost literary figures. He is an outspoken, award-winning and critically acclaimed poet, literary critic, novelist and short story writer, essayist and editor. His academic specialisation has centred on poetic and critical Modernism, particularly T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and W.B. Yeats, but also including Katherine Mansfield, from whose letters and journals he edited a selection, and about whom he recently wrote a novel. Stead was Professor of English at the University of Auckland for 20 years until he took early retirement in 1986 in order to write full-time, and remains an emeritus professor. He has won and been shortlisted for many prestigious awards (see below where his publications are listed). He was first winner (1961) of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Prize. In 1972 he was the Mansfield Menton Fellow. In recent years he has held the Michael King Writer’s Fellowship (2005), and in 2007 and again in 2011, the Bogliasco Fellowship in Literature at the Liguria Study Centre near Genoa. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) for services to New Zealand Literature in 1985, and in 2007 received our highest honour, the Order of New Zealand. In 1995, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was a Senior Visiting Fellow at St John's College, Oxford (1996–1997). In 2001 he won the Landfall Essay Prize, and in October of the same year the King's Lynn Award for Merit in Poetry. In 2010 he won The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award (the world’s largest short story prize), and also the open section of the inaugural 2010 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. In 2009 he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction, and was Seresin Landfall Writer in Residence in Tuscany. In 2011 he was short listed for the Montreal International Poetry Prize.
Stuart Devenie is undisputed as one of New Zealand’s finest actors – his list of credits and awards and glowing reviews is justifiably extensive.