“Wols-Hede And Outhorne”: The Ban, Bare Life, and Power in the Passion Plays

  • Robert S. Sturges
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In the Wakefield Master’s play The Buffeting, the personalities of the Hebrew priests Annas and Caiaphas are carefully distinguished. Annas is characterized by cool logic and a desire to remain strictly within prescribed juridical boundaries in their treatment of Jesus, whereas the high priest Caiaphas is represented as beside himself with rage and not only willing, but eager to set aside those boundaries in Jesus’s case:

Anna. Sir, speke soft and styll;

Let vs do as the law will.

Cayphas. Nay, I myself shall hym kyll,

And murder with knokys.1


Line Number Sovereign Power Bare Life Spiritual Power Medieval Text 


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© Bonnie Wheeler 2006

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  • Robert S. Sturges

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