The BBC was accused last night of attempting to rewrite the Gospels after the makers of a drama about Jesus Christ's death said they were introducing "context" and "psychological reality" into the roles of Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate.
The corporation is to screen four episodes of The Passion during Holy Week, culminating in a depiction of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Frank Deasy, the drama's award-winning writer, said: "I've always had a problem with Judas in 'Passion' stories in that he suddenly and inexplicably betrays Jesus," Deasy said. "I was keen to develop a psychological reality to Judas's portrayal."
The producer of the series, Nigel Stafford-Clark, told the Radio Times that he wanted to present Judas and Pontius Pilate "so you can see it from their point of view".
Stephen Green, the national director of Christian Voice, said: "The fact remains that Judas, Pilate and Caiaphas still sent an innocent man to his death."