Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: Lazarus is Dead

Lazarus is Dead Lazarus is Dead by Richard Beard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the most unique books I have read in a long, long time.

Beard examines the story of Lazarus through a novel, inherently a work of fiction, yet he weaves historical asides throughout the book that paint an even more compelling, almost "convincing" picture of this man who was said to be Jesus' only friend. Lazarus is presented to us as both a character in a story and a man who was once alive on this earth, someone who is intimately knowable through Beard's imagination but also inherently unknowable because so few records of his life are available to us.

As someone who was raised Presbyterian and attended Catholic grade school, I always saw Lazarus as "just one more" of Jesus' miracles. He was just another chapter in the life of Jesus, no more or less important than the other chapters we learned about. And yet Beard raises (and answers, in his own creative way) questions that never occurred to me: why did Jesus choose to raise Lazarus, of all people, from the dead? Why was Lazarus dead in the first place? And what happened to Lazarus after he was brought back? How could any of us live our lives again, after coming back to life?

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