Lazarus, originally Eleazar, appropriately meaning »aided by God« in Hebrew, is a man in the Gospel of John, who dies and is then raised by Christ at the request of his sisters Mary and Martha. The episode is mysterious: his sisters send word to Jesus that Lazarus is ill, and despite the gospel asserting that Jesus loves the three of them, he stays where he is for two days before traveling to Bethany where the family lives, apparently specifically to make sure that Lazarus will have time to die. When Jesus and the disciples arrive at Bethany Lazarus has thus been dead for four days; the stone covering his tomb is removed, and Jesus calls him forth. Lazarus emerges from the tomb, clad in graveclothes and prefiguring Jesus' own resurrection; many are made to believe by witnessing the miracle. Later they have dinner.

Lazarus has become a byword for a person returned from the dead, despite the fact that the New Testament contains several other examples of such persons; presumably this is because, unlike the Young Man of Nain and Jairus' Daughter, he is provided with a proper personal name, unlike Dorcas he is raised by Christ, and unlike Christ himself, he's symbolically unambiguous.

Lazarus is also the second most common candidate for the identity of the Gospel of John's disciple whom Jesus loved, for reasons including:

  • The nameless Disciple appears only after the raising of Lazarus and not before, whereas Lazarus in turn does not reappear in the narrative once the Disciple appears, and the connection is tight: Lazarus figures in John 11-12, and the first mention of the Beloved Disciple is in John 13 (the Last Supper)
  • As noted, John 11 explicitly calls Lazarus »he whom thou lovest« and also says Jesus loves all three of them
  • The episode at the end of the gospel where Peter asks Jesus what will happen to the Beloved Disciple doesn't make much sense if the Disciple is just some other, regular apostle, but the question makes a lot of sense if Peter knows that the Beloved Disciple already died once and came back, and is thus genuinely unsure of what might happen to him now vis-à-vis dying
  • The importance of this disciple among the Brethren toward the end of the gospel despite going previously unmentioned is far clearer if he was marked out by just having been raised from the dead
  • Furthermore, if we accept the traditional identification of Mary Magdalene with Lazarus' sister Mary, which there are some good reasons to do, it explains why she goes to the Beloved Disciple and Peter after discovering the empty tomb. Normally this is a bit inscrutable; why is this rando some sort of authority on par with Peter? But if it's her brother, who was already raised from the dead previously, the sense is obvious
  • Lazarus' family is evidently fairly wealthy, not to mention that he owes Jesus big time; if he is identical to the Beloved Disciple this goes some distance toward explaining why at the crucifixion Jesus asks the latter to take care of his mother
  • Finally, and admittedly this is getting pretty deep into the weeds of speculation, if we assume that Jesus was not God but just a guy, this whole arrangement gives a neat explanation of where Jesus actually goes after the resurrection appearances and why Mary Magdalene isn't mentioned among the disciples at any point after the same narrative: he simply goes to live in Bethany with his mom, Lazarus, Mary and Martha

I personally regard this theory as the best one, with the caveat that there's no actual reason based on the gospel itself to think that Lazarus isn't the same person as John the Evangelist.

Finally, Lazarus is also the name of a different but evidently related figure in the Gospel of Luke: a beggar in a parable told by Jesus. In this parable, a rich man after his death begs Abraham to return the likewise dead Lazarus to warn his five living brothers to repent; Abraham replies that if they will not believe though they have Moses and the Prophets, not even someone returning from the dead will convince them. As can be readily seen, this is a sort of inversion of the later narrative in John, but how exactly this is to be explained is beyond me. At any rate, it is this Lazarus who is the origin of the Italian word for a beggar and, since he is described in the parable as being covered in sores, of the word lazaret for a hospital, plague quarantine house, or leper colony.

The X-files

Episode: 1X14
First aired:2/04/94
Written by: Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon
Directed by: David Nutter

Scully, with fellow agent Jack Willis, shoots a bank robber but Willis, Scully's former boyfriend, is seriously wounded by the robber. The doctors revive Willis after he'd been flatlining for 13 mins and Dupre, the robber, dies.

When Willis wakes, he is no longer Willis but has Dupre's consciousness within his body. He goes to the morgue where he finds "his" body and removes the wedding ring. We see the tattoo from Dupre's arm has now appeared on Willis's.

Mulder notices Willis's strange behavior and gets Willis to sign a birthday card for Scully, even though he and Scully share the same birthday, which is months away. Scully maintains that the forgetting of his and her birthday, and the different signature, are only signs of post-traumatic stress.

Willis says he has found Dupre's girlfriend and accomplice, Lula, and Scully goes with him. They catch Lula but Willis captures Scully and proves to Lula that he is actually Dupre.

Willis/Dupre falls faint because Willis is diabetic and needs insulin. Lula stops Scully from administering to him and calls the FBI asking $1 million ransom for Scully.

The FBI find Scully's location and prepare to enter the house. Talking, to Scully, Willis transforms between personalities as Scully tries to keep him conscious. WIllis gets Lula's gun and kills her then dies himself. The tattoo fades slowly from his arm.

Scully later finds that Willis's watch had stopped at the exact time he went into cardiac arrest the day of the shooting.

Important Quotes:
Mulder -- "Two men died in that crash room, Scully. One man came back. The question is … which one?"

Scully -- "We dated … for almost a year. He was my instructor at the academy."
Mulder -- "The plot thickens."

Mulder (on phone) -- "We don’t deal unless we know Scully is alive."
Lula (on phone) -- "She’s alive. She’s not happy, but she’s alive."
Mulder (on phone, threatening) -- "You listen to me --- you lay one hand on Scully, and so help me, God ----"

Agent Bruskin -- "All right, people, settle down and grab a seat. Mulder says he’s got something."
Agent Westin -- "What? An alien virus or new information on the Kennedy assassination?"
Agent Bruskin -- "Hey, Mulder’s all right. You should pay attention. You might learn something from the man."

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Back to The X-files: Season 1
Edwin Arlington Robinson

"No, Mary, there was nothing -- not a word.
Nothing, and always nothing. Go again
Yourself, and he may listen -- or at least
Look up at you, and let you see his eyes.
I might as well have been the sound of rain,
A wind among the cedars, or a bird;
Or nothing. Mary, make him look at you;
And even if he should say that we are nothing,
To know that you have heard him will be something.
And yet he loved us, and it was for love
The Master gave him back. Why did He wait
So long before He came? Why did He weep?
I thought He would be glad -- and Lazarus --
To see us all again as He had left us --
All as it was, all as it was before."

Mary, who felt her sister's frightened arms
Like those of someone drowning who had seized her,
Fearing at last they were to fail and sink
Together in this fog-stricken sea of strangeness,
Fought sadly, with bereaved indignant eyes,
To find again the fading shores of home
That she had seen but now could see no longer.
Now she could only gaze into the twilight,
And in the dimness know that he was there,
Like someone that was not. He who had been
Their brother, and was dead, now seemed alive
Only in death again -- or worse than death;
For tombs at least, always until today,
Though sad were certain. There was nothing certain
For man or God in such a day as this;
For there they were alone, and there was he --
Alone; and somewhere out of Bethany,
The Master -- who had come to them so late,
Only for love of them and then so slowly,
And was for their sake hunted now by men
Who feared Him as they feared no other prey --
For the world's sake was hidden. "Better the tomb
For Lazarus than life, if this be life,"
She thought; and then to Martha, "No, my dear,"
She said aloud; "not as it was before.
Nothing is ever as it was before,
Where Time has been. Here there is more than Time;
And we that are so lonely and so far
From home, since he is with us here again,
Are farther now from him and from ourselves
Than we are from the stars. He will not speak
Until the spirit that is in him speaks;
And we must wait for all we are to know,
Or even to learn that we are not to know.
Martha, we are too near to this for knowledge,
And that is why it is that we must wait.
Our friends are coming if we call for them,
And there are covers we'll put over him
To make him warmer. We are too young, perhaps,
To say that we know better what is best
Than he. We do not know how old he is.
If you remember what the Master said,
Try to believe that we need have no fear.
Let me, the selfish and the careless one,
Be housewife and a mother for tonight;
For I am not so fearful as you are,
And I was not so eager."

                          Martha sank
Down at her sister's feet and there sat watching
A flower that had a small familiar name
That was as old as memory, but was not
The name of what she saw now in its brief
And infinite mystery that so frightened her
That life became a terror. Tears again
Flooded her eyes and overflowed. "No, Mary,"
She murmured slowly, hating her own words
Before she heard them, "you are not so eager
To see our brother as we see him now;
Neither is He who gave him back to us.
I was to be the simple one, as always,
And this was all for me." She stared again
Over among the trees where Lazarus,
Who seemed to be a man who was not there,
Might have been one more shadow among shadows,
If she had not remembered. Then she felt
The cool calm hands of Mary on her face,
And shivered, wondering if such hands were real.

"The Master loved you as He loved us all,
Martha; and you are saying only things
That children say when they have had no sleep.
Try somehow now to rest a little while;
You know that I am here, and that our friends
Are coming if I call."

                        Martha at last
Arose, and went with Mary to the door,
Where they stood looking off at the same place,
And at the same shape that was always there
As if it would not ever move or speak,
And always would be there. "Mary, go now,
Before the dark that will be coming hides him.
I am afraid of him out there alone,
Unless I see him; and I have forgotten
What sleep is. Go now -- make him look at you --
And I shall hear him if he stirs or whispers.
Go! -- or I'll scream and bring all Bethany
To come and make him speak. Make him say once
That he is glad, and God may say the rest.
Though He say I shall sleep, and sleep for ever,
I shall not care for that . . . Go!"

                                      Mary, moving
Almost as if an angry child had pushed her,
Went forward a few steps; and having waited
As long as Martha's eyes would look at hers,
Went forward a few more, and a few more;
And so, until she came to Lazarus,
Who crouched with his face hidden in his hands,
Like one that had no face. Before she spoke,
Feeling her sister's eyes that were behind her
As if the door where Martha stood were now
As far from her as Egypt, Mary turned
Once more to see that she was there. Then, softly,
Fearing him not so much as wondering
What his first word might be, said, "Lazarus,
Forgive us if we seemed afraid of you;"
And having spoken, pitied her poor speech
That had so little seeming gladness in it,
So little comfort, and so little love.

There was no sign from him that he had heard,
Or that he knew that she was there, or cared
Whether she spoke to him again or died
There at his feet. "We love you, Lazarus,
And we are not afraid. The Master said
We need not be afraid. Will you not say
To me that you are glad? Look, Lazarus!
Look at my face, and see me. This is Mary."

She found his hands and held them. They were cool,
Like hers, but they were not so calm as hers.
Through the white robes in which his friends had wrapped him
When he had groped out of that awful sleep,
She felt him trembling and she was afraid.
At last he sighed; and she prayed hungrily
To God that she might have again the voice
Of Lazarus, whose hands were giving her now
The recognition of a living pressure
That was almost a language. When he spoke,
Only one word that she had waited for
Came from his lips, and that word was her name.

"I heard them saying, Mary, that He wept
Before I woke." The words were low and shaken,
Yet Mary knew that he who uttered them
Was Lazarus; and that would be enough
Until there should be more . . . "Who made Him come,
That He should weep for me? . . . Was it you, Mary?"
The questions held in his incredulous eyes
Were more than she would see. She looked away;
But she had felt them and should feel for ever,
She thought, their cold and lonely desperation
That had the bitterness of all cold things
That were not cruel. "I should have wept," he said,
"If I had been the Master. . . ."

                                   Now she could feel
His hands above her hair -- the same black hair
That once he made a jest of, praising it,
While Martha's busy eyes had left their work
To flash with laughing envy. Nothing of that
Was to be theirs again; and such a thought
Was like the flying by of a quick bird
Seen through a shadowy doorway in the twilight.
For now she felt his hands upon her head,
Like weights of kindness: "I forgive you, Mary. . . .
You did not know -- Martha could not have known --
Only the Master knew. . . . Where is He now?
Yes, I remember. They came after Him.
May the good God forgive Him. . . . I forgive Him.
I must; and I may know only from Him
The burden of all this. . . . Martha was here --
But I was not yet here. She was afraid. . . .
Why did He do it, Mary? Was it -- you?
Was it for you? . . . Where are the friends I saw?
Yes, I remember. They all went away.
I made them go away. . . . Where is He now? . . .
What do I see down there? Do I see Martha --
Down by the door? . . . I must have time for this."

Lazarus looked about him fearfully,
And then again at Mary, who discovered
Awakening apprehension in his eyes,
And shivered at his feet. All she had feared
Was here; and only in the slow reproach
Of his forgiveness lived his gratitude.
Why had he asked if it was all for her
That he was here? And what had Martha meant?
Why had the Master waited? What was coming
To Lazarus, and to them, that had not come?
What had the Master seen before He came,
That He had come so late?

                           "Where is He, Mary?"
Lazarus asked again. "Where did He go?"
Once more he gazed about him, and once more
At Mary for an answer. "Have they found Him?
Or did He go away because He wished
Never to look into my eyes again? . . .
That, I could understand. . . . Where is He, Mary?"

"I do not know," she said. "Yet in my heart
I know that He is living, as you are living --
Living, and here. He is not far from us.
He will come back to us and find us all --
Lazarus, Martha, Mary -- everything --
All as it was before. Martha said that.
And He said we were not to be afraid."
Lazarus closed his eyes while on his face
A tortured adumbration of a smile
Flickered an instant. "All as it was before,"
He murmured wearily. "Martha said that;
And He said you were not to be afraid . . .
Not you . . . Not you . . . Why should you be afraid?
Give all your little fears, and Martha's with them,
To me; and I will add them unto mine,
Like a few rain-drops to Gennesaret."

"If you had frightened me in other ways,
Not willing it," Mary said, "I should have known
You still for Lazarus. But who is this?
Tell me again that you are Lazarus;
And tell me if the Master gave to you
No sign of a new joy that shall be coming
To this house that He loved. Are you afraid?
Are you afraid, who have felt everything --
And seen . . . ?"

                   But Lazarus only shook his head,
Staring with his bewildered shining eyes
Hard into Mary's face. "I do not know,
Mary," he said, after a long time.
"When I came back, I knew the Master's eyes
Were looking into mine. I looked at His,
And there was more in them than I could see.
At first I could see nothing but His eyes;
Nothing else anywhere was to be seen --
Only His eyes. And they looked into mine --
Long into mine, Mary, as if He knew."

Mary began to be afraid of words
As she had never been afraid before
Of loneliness or darkness, or of death,
But now she must have more of them or die:
"He cannot know that there is worse than death,"
She said. "And you . . ."

                            "Yes, there is worse than death."
Said Lazarus; "and that was what He knew;
And that is what it was that I could see
This morning in his eyes. I was afraid,
But not as you are. There is worse than death,
Mary; and there is nothing that is good
For you in dying while you are still here.
Mary, never go back to that again.
You would not hear me if I told you more,
For I should say it only in a language
That you are not to learn by going back.
To be a child again is to go forward --
And that is much to know. Many grow old,
And fade, and go away, not knowing how much
That is to know. Mary, the night is coming,
And there will soon be darkness all around you.
Let us go down where Martha waits for us,
And let there be light shining in this house."

He rose, but Mary would not let him go:
"Martha, when she came back from here, said only
That she heard nothing. And have you no more
For Mary now than you had then for Martha?
Is Nothing, Lazarus, all you have for me?
Was Nothing all you found where you have been?
If that be so, what is there worse than that --
Or better -- if that be so? And why should you,
With even our love, go the same dark road over?"

"I could not answer that, if that were so,"
Said Lazarus, -- "not even if I were God.
Why should He care whether I came or stayed,
If that were so? Why should the Master weep --
For me, or for the world, -- or save Himself
Longer for nothing? And if that were so,
Why should a few years' more mortality
Make Him a fugitive where flight were needless,
Had He but held his peace and given his nod
To an old Law that would be new as any?
I cannot say the answer to all that;
Though I may say that He is not afraid,
And that it is not for the joy there is
In serving an eternal Ignorance
Of our futility that He is here.
Is that what you and Martha mean by Nothing?
Is that what you are fearing? If that be so,
There are more weeds than lentils in your garden.
And one whose weeds are laughing at his harvest
May as well have no garden; for not there
Shall he be gleaning the few bits and orts
Of life that are to save him. For my part,
I am again with you, here among shadows
That will not always be so dark as this;
Though now I see there's yet an evil in me
That made me let you be afraid of me.
No, I was not afraid -- not even of life.
I thought I was . . . I must have time for this;
And all the time there is will not be long.
I cannot tell you what the Master saw
This morning in my eyes. I do not know.
I cannot yet say how far I have gone,
Or why it is that I am here again,
Or where the old road leads. I do not know.
I know that when I did come back, I saw
His eyes again among the trees and faces --
Only His eyes; and they looked into mine --
Long into mine -- long, long, as if He knew."

Err, okay. There is some of this text in the Mark section of the Bible that has sometimes been omitted.

There's this little point that people forget: Lazarus was never really physically dead, but really in a state of excommunication, a sort of pre-death, or a spiritual death by an official order. In Mark, Jesus and Lazarus yell to each other through the tomb door.

Of course, this release from excommunication is not really a miracle, so this section of the text is often omitted, in lieu of a facinating tale of a real dead person coming back to life.

As a kind of extention, this sheds light on the whole crucifixion thing, where, Jesus was, legally dead the second he was put on the cross. Death by crucifixion takes days, even a week, and, instead, he was taken to a tomb, only to arise from this spiritual (not real) death on the third day. This three-day thing is symbolic of sickness.

Back to Lazarus: after the three days, civil death would become reality as Lazarus would have been wrapped in a shroud and buried alive.

Lazarus' crime was that he led a revolt to protect the public water supply which had been diverted with an aqueduct in Jerusalem.

This release from spiritual death was something Jesus did without any priestly authority. What was really a miracle was that Herod-Antipas of Galilee forced the High Priest of Jerusalem to allow this action by Jesus. That was a real miracle.

bloodline of the holy grail by Lawrence Gardner

danlowlite has offered an instance of what happens when unsupported claims and unverified discoveries are taken as canon.

He is refering to a supposedly lost epistle of Clement of Alexandria, claimed to be discovered by Dr. Morton Smith, hand-written on the back page and inside cover of a 17th Century edition of The Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch in the library of the Mar Saba monestary. The epistle reportedly contained segments of Mark's gospel which were repressed by the Church.

The discovery was supposedly made in 1958. It was first mentioned in public at a meeting of the International Bible Society in 1960, although the text was not released for scholarly review until 1973 (along with Smith's notes and translation). Noone but Smith has ever seen the text which he claims to have discovered. Apparently the relevant pages of the printed volume on which it was found were "removed for repair" and they were never seen or heard from again.

This story has all the plot devices of a great conspiracy theory; if one is paranoid enough, it becomes circularly self-evident and unfalsifiable.

"See! The Church is STILL repressing the text!"

The problems with taking the the text as (cough, cough) gospel are numerous; some obvious, some less so.

So, in short, we have:

  1. A manuscript that many doubt even existed;
  2. If it does/did exist, many doubt that it was written by Clement;
  3. If it does/did exist and it was written by Clement, most don't take Clement as a reliable source about the data;
  4. If it does/did exist and it was written by Clement, the passage dealing with Jesus seems to be constructed from the original gospels (like the gnostic documents of the 2nd century)

Thanks to helping structure this argument.

Archbishop Lazarus was an adviser of King Leoric of Khandaras in the back story to the computer game Diablo. Lazarus was corrupted by Diablo's mental influence while the demon was still trapped within one of the soulstones used to contain Diablo and his brothers by the Horadrim. Diablo used Lazarus as a tool to aid him in his breaking of Leoric's will. Diablo and Lazarus' influence slowly weakened the sanity of King Leoric, causing him to believe that his own advisers (except Lazarus) were plotting against him and the neighbouring kingdom of Westmarch (Leoric's home land) was planning to invade Khandaras. Leoric ordered his armies north to preemptively strike against Westmarch. By this point, Leoric trusted only Lazarus.

While the king's armies were fighting a losing battle, Diablo decided that the corruption of King Leoric was taking too long. Diablo had Lazarus kidnap Leoric's son, Albrecht, and bring the child before the soulstone in the depths of the Horadric dungeons below the town of Tristram. Once there, Diablo corrupted the much weaker will of Albrecht and, with the soulstone placed within Albrecht's forehead, morphed the child's body into his own and began to summon demons and fortify the dungeon.

Believing the kidnapping of his son was an act of protest against the war by the residents of Tristram, Leoric began terrorising the town in an effort to have his son returned to him. When the defeated troops of Khandaras returned, they fought, killed, and were cursed by the mad king. Not long after the king's death, Lazarus gathered together the townspeople of Tristram in a frenzied rage and convinced them to venture into the dungeon to fight evil (demons had begun to terrorise the town after the king was slain), rescue the king's son, etc. The townspeople were led into a trap where they were ambushed by a large group of demons led by The Butcher. Few survived (and those that did were seriously wounded) and Lazarus fled deep within the dungeon.

Within the game itself, Lazarus is one of the final unique enemies the player must defeat. Guarded by powerful succubi and magi on the dungeon level just above Diablo, the player comes upon Lazarus just after he sacrifices a child (which isn't Albrecht). Before attacking, he tells the player (with his voice echoing thanks to some nifty sound effects) "You are too late to save the child. Now you will join him... in Hell."

Lazarus can teleport around and fire nasty bad energies out of his staff. Lazarus himself never seemed that hard to defeat to me, though the hellspawn and corrupted magi around him are quite a pain to deal with since to reach Lazarus involves walking into an area surrounded by those enemies.

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