The Lost Gospel of Lazarus

By Richard Zimler

Category: Fiction, Historical, LGBT+

Formats available: Paperback

Pages: 496pp

Publication date: 07/04/22

ISBN-13: 978-1-909954-49-6

One of the Best Books of the Year – a Must Read –  Sunday Times

In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus resurrected a beloved friend named Lazarus from the dead. Yet the Gospel of John – which contains this episode – does not tell us how Jesus accomplished this miracle or if he had a special purpose for saving his companion.

In The Gospel According to Lazarus, Richard Zimler narrates this mysterious and influential story from Lazarus’ own point of view.

After he is awakened from death, Lazarus has difficulties regaining his previous identity and confidence. His experience of death has left him fragile and disoriented, and his newfound fame is a burden he does not want. Worse, his faith has been shattered because he remembers nothing of any afterlife.

In compelling flashbacks, we learn of Lazarus’ initial meeting with Jesus – during their boyhood in Nazareth – and discover how he came to earn his friend’s trust and gratitude.  Back in the present time – during the Passion Week – Jesus tells him, however, that their meeting as young boys was no accident and offers a surprising explanation for why he brought them together.

After Jesus’s arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Lazarus concludes that his whole life may have been a test for this chance to save his beloved friend from crucifixion. But will Jesus accept Lazarus’ final sacrifice?

In Zimler’s impeccably researched and highly moving novel, Jesus is presented as a mystical healer within the context of ancient Jewish practice and tradition.  Indeed, one of the objectives of this novel was to restore to him and the other characters their Judaism.


Novels based on Bible narratives are thin on the ground in our secular times, and can be hit-or-miss affairs, but Richard Zimler’s The Gospel According to Lazarus is both engaging theology and literary thriller. How amazing to be Lazarus and get a second bite at life, I used to think, until I read this reverent and subtle meditation on the ways in which the dead can interact with the living, chronicling a profound friendship between Yeshua (Jesus) and Lazarus, in which each saves the other’s life.

- Church Times

Rich in detail and perception and grounded in the sensual compulsions of life such as hunger, pain, interpersonal relations and psychological eccentricities . . . Zimler’s tone is compassionate. His audience may find, in its evocation of intrigue, passion and trauma, aspects of a biblical thriller.

- Jewish Chronicle

A very human tale of rivalry, betrayal, power-grabbing and sacrifice . . . Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this brave and engaging novel is that Zimler manages to make the best-known narrative in western culture a page-turner. I simply had to keep going to the end to know what would happen.

- The Observer

Richard Zimler

‘Richard Zimler is a present-day scholar and writer of remarkable erudition and compelling imagination.” —The Spectator Richard Zimler’s eleven novels have been translated into twenty-three languages and have appeared on bestseller lists in twelve different countries, including the UK, United States, Australia, Brazil, Italy and Portugal.  Five of his works have been nominated for the International Dublin Literary Award, the richest prize in the English-speaking world, and he has won prizes for his fiction in the UK, America, France and Portugal. Richard has explored the lives of different branches and generations of …