Re: Simon of Bethany

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue May 05 1998 - 11:51:35 EDT

At 10:01 AM -0500 5/5/98, Steven Cox wrote:
>Dear all
>This may actually be a question for b-aramaic list, but as I
>don't know aramaic and there may be something in the greek
>text I am missing I submit this question to b-greek. Your
>forbearance please.
>Below there is a simplified parallel of the anointings in the
>Gospels. My question relates to the name LAZAROS, which BAGD
>gives as an abreviation of Eleazar (which in LXX is ELEAZAR),
>and cites Josephus' War 5:567 MANNAIOS hO LAZAROU.
>(1) Is it possible that as in the Josephus example LAZAROS is a
>(2) Alternatively the Medieval Latin "lazarus"(=leper) has
>something more than the NT use behind it. My gut reaction is
>to reject this out of hand.. but.. maybe there is an Aramaic
>word play in the stem L-Z-R?
>(3) Or Simon is simply Lazarus' elder brother or father?
>Matt 26:6 Mark 14:3 Luke 7:40/10:40 John 11:2
> Simon Pharisee
> Capernaum
> woman drys feet who dried feet
> with her hair with her hair
> a village
> Mary
> Martha
> Martha
>Simon leper Simon leper Lazarus
>Bethany Bethany Bethany
>woman woman Mary
>Judas Judas Judas

One factor that probably should be considered is that Greek LAZAROS,
Heb/Aram ELEAZAR is a fairly common name meaning "God is my help." I think
that the name is symbolic in the Lucan parable of "Lazarus and the Rich
Man" (aliter "Lazarus and Dives"). Secondly, my guess is that Josephus'
example simply Hellenizes the Hebrew/Aramaic practice of indicating a man's
father (as the second part of one's name) with a BEN ELEAZAR (Heb?) or BAR
ELEAZAR (Aram?). I would certainly defer to Jack Kilmon or others in the
know on the latter point, but I would guess that (a) the name itself is
fairly common in Palestine, and (b) that this IS a typical patronymic
formula. I too would reject the Medieval Latin usage, and I'd also be
rather skeptical (personally) about trying to draw a very close
relationship between the Simons and the Lazaruses in these various

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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