Laz'arus (Λάζαρος, an abridged form of the Heb. name Eleazar, with a Greek termination, which in the Talmud is written לעזר [see Bynaeus, De morte Chr. 1:180; comp. Josephus, War, 5:13, 7; Simonis, Onomast. N. p. 96; Fuller, Miscell. 1:10; Suicer, Thesaur. 2:205 ]. It is proper to note this here, because the parable which describes Lazarus in Abraham's bosom has been supposed to contain a latent allusion to the name of Eliezer, whom, before the birth of Ishmael and Isaac, Abraham regarded as his heir [see Geiger, in the Jüd. Zeitschr. 1868, p. 196 sq.]), the name of two persons in the N.T.
1. An inhabitant of Bethany, brother of Mary and Martha, honored with the friendship of Jesus, by whom he was raised from the dead after he had been four days in the tomb (Joh 11:1-17). A.D. 29. This great miracle is minutely described in John 11 (see Kitto, Daily Bible Illust. ad loc.). The credit which Christ obtained among the people by this illustrious act, of which the life and presence of Lazarus afforded a standing evidence, induced the Sanhedrim, in plotting against Jesus, to contemplate the destruction of Lazarus also (Joh 12:10). Whether they accomplished this object or not we are not informed, but the probability seems to be that when they had satiated their malice on Christ they left Lazarus unmolested. According to an old tradition in Epiphanius (Haer. 66:34, p. 652), he was thirty years old when restored to life, and lived thirty years afterwards. Later legends recount that his bones were discovered A.D. 890 in Cyprus (Suicer, Thesaur. 2:208), which disagrees with another story that Lazarus, accompanied by Martha and Mary, traveled to Provence, in France, and preached the Gospel in Marseilles (Fabricius, Codex Apocr. N. Test. 3:475, and Lux evang. p. 388; Thilo, Apocryph. p. 711; see Launoii Dissert. de Lazari appulsu in Provinciam, in his Opera, 2:1).
"The raising of Lazarus from the dead was a work of Christ beyond measure great, and of all the miracles he had hitherto wrought undoubtedly the most stupendous. 'If it can be incontrovertibly shown that Christ performed one such miraculous act as this,' says Tholuck (in his Commentar zum Evang. Johannis), 'much will thereby be gained to the cause of Christianity. One point so peculiar in its character, if irrefragably established, may serve to develop a belief in the entire evangelical record.' The sceptical Spinoza was fully conscious of this, as is related by Bayle (Dict. s.v. Spinoza). It is not surprising, therefore, that the enemies of Christianity have used their utmost exertions to destroy the credibility of the narrative. The earlier cavils of Woolston and his followers were. however, satisfactorily answered by Lardner and others, and the more recent efforts of the German neologists have been ably and successfully refuted by Oertelius, Langius, and Reinhard, and by H. L. Heubner in a work entitled Miraculorum ab Evangelistis narratorun intempretat. grammatico-historica (Wittenb. 1807), as well as by others of still more recent date, whose answers, with the objections to which they apply, may be seen in Kuinoel." See also Flatt, in Mag. für Dogmat. Und Moral. 14:91; Schott, Opusc. 1:259; Ewald, Lazarus für Gebildete Christusverehrer (Berl. 1790); and the older monographs cited by Volbeding, Index Proglrammatunn, p. 49; Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 169. The rationalistic views of Paulus (Kritisch. Kommentar) and Gabler (Journal f. Auserl. Theol. Lit. 3:235) have been successfully refuted by Strauss (Leben Jesu), and the mythological dreams of the latter have been dissipated by a host of later German writers, and the reality of the story triumphantly established (see especially Neander, Das Leben Jesu Christi; Stier alnd Olshausen, ad loc.). The last modification of Strauss's theory (Die Halben und die Ganzen, p. 79 sq., Berl. 1865) has been demolished by Hengstenberg (Zeitschr. f. Protestant. u. Kirche, p. 39 sq., 1868); comp. Spith (Zeitschr. f. wissensch. Theol. p. 339,1868) and Holzmann (ibid. p. 71 sq., 1869). The views of Paulus have just been revived in the lively romance of M. E. Rénan, entitled Vie de Jesus; and the latter's theory of a pious fraud has been completely demolished by Ebrard, Pressense, and Ellicott, in their works on our Lord's life. See also the Studien und Krit. 2:1861; Watson, Lazarus of Bethany (London, 1844). SEE JESUS; SEE MARY.
2. A beggar named in the parable of Dives (Lu 16:20-25) as suffering the most abject poverty in this life, but whose humble piety was rewarded with ultimate bliss in the other world; the only instance of a proper name in a parable, and probably selected in this instance on account of its frequency. He is an imaginary representative of the regard which God exercises towards those of his saints whom the world spurns and passes unnoticed; by others, however, he has been considered a real personage, with which accords the old tradition that even gives the name of the rich man as being Dobruk (see F. Fabri, Evagat. 1:35 sq.). Some interpreters think he was some well-known mendicant of Jerusalem (see Seb. Schmid, Fascic. disputat. p. 878 sq.), and have attempted to define his disease (see Wedel, Exercit. Med. cent. 2, dec. 2, No. 2; Bartolini, Morb. bibl. 100, 21) with the success that might be expected (S. G. Feige, Doe morte Laz. [Hal. 1733]).
The history of this Lazarus made a deep impression upon the Church, a fact illustrated by the circumstance to which Trench calls attention, "that the term lazar should have passed into so many languages, losing altogether its signification as a proper name" (On Parables, p. 459, note). Early in the history of the Church Lazarus was regarded as the patron saint of the sick, and especially of those suffering from the terrible scourge of leprosy. "Among the orders, half military and half monastic, of the 12th century, was one which bore the title of the Knights of St. Lazarus (A.D. 1119), whose special work it was to minister to the lepers, first of Syria, and afterwards of Europe. The use of lazaretto and lazar-house for the leper hospitals then founded in all parts of Western Christendom, no less than that of lazzarone for the mendicants of Italian towns, are indications of the effect of the parable upon the mind of Europe in the Middle Ages, and thence upon its later speech. In some cases there seems to have been a singular transfer of the attributes of the one Lazarus to the other. Thus in Paris the prison of St. Lazare (the Clos S. Lazare, so famous in 1848) had been originally a hospital for lepers. In the 17th century it was assigned to the Society of Lazarists, who took their name, as has been said, from Lazarus of Bethany, and St. Vincent de Paul died there in 1660. In the immediate neighborhood of the prison, however, are two streets, the Rue d'Enfer and Rue de Paradis, the names of which indicate the earlier associations with the Lazarus of the parable.
"It may be mentioned incidentally, as there has been no article under the head of DIVES, that the occurrence of this word, used as a quasi-proper name, in our early English literature, is another proof of the impression which was made on the minds of men, either by the parable itself, or by dramatic representations of it in the mediaeval mysteries. It appears as early as Chaucer ('Lazar and Dives,' Sompnoure's Tale) and Piers Ploughman ('Dives in the deyntees lyvede,' l. 9158), and in later theological literature its use has been all but universal. In no other instance has a descriptive adjective passed in this way into the received name of an individual. The name Nimeusis, which Euthymius gives as that of the rich man (Trench, Parables, 1. c.), seems never to have come into any general use." See Klinkhardt, De homine divite et Lazaro (Lipsise, 1831); Walker,
Parable of Lazarus (Lond. 1850); Meth. Quar. Rev. July and Oct. 1859; Jour. Sac. Lit. April, July, and Oct. 1864. SEE PARABLE.