This article discusses the relationship between the modern novel of Beard and John’s stories
about Lazarus and Jesus, and wants to give answers to three questions: (1) how is the Lazarus
story in John interpreted by Beard?; (2) what meaning does John’s story have within its own
literary and cultural setting?; (3) what similarities and differences are there between Beard’s
interpretation and the original meaning of the Johannine story? Questions 1 and 2 require an
intratextual analysis, which focuses on the structure and meaning lines in each of the two texts.
Then follows an intertextual analysis which in this article is particularly aimed at comparing
the contents of the concepts/ death/ and/ live/ in the Fourth Gospel with the ways in which
these concepts are semantically coloured in Beard’s book. Studying echoes from the Bible in
modern literary contexts can explain how the rich potential of meaning of biblical texts is
being unlocked in new texts, time and time again, but can also help us to read the Bible with
new eyes through the lens of modern culture.