John Smelcer's Blog

John Smelcer's Blog

john smelcer dynamite Simon frontcover

“As this book shows, there are many similarities between
Buddhism and Christianity, such as the practices of compassion,
love, contemplation, peace, and tolerance.”
H. H. the Dalai Lama, author of The Good Heart

“Smelcer gives us a Jesus who condemns those who abuse the name of God to gain wealth or power, as well as anyone who fosters injustice and inequality, oppresses or enslaves others, and incites hatred, intolerance, bigotry, and violence.” Coretta Scott King

“Smelcer writes with the voice of Jesus. Until now we only thought we knew this story.”
Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest, social activist and author of
No Gods But One and The Kings and Their Gods

“The Gospel of Simon presents the Jewish rabbi Jesus of Nazareth as the prophetic figure he undoubtedly was, at once embodying the wisdom of Judaism and emphasizing its message of lovingkindness and compassion. If only its universal message of peace and non-violence could prevail in every culture and reshape every political and economic system towards a world of generosity, caring for each other, and joyous celebration of our endangered planet.” Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor of Tikkun and author of The Left Hand of God.

“This book reminds us that we are called to be bearers of love,
for there can be no faith without love.”
Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York

“Dazzling and visionary! Reminds us of Jesus’s gospel of love, nonviolence and peace.”
Bishop Edward Daly, Bishop of Derry (Ireland)

“John Smelcer challenges the certitudes of our times and offers a blueprint for religious peace.”
-Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, co-founder Center for Christian Jewish Understanding

Two thousand years ago, during Passover, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker named Jesus was condemned to be crucified—an all too familiar spectacle in Jerusalem in those days. That very morning, a man named Simon, from Cyrene, had come into the city with his two sons to sell a cartload of wine to the crowd of pilgrims flooding into the city. By chance, Roman soldiers compelled Simon to help Jesus carry the heavy cross through the crowded streets. What did Simon witness? What did he and Jesus talk about? Eager to learn more about his unfortunate companion, Simon returned to Jerusalem the next day. What he learned changed his life forever. Ever since, the descendants of Simon have safeguarded an incredible secret.

Though centered on the most recognizable Christian story, The Gospel of Simon is thoroughly interfaith and reminds us that Jesus’s message was love, compassion, inclusion, mercy, and peace. This is Jesus as a social rights and peace activist who advocates for religious tolerance. Dedicated to Pope Francis, Martin Luther King Jr., and Thomas Merton, The Gospel of Simon is capable of changing the world, if only the world will listen with its heart. Learn more at



       Click on the YouTube icon to watch a brief video of the author talking about the book.

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