Available Titles



The Gospel of Simon

a novel

John Smelcer

Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher named Jesus was  condemned to be crucified—an all too familiar spectacle in Jerusalem in those days. A man named Simon, from Cyrene was compelled 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 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. A book for everyone, no matter what you believe . . . or don’t.

Midwest Book Review

Fr. William "Bill" Kottenstette, Reviewer

As a Roman Catholic priest, there are parts of this book that challenged me and gave me pause to think. I can't say much without the risk of spoiling the book's many surprises. Having said that, there is much to admire in the way Smelcer has told a story that we all know, but rarely have considered so profoundly. In this retelling of Jesus's Passion from the point of view of Simon of Cyrene, who the Bible tells us helped Jesus to carry the heavy cross to Golgotha, Smelcer portrays an emotional Jesus who smiles, laughs, and is even playful at times. But he is also stern, pensive, and sad. At its heart, this is a book about love - God's love for us. In a bold and evocative re-imagining that is at once authentic yet also thoroughly modern, this heartfelt story speaks directly to us, reminding us of Jesus's message of love, compassion, mercy, inclusion, and peace. Perhaps this is the only way this story could have been told. Dedicated to Pope Francis and praised by many of the world's greatest religious thinkers and clerics, The Gospel of Simon is a timely and timeless book that readers will turn to again and again to reflect on favorite dog-eared passages. A remarkable and unforgettable book.

It should be noted that "The Gospel of Simon" is being published simultaneously in  Spanish (eBook) by Leapfrog Press.

“As this book shows, there are many similarities between Christianity and Buddhism, such as the practices of compassion, love, contemplation, and tolerance.”
—The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

“In a world where the media relentlessly inflames fear and hatred, here is a quiet voice espousing the triumph of love and peace.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize laureate

“Smelcer gives us a Jesus who condemns those who abuse the name of Godto 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

“A masterpiece capable of changing the world.”
—W. P. Kinsella, author of
Field of Dreams

“A book that reminds us again and again of Jesus’s gospel of love.”
—Saul Bellow, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature

“May this book bring a lot of benefi t to people who read it.”
—Th ich Nhat Hanh, author of
Love in Action

“This may be exactly the way it happened. A tour de force.”
—Tom O’Horgan, director of
Jesus Christ Superstar

“An ambitious reimagining of the most familiar story in history.”
—Chayym Zeldis, Tel Aviv University

“Enlightened, compelling, and blessed by grace. The timeless message will resonate with modern readers.”
—Marcus Borg, author of
Th e Heart of Christianity


About the Author

John Smelcer, Ph.D., is the author of more than fifty books, many translated and published worldwide. His bestselling books of mythology include Th e Raven and the Totem (foreword by Joseph Campbell) and Trickster. With Russian Orthodox Archbishop Benjamin, John contributed to the revised map of global Christianity in the 10th edition of Living Religions (Mary Pat Fisher, Ed.). With the Dalai Lama, John co-authored a poem on compassion. With astrophysicist and popular science writer Carl Sagan (Cosmos), John had earnest discussions about science and religion. Dr. Smelcer’s education includes postdoctoral studies at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard, where he studied Buddhism, Islam and Sufism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Judaism, and Christianity, including the historical Jesus of Nazareth. Learn more at www.johnsmelcer.com

The Gospel of Simon • John Smelcer

162 pages • ISBN 978-1-935248-84-2 • Trade paperback, $14.95

e-Book in English and Spanish available

Published by Leapfrog Press LLC • www.leapfrogpress.com

Distributed to the trade by Consortium Book Sales & Distribution

The Gospel of Simon


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