My copy of Ben-Hur is over 50 years old – broken spine; brown, brittle pages; looks like it was written on a type-writer. It belonged to my father, who had an entire collection of books from the same publisher – Bancroft Classic. I’ve inherited this one, as well as Robinson Crusoe and A Tale of Two Cities. This one, I’ve been meaning to read the longest.
Ben-Hur follows the story of Judah, Prince of Jerusalem of the house of Hur, a young Jewish man who is wrongly accused of the attempted murder of a Roman General by a man he thought was his friend. After spending years as a galley slave, rowing the boat of another Roman General, Judas is set free and adopted by a Roman whom he saves from drowning. The rest…well, the rest is spoilers.
The novel ties in historical happenings around the time of Roman-Judea to the life of the infamous Jesus Christ. In fact, the whole novel is framed by his life and death. Judas, a faithful Jew, encounters Jesus Christ (and those affected by him) multiple times throughout the story, and it becomes most prominent at the very end.
The whole novel is, therefore, a very Christian tale. You can tell it is by the way Wallace wrote about people’s interactions with Jesus, and the way the miracles are portrayed. Rather than being a purely historical tale, the whole thing stinks of Christian propaganda and the teachings the religion brings.
Now, I’m not the most religious person in the world, but I did enjoy reading this. While the whole thing felt a bit like a morality tale at parts, and the glorification of the Christ figure is a bit too much for my taste, it’s still a classic that deserves to be read.
So, I did just that.
Final Rating: 3/5 – Not a waste of time to read, but I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone.
Quotes I liked: