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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace published by Harper &
Ben-Hur: A T ale of the
Brothers on November 12, 1880, and considered "the most influential Christian book
of the nineteenth century".[1] It became a best-selling American novel, surpassing
Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) in sales. The book also inspired
other novels with biblical settings and was adapted for the stage and motion picture
productions. Ben-Hur remained at the top of the US all-time bestseller list until the
publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936). The 1959 MGM film
adaptation of Ben-Hur was seen by tens of millions and won eleven Academy
Awards in 1960, after which the book's sales increased and it surpassed Gone with
the Wind.[2] It was blessed by Pope Leo XIII, the first novel ever to receive such
praise.[3] The success of the novel and its stage and film adaptations also helped it to
become a popular cultural icon that was used to promote numerous commercial

The story recounts in descriptive detail the adventures of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish
prince from Jerusalem who is enslaved by the Romans at the beginning of the 1st
century and becomes a charioteer and a Christian. Running in parallel with Judah's
narrative is the unfolding story of Jesus, from the same region and around the same
First edition, 1880
age. The novel reflects themes of betrayal, conviction, and redemption, with a
Author Lew Wallace
revenge plot that leads to a story of love and compassion.
Country United States
Language English
Genre Historical fiction
Contents Publisher Harper & Brothers
1 Plot summary Publication November 12, 1880
2 Detailed synopsis date
2.1 Part One Media type Print (Hardback &
2.2 Part Two
2.3 Part Three
2.4 Part Four
2.5 Part Five
2.6 Part Six
2.7 Part Seven
2.8 Part Eight
3 Characters
4 Major themes
5 Style
6 Background
6.1 Influences
6.2 Research
6.3 Wallace's religious beliefs
7 Composition and publication history
8 Reception
9 Adaptations
9.1 Stage
9.2 Film, radio, and television
9.3 Selected film and stage adaptations
9.4 Books
10 In popular culture
11 Tributes
12 See also
13 Notes
14 References
15 External links

Plot summary
Ben-Hur is a story of a fictional hero named Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman who was falsely accused of an attempted
assassination and enslaved by the Romans. He becomes a successful charioteer.[4][5] The story's revenge plot becomes a story of
compassion and forgiveness.[6]

The novel is divided into eight books, or parts, each with its own subchapters. Book one opens with the story of the three Magi, who
arrive in Bethlehem to hear the news of Christs birth. Readers meet the fictional character of Judah for the first time in book two,
when his childhood friendMessala, also a fictional character, returns to Jerusalem as an ambitious commanding officer of the Roman
legions. The teen-aged boys come to realize that they have changed and hold very different views and aspirations. When a loose tile
is accidentally dislodged from the roof of Judah's house during a military parade and strikes the Roman governor, knocking him from
his horse, Messala falsely accuses Judah of attempted assassination. Although Judah is not guilty and receives no trial, he is sent to
the Roman galleys for life; his mother and sister are imprisoned in a Roman jail, where they contract leprosy; and all the family
property is confiscated. Judah first encounters Jesus, who offers him a drink of water and encouragement, as Judah is being marched
to a galley to be a slave. Their lives continue to intersect as the story unfolds.

In book three Judah survives his ordeal as a galley slave through good fortune, which includes befriending and saving the commander
of his ship, who later adopts him. Judah goes on to become a trained soldier and charioteer. In books four and five Judah returns
home to Jerusalem to seek revenge and redemption for his family

After witnessing the Crucifixion, Judah recognizes that Christ's life stands for a goal quite different from revenge. Judah becomes
Christian, inspired by love and the talk of keys to a kingdom greater than any on Earth. The novel concludes with Judah's decision to
finance the Catacomb of San Calixtoin Rome, where Christian martyrs are to be buried and venerated.

Detailed synopsis

Part One
Biblical references: Matt. 2:112, Luke 2:120

Three Magi have come from the East. Balthasar, an Egyptian, sets up a tent in the desert, where he is joined by Melchior, a Hindu,
and Gaspar, a Greek. They discover they have been brought together by their common goal. They see a bright star shining over the
region, and take it as a sign to leave, following it through the desert toward the
province of Judaea.

At the Joppa Gate in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph pass through on their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They stop at the inn at the
entrance to the city, but there is no room. Mary is pregnant and, as labor begins, they head to a cave on a nearby hillside, where Jesus
is born. In the pastures outside the city, a group of seven shepherds watch their flocks. Angels announce the Christ's birth. The
shepherds hurry towards the city and enter the cave on the hillside to worship the Christ. They spread the news of the Christ's birth
and many come to see him.
The Magi arrive in Jerusalem and inquire for news of the Christ. Herod the Great is angry to hear of another king challenging his rule
and asks the Sanhedrin to find information for him. The Sanhedrin deliver a prophecy written by Micah, telling of a ruler to come
from Bethlehem Ephrathah, which they interpret to signify the Christ's birthplace.

Part Two
Biblical references: Luke 2:5152

Judah Ben-Hur, son of Ithamar, is a prince descended from a royal family of Judaea. Messala, his closest childhood friend and the son
of a Roman tax-collector, leaves home for five years of education in Rome. He returns as a proud Roman. He mocks Judah and his
religion and the two become enemies. As a result, Judah decides to go to Rome for military training in order to use his acquired skills
to fight the Roman Empire.

Valerius Gratus, the fourth Roman prefect of Judaea, passes by Judah's house.[8] As Judah watches the procession from his rooftop, a
loose roof tile happens to fall and hit the governor. Messala betrays Judah, who is quickly captured and accused of attempting to
murder Gratus. There is no trial; Judah's entire family is secretly imprisoned in the Antonia Fortress and all their property is seized.
As he is taken away, Judah vows vengeance against the Romans. He is sent as a slave to work aboard a Roman warship. On the
journey to the ship, he meets a young carpenter named Jesus, who offers him water, which deeply moves Judah and strengthens his
resolve to survive.

Part Three
In Italy, Greek pirate-ships have been looting Roman vessels in the Aegean Sea. The prefect Sejanus orders the Roman Quintus
Arrius to take warships to combat the pirates. Chained on one of the warships, Judah has survived three hard years as a Roman slave,
kept alive by his passion for vengeance. Arrius is impressed by Judah and decides to question him about his life and his story. He is
stunned to learn of Judah's former status as a son of Hur. In battle, the ship is damaged and starts to sink. Arrius unlocks Judah's
chains so he has a chance to survive, and Judah ends up saving the Roman from drowning. They share a plank as a makeshift raft
until being rescued by a Roman ship, whereupon they learn that the Romans were victorious in the battle; Arrius is lauded as a hero.
They return to Misenum, where Arrius adopts Judah as his son, making him afreedman and a Roman citizen.

Part Four
Judah Ben-Hur trains in wrestling for five years in the Palaestra in Rome before becoming the heir of Arrius after his death. While
traveling to Antioch on state business, Judah learns that his real father's chief servant, the slave Simonides, lives in a house in this
city, and has the trust of Judah's father's possessions, which he has invested so well that he is now wealthy. Judah visits Simonides,
who listens to his story but demands more proof of his identity. Ben-Hur says he has no proof, but asks if Simonides knows of the
fate of Judah's mother and sister. He says he knows nothing and Judah leaves the house. Simonides sends his servant Malluch to spy
on Judah to see if his story is true and to learn more about him. Shortly afterwards, Malluch meets and befriends Judah in the Grove
of Daphne, and they go to the games stadium together. There, Ben-Hur finds his old rival Messala racing one of the chariots,
preparing for a tournament.

The Sheik Ilderim announces that he is looking for a chariot driver to race his team in the coming tournament. Judah, wanting
revenge, offers to drive the sheik's chariot, as he intends to defeat Messala. Balthasar and his daughter Iras are sitting at a fountain in
the stadium. Messala's chariot nearly hits them but Judah intervenes. Balthasar thanks Ben-Hur and presents him with a gift. Judah
heads to Sheik Ilderim's tent. The servant Malluch accompanies him, and they talk about the Christ; Malluch relates Balthasar's story
of the Magi. They realize that Judah saved the man who saw the Christ soon after his birth.

Simonides, his daughter Esther, and Malluch talk together, and conclude that Judah is who he claims to be, and that he is on their side
in the fight against Rome. Messala realizes that Judah Ben-Hur has been adopted into a Roman home and his honor has been
restored. He threatens to take revenge. Meanwhile, Balthasar and his daughter Iras arrive at the Sheik's tent. With Judah they discuss
how the Christ, approaching the age of thirty
, is ready to enter public leadership. Judah takes increasing interest in the beautiful Iras.
Part Five
Messala sends a letter to Valerius Gratus about his discovery of Judah, but Sheik Ilderim intercepts the letter and shares it with Judah.
He discovers that his mother and sister were imprisoned in a cell at the Antonia Fortress, and Messala has been spying on him.
Meanwhile, Ilderim is deeply impressed with Judah's skills with his racing horses, and accepts him as his charioteer

Simonides comes to Judah and offers him the accumulated fortune of the Hur family business, of which the merchant has been
steward. Judah Ben-Hur accepts only the original amount of money, leaving property and the rest to the loyal merchant. They each
agree to do their part to fight for the Christ, whom they believe to be a political savior from Roman authority

A day before the race, Ilderim prepares his horses. Judah appoints Malluch to organize his support campaign for him. Meanwhile,
Messala organizes his own huge campaign, revealing Judah Ben-Hur's former identity to the community as an outcast and convict.
Malluch challenges Messala and his cronies to a lar
ge wager, which, if the Roman loses, would bankrupt him.

The day of the race comes. During the race, Messala and Judah become the clear leaders. Judah deliberately scrapes his chariot wheel
against Messala's and Messala's chariot breaks apart, causing him to be trampled by other racers' horses. Judah is crowned the winner
and showered with prizes, claiming his first strike against Rome. Messala is left with a broken body and the loss of his wealth.

After the race, Judah Ben-Hur receives a letter from Iras asking him to go to the Roman palace of Idernee. When he arrives, he sees
that he has been tricked. Thord, a Saxon, hired by Messala, comes to kill Judah. They duel, and Ben-Hur offers Thord four thousand
sestertii to let him live. Thord returns to Messala claiming to have killed Judah, so collects money from them both. Supposedly dead,
Judah Ben-Hur goes to the desert with Ilderim to plan a secret campaign.

Part Six
For Ben-Hur, Simonides bribes Sejanus to remove the prefect Valerius Gratus from his post; Valerius is succeeded by Pontius Pilate.
Ben-Hur sets out for Jerusalem to find his mother and sister. Pilate's review of the prison records reveals great injustice, and he notes
Gratus concealed a walled-up cell. Pilate's troops reopen the cell to find two women, Judah's long-lost mother and sister, suffering
from leprosy. Pilate releases them, and they go to the old Hur house, which is vacant. Finding Judah asleep on the steps, they give
thanks to God that he is alive, but do not wake him. As lepers, they are considered less than human. Banished from the city, they
leave in the morning.

Amrah, the Egyptian maid who once served the Hur house, discovers Ben-Hur and wakes him. She reveals that she has stayed in the
Hur house for all these years. Keeping touch with Simonides, she discouraged many potential buyers of the house by acting as a
ghost. They pledge to find out more about the lost family. Judah discovers an official Roman report about the release of two leprous
women. Amrah hears rumors of the mother and sister's fate.

Romans make plans to use funds from the corban treasury, of the Temple in Jerusalem, to build a new aqueduct. The Jewish people
petition Pilate to veto the plan. Pilate sends his soldiers in disguise to mingle with the crowd, who at an appointed time, begin to
massacre the protesters. Judah kills a Roman guard in a duel, and becomes a hero in the eyes of a group of
Galilean protesters.

Part Seven
Biblical references: John 1:2934

At a meeting in Bethany, Ben-Hur and his Galilean followers organize a resistance force to revolt against Rome. Gaining help from
Simonides and Ilderim, he sets up a training base in Ilderim's territory in the desert. After some time, Malluch writes announcing the
appearance of a prophet believed to be a herald for the Christ. Judah journeys to the Jordan to see the Prophet, meeting Balthasar and
Iras traveling for the same purpose. They reach Bethabara, where a group has gathered to hear John the Baptist preach. A man walks
up to John, and asks to be baptized. Judah recognizes Him as the man who gave him water at the well in Nazareth many years before.
Balthasar worships Him as the Christ.
Part Eight
Biblical references: Matthew 27:4851, Mark 1 :911, 14:5152, Luke 23:2646, John 12:1218, 18:219:30

During the next three years, that Man, Jesus, preaches his gospel around Galilee, and Ben-Hur becomes one of his followers. He
notices that Jesus chooses fishermen, farmers, and similar people, considered "lowly", as apostles. Judah has seen Jesus perform
miracles, and is now convinced that the Christ really had come.

During this time, Malluch has bought the old Hur house and renovated it. He invites Simonides and Balthasar
, with their daughters, to
live in the house with him. Judah Ben-Hur seldom visits, but the day before Jesus plans to enter Jerusalem and proclaim himself,
Judah returns. He tells all who are in the house of what he has learned while following Jesus. Amrah realizes that Judah's mother and
sister could be healed, and brings them from a cave where they are living. The next day, the three await Jesus by the side of a road
and seek his healing. Amidst the celebration of his Triumphal Entry, Jesus heals the women. When they are cured, they reunite with

Several days later, Iras talks with Judah, saying he has trusted in a false hope, for Jesus had not started the expected revolution. She
says that it is all over between them, saying she loves Messala. Ben-Hur remembers the "invitation of Iras" that led to the incident
with Thord, and accuses Iras of betraying him. That night, he resolves to go to Esther

While lost in thought, he notices a parade in the street and falls in with it. He notices that Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' disciples, is
leading the parade, and many of the temple priests and Roman soldiers are marching together. They go to the olive grove of
Gethsemane, and he sees Jesus walking out to meet the crowd. Understanding the betrayal, Ben-Hur is spotted by a priest who tries to
take him into custody; he breaks away and flees. When morning comes, Ben-Hur learns that the Jewish priests have tried Jesus before
Pilate. Although originally acquitted, Jesus has been sentenced to crucifixion at the crowd's demand. Ben-Hur is shocked at how his
supporters have deserted Christ in his time of need. They head to Calvary, and Ben-Hur resigns himself to watch the crucifixion of
Jesus. The sky darkens. Ben-Hur offers Jesus wine vinegar to return Jesus' favor to him, and soon after that Jesus utters his last cry.
Judah and his friends commit their lives to Jesus, realizing He was not an earthly king, but a heavenly King and a Savior of mankind.

Five years after the crucifixion, Ben-Hur and Esther have married and had children. The family lives in Misenum. Iras visits Esther
and tells her she has killed Messala, discovering that the Romans were brutes. She also implies that she will attempt suicide. After
Esther tells Ben-Hur of the visit, he tries unsuccessfully to find Iras. A Samaritan uprising in Judaea is harshly suppressed by Pontius
Pilate, and he is ordered back to Rome a decade after authorizing the crucifixion of Jesus.

In the tenth year of Emperor Nero's reign, Ben-Hur is staying with Simonides, whose business has been extremely successful. With
Ben-Hur, the two men have given most of the fortunes to the church of Antioch. Now, as an old man, Simonides has sold all his ships
but one, and that one has returned for probably its final voyage. Learning that the Christians in Rome are suffering at the hands of
Emperor Nero, Ben-Hur and his friends decide to help. Ben-Hur, Esther and Malluch sail to Rome, where they decided to build an
underground church. It will survive through the ages and comes to be known as theCatacomb of Callixtus.

Judah Ben-Hura Jewish prince of Jerusalem who is descended from a royal family of Judaea; son of Ithamar; [9]
enslaved by the Romans and later becomes a charioteer and follower of Christ. The name Ben-hur derives from the
Hebrew for one of King Solomon's twelve district governors (1 Kings 4:8); it also means "Son of white linen". [10]
When Wallace first introduces his readers toJudah, he is described as a seventeen-year-old youth wearing
garments of "fine white linen".[11] But this is not likely the correct translation, as in Hebrew actually means "hole".
Given that Wallace did not speak Hebrew and was not trained in Judaism, it is likely he just picked a name out of a
hat. Wallace chose the biblical name because it could be "easily spelled, printed, and pronounced." [4][5][12]

Miriammother of Judah Ben-Hur.[13]

TirzahJudah's younger sister.[14]
Simonidesa loyal Jewish servant to Ithamar [15]
, Judahs birth father; becomes a wealthy merchant in Antioch.
Esthermodest daughter of Simonides; she becomes Judah s wife and the mother of his children.[16] Wallace
, Esther French (Test) Wallace.[17][18]
named this fictional character after his own mother
MalluchSimonidess servant; becomes Judahs friend.[19]
Amrahan Egyptian slave; former maid in the Ben-Hur household family
[21] Judahs boyhood friend and rival.[22]
Messalaa Roman nobleman and the son of a Roman tax collector;
IshmaelRoman governor.[23]
Valerius Gratusthe fourth imperial (Roman) procurator ofJudea.[24] Judah is falsely accused of attempting to
assassinate him.[25]
Quintus ArriusRoman warship commander; Judah saves him from drowning; Arrius adopts Judah as his son,
making him a freedman, a Roman citizen, and Arriuss heir.[26]
Balthasaran Egyptian; one of the biblical Magi; along with Melchior , a Hindu, and Gaspar, a Greek, who came to
Bethlehem to witness the birth ofJesus of Nazareth.[27]
Irasbeautiful daughter of Balthasar; one of Judah s love interests, who later betrays and rejects him; she becomes
Messalas mistress and eventually kills him.[27][28]
Sheik Ilderiman Arab who agrees to let Judah race his chariot at Antioch.
Pontius Pilatereplaces Valerius Gratus as procurator (prefect);[30] releases Judahs mother and sister from
imprisonment in a Roman prison.[31]
Thorda Northman hired by Messala to kill Judah; double-crosses Messala and lets Judah live.
Jesus of NazarethSon of God; Christ; King of the Jews; son of Mary
Mary mother of Jesus; wife of Joseph of Nazareth.
, the father of Jesus Christ.[35]
Joseph of Nazaretha Jewish carpenter; husband of Mary
John the Nazaritea disciple of Christ.[36]

Major themes
Ben-Hur is the romantic story of a fictional nobleman named Judah Ben-Hur, who tries to save his family from misfortune and
restore honor to the family name, while earning the love of a modest female Jew named Esther. It is also a tale of vengeance and
spiritual forgiveness that includes themes of Christian redemption and God's benevolence through the compassion of strangers. A
popular theme with readers during Gilded Age America, when the novel was first published, was the idea of achieving prosperity
through piety. In Ben-Hur this is portrayed through Judah's rise from poverty to great wealth, the challenges he faces to his virtuous
, for his efforts.[6]
nature, and the rich rewards he receives, both materially and spiritually

Wallace's adventure story is told from the perspective of Judah Ben-Hur.[4] On occasion, the author speaks directly to his readers.[6]
Wallace understood that Christians would be skeptical of a fictional story on Christ's life, so he was careful not to offend them in his
[1] In his memoirs, Wallace wrote:
writing. Ben-Hur "maintains a respect for the underlying principles of Judaism and Christianity".

The Christian world would not tolerate a novel with Jesus Christ its hero, and I knew it ... He should not be present as an
actor in any scene of my creation. The giving a cup of water to Ben-Hur at the well near Nazareth is the only violation of
this rule ... I would be religiously careful that every word He uttered should be a literal quotation from one of His sainted

Wallace only used dialogue from the King James Bible for Jesus's words. He also created realistic scenes involving Jesus and the
main fictional character of Judah, and included a detailed physical description of the Christ, which was not typical of 19th-century
biblical fiction.[6] In Wallace's story, Judah "saw a face he never forgot ... the face of a boy about his own age, shaded by locks of
yellowish bright chestnut hair; a face lighted by dark-blue eyes, at the time so soft, so appealing, so full of love and holy purpose, that
they had all the power of command and will."[38]

The historical novel is filled with romantic and heroic action, including meticulously detailed and realistic descriptions of its
landscapes and characters. Wallace strove for accuracy in his descriptions, including several memorable action scenes, the most
famous of which was the chariot race at Antioch.[1] Wallace devoted four pages of the novel to a detailed description of the Antioch
arena.[39] Wallace's novel depicts Judah as the aggressive competitor who wrecks Messala's chariot from behind and leaves him to be
trampled by horses, in contrast to the 1959 film adaptation ofBen-Hur, where Messala is a villain who cheats by adding spikes to the
wheels of his chariot.[6] Wallace's novel explains that the crowd "had not seen the cunning touch of the reins by which, turning a little
to the left, he caught Messalas wheel with the iron-shod point of his axle, and crushed it".[40]

By the time of Ben-Hur's publication in 1880, Wallace had already published his first novel, The Fair God; or, The Last of the 'Tzins
(1873), and Commodus: An Historical Play (1876) that was never produced. He went on to publish several more novels and
biographies, includingThe Prince of India; or, Why Constantinople Fell(1893), a biography of President Benjamin Harrison in 1888,
and The Wooing of Malkatoon (1898), but Ben-Hur remained his most significant work and best-known novel.[41][42] Humanities
editor Amy Lifson named Ben-Hur as the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century, while others have identified it as
one of the best-selling novels of all time.[1][43] Carl Van Doren wrote that Ben-Hur was, along with Uncle Tom's Cabin, the first
fiction many Americans read.[6] Wallace's original plan was to write a story of the biblical Magi as a magazine serial, which he began
in 1873, but he had changed its focus by 1874.[44] Ben-Hur begins with the story of the Magi, but the remainder of the novel
allace's fictional character, Judah Ben-Hur.[4][5]
connects the story of Christ with the adventures of W

Wallace cited one inspiration for Ben-Hur, recounting his life-changing journey and talk with Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll, a well-
known agnostic and public speaker, whom he met on a train when the two were bound for Indianapolis on September 19, 1876.
Ingersoll invited Wallace to join him in his railroad compartment during the trip. The two men debated religious ideology, and
Wallace left the discussion realizing how little he knew about Christianity. He became determined to do his own research to write
about the history of Christ.[45] Wallace explained: "I was ashamed of myself, and make haste now to declare that the mortification of
pride I then endured ended in a resolution to study the whole matter, if only for the gratification there might be in having
convictions of one kind or another."[1][46] It is not known for certain when Wallace decided to write a novel based on the life of
Christ, but he had already written the manuscript for a magazine serial about the three Magi at least two years before his discussions
with Ingersoll.[47][48] Researching and writing about Christianity helped Wallace become clear about his own ideas and beliefs. He
developed the novel from his own exploration of the subject.

Ben-Hur was also inspired in part by Wallace's love of romantic novels, including those written by Sir Walter Scott and Jane
Porter,[6] and The Count of Monte Cristo (1846) by Alexandre Dumas, pre. The Dumas novel was based on the memoirs of an early
19th-century French shoemaker who was unjustly imprisoned and spent the rest of his life seeking revenge.[50] Wallace could relate
to the character's isolation of imprisonment. He explained in his autobiography that, while he was writing Ben-Hur, "the Count of
Monte Cristo in his dungeon of stone was not more lost to the world."

Other writers have viewed Ben-Hur within the context of Wallace's own life. Historian Victor Davis Hanson argues that the novel
drew from Wallace's experiences as a division commander during the American Civil War under General Ulysses S. Grant. Hanson
compares Wallace's real-life experience in battle, battle tactics, combat leadership, and jealousies among American Civil War military
commanders to those of Wallace's fictional character of Judah, whose unintentional injury to a high-ranking military commander
leads to further tragedy and suffering for the Ben-Hur family. Wallace made some controversial command decisions, and he delayed
in arriving on the battlefield during the first day of the battle of Shiloh, when Grant's Union army sustained heavy casualties. This
created a furore in the North, damaged Wallace's military reputation, and drew accusations of incompetence.

John Swansburg, deputy editor of Slate, suggests that the chariot race between the characters of Judah and Messala may have been
based on a horse race which Wallace reportedly ran and won against Grant some time after the battle of Shiloh.[6] The Judah
character's superior horsemanship helped him beat Messala in a chariot race that earned Judah great wealth. F. Farrand Tuttle Jr., a
Wallace family friend, reported the story of the horse race between Grant and Wallace in the Denver News on February 19, 1905, but
Wallace never wrote about it. The event may have been a Wallace family legend, but the novel which includes the action-packed
chariot race made Wallace a wealthy man and established his reputation as a famous author and sought-after speaker
Wallace was determined to make the novel historically accurate and did extensive
research on the Middle East that related to the time period covered in his novel.
However, he did not travel to Rome or the Holy Land until after its
publication.[54][55] Wallace began research for the story in 1873 at the Library of
Congress in Washington, D.C., and made several additional research trips to
Washington, Boston, and New York.[6][54]

To establish an authentic background for his story, Wallace gathered references on

Roman history as well as the geography, culture, language, customs, architecture,
and daily life in the ancient world from libraries across the United States. He also
studied the Bible. Wallace intended to identify the plants, birds, names, architectural
practices, and other details. He later wrote: "I examined catalogues of books and
maps, and sent for everything likely to be useful. I wrote with a chart always before
my eyesa German publication showing the towns and villages, all sacred places,
the heights, the depressions, the passes, trails, and distances."[56] Wallace also
recounted traveling to Boston and Washington, D.C. to research the exact Lew Wallace, Union general, c.
proportions for the oars of a Roman trireme.[54] Wallace found that his estimations 18621865
were accurate in the mid-1880s, during a visit to the Holy Land after Ben-Hur was
published, and that he could "find no reason for making a single change in the text of
the book."[1][57]

An example of Wallace's attention to detail is his description of the fictional chariot race and its setting at the arena in Antioch. Using
a literary style that addressed his audience directly
, Wallace wrote:

Let the reader try to fancy it; let him first look down on the arena, and see it glistening in its frame of dull-gray granite
walls; let him then, in this perfect field, see the chariots, light of wheel, very graceful, and ornate as paint and burnishing
can make them ... let the reader see the accompanying shadows fly; and, with such distinctness as the picture comes, he
may share the satisfaction and deeper pleasure of those to whom it was a thrilling fact, not a feeble fancy

Wallace's religious beliefs

It is ironic that an acclaimed biblical novel,[59] one that would rival the Bible in popularity during the Gilded Age, was inspired by a
discussion with a noted agnostic and written by an author who was never a member of any church.[6] Its publication prompted
speculation about Wallaces faith. Wallace claimed that when he began writing Ben-Hur, he was not "in the least influenced by
religious sentiment" and "had no convictions about God or Christ",[44][59] but he was fascinated by the biblical story of the three
Magi's journey to find Jesus, king of the Jews. After extensive studies of the Bible and the Holy Land, and well before he had
completed the novel, Wallace became a believer in God and Christ.[51][59][60] In his autobiography Wallace acknowledged:

In the very beginning, before distractions overtake me, I wish to say that I believe absolutely in the Christian conception
of God. As far as it goes, this confession is broad and unqualified, and it ought and would be sufficient were it not that
books of mineBen-Hur and The Prince of Indiahave led many persons to speculate concerning my creed ... I am not
a member of any church or denomination, nor have I ever been. Not that churches are objectionable to me, but simply
because my freedom is enjoyable, and I do not think myself good enough to be a communicant.

Composition and publication history

Most of the book was written during Wallace's spare time in the evening, while traveling, and at home in Crawfordsville, Indiana,
where he often wrote outdoors during the summer, sitting under a favorite beech tree near his home. (The tree has since that time
been called the Ben-Hur Beech.)[6][62] Wallace moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico after his appointment as governor of the New
Mexico Territory, where he served from August 1878 to March 1881.[63] He completed Ben-Hur in 1880 at the Palace of the
Governors in Santa Fe.[64] Wallace wrote mostly at night after his formal duties had concluded, in a room in the palace that was once
described in tours as the birthplace of Ben-Hur.[65] In his memoirs, Wallace recalled how he composed the climactic scenes of the
Crucifixion by lantern light: "The ghosts, if they were about, did not disturb me; yet in the midst of that gloomy harborage I beheld
the Crucifixion, and strove to write what I beheld."

In March 1880, Wallace copied the final manuscript of Ben-Hur in purple ink as a tribute to the Christian season of Lent. He took a
leave of absence from his post as New Mexico's territorial governor and traveled to New York City to deliver it to his publisher. On
April 20, Wallace personally presented the manuscript to Joseph Henry Harper of Harper and Brothers, who accepted it for

At the time of Ben-Hur's publication, the idea of presenting Christ and the Crucifixion in a fictional novel was a sensitive issue.
Wallace's depiction of Christ could have been considered by some as blasphemy, but the quality of his manuscript and his assurances
that he had not intended to offend Christians with his writing overcame the publisher's reservations.[68] Harper praised it as "the most
beautiful manuscript that has ever come into this house. A bold experiment to make Christ a hero that has been often tried and always
failed."[1][69] Harper and Brothers offered Wallace a contract that would earn him ten percent in royalties and published Ben-Hur on
November 12, 1880. It initially sold for $1.50 per copy, an expensive price when compared to other popular novels published at the

Initial sales of Ben-Hur were slow, only 2,800 copies were sold in the first seven months, but within two years the book had become
popular among readers.[72] At the beginning of its third year, 750 copies were sold each month, and by 1885, the monthly average
was 1,200 copies.[70] By 1886 the book was earning Wallace about $11,000 in annual royalties, a substantial amount at the time, and
began to sell, on average, an estimated 50,000 copies per year.[53][73][74] By 1889 Harper and Brothers had sold 400,000
copies.[43][75] Ten years after its initial publication the book had reached sustained sales of 4,500 per month.[70] A study conducted
in 1893 of American public library book loans found that Ben-Hur had the highest percentage (eighty-three percent) of loans among
contemporary novels.[6] In addition to the publication of the complete novel, two parts were published as separate volumes: The First
Christmas (1899) and The Chariot Race (1912).[74]

In 1900 Ben-Hur became the best-selling American novel of the 19th century, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's
Cabin.[76][77] By that time it had been printed in thirty-six English-language editions and translated into twenty other languages,
including Indonesian and Braille.[78] Literary historian James D. Hart explained that by the turn of the century, "If every American
did not read the novel, almost everyone was aware of it."[70] Between 1880 and 1912, an estimated one million copies of the book
were sold, and in 1913, Sears Roebuck ordered another one million copies, at that time the largest single-year print edition in
American history, and sold them for 39 cents apiece.[2][74]

Within twenty years of it publication, Ben-Hur was "second only to the Bible as the best-selling book in America", and remained in
second position until Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind (1936) surpassed it.[1][5] A 1946 edition of Ben-Hur published by
Grosset and Dunlap boasted that 26 million copies of the novel were in print.[74] With the release of the 1959 film adaptation of the
book, Ben-Hur returned to the top of the bestseller lists in the 1960s. At the time of the book's one hundredth anniversary in 1980,
Ben-Hur had never been out of print and had been adapted for the stage and several motion pictures.

When Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ first appeared in 1880, it was bound in a cadet blue-gray cloth with floral
decorations on the front cover, spine, and back cover.

It was copyrighted October 12, 1880; published November 12th (as noted in a letter to Wallace from Harper dated November 13,
1880). The earliest autographed copy noted bears Wallace's inscription dated November 17, 1880, in the collection of the Indiana
Historical Society Library. The first printed review appeared inThe New York Times, November 14, 1880, and noted that it is "printed
and in the hands of book dealers."
According to Russo and Sullivan, Mrs. Wallace objected to the floral decorative cloth. She wrote to Harper on January 3, 1885, in
answer to a question about the true first edition: "I incline to the belief that the volume seen was one of the first issue of Ben-Hur,
which would explain the gay binding." (Original letter is in the Eagle Crest Library.) Further, the Harpers Literary Gossip printed an
article, "How the First 'Ben-Hur' Was Bound": "Inquiries have reached the Harpers concerning the binding of the first edition of Ben-
Hur, which appeared in 1880. The first edition was issued in a series which the Harpers were then publishing. It was 16mo form,
bound in cadet-blue cloth, and decorated with clusters of flowers in red, blue, and green on the front cover and a vase of flowers in
the same colors on the back cover. The lettering on the cover is black." (Excerpt in the Eagle Crest Library

Harpers apparently retaliated at Susan Wallace's objections over the binding. In the next two binding states (all 1st editions), the text
was bound in drab, brown mesh cloth (seen occasionally today as a faded gray) over beveled boards [Binding State 2] and brown
pebbled cloth over beveled boards [Binding State 3].

The book is dedicated "To the Wife of My Youth". This dedication appears in the first printing run of about 5,000 copies, all either in
the 1st edition, 1st state binding or in two alternate bindings. In an 1887 printing of Ben-Hur at the Rare Books Department of the
Cincinnati Public Library, Lew Wallace wrote to Alexander Hill: "My Dear Friend HillWhen Ben-Hur was finished, I told my wife
it was to be dedicated to her, and that she must furnish the inscription. She wrote 'To the Wife of My Youth' / The book became
popular; then I began to receive letters of sympathy and enquiries as to when and of what poor Mrs. Wallace died. I laughed at first,
but the condolences multiplied until finally I told the good woman that having got me into the trouble she must now get me out,
which she did by adding the words--'Who still abides with me.' / The device was perfect." Wallace apparently also received many
marriage proposals due to the misunderstanding.[80]

Ben-Hur was popular in its own day despite slow initial sales and mixed reviews from contemporary literary critics, who "found its
romanticism pass and its action pulpy".[6] Century magazine called it an "anachronism" and The Atlantic panned its descriptions as
"too lavish".[70] For its readers, however, the book "resonated with some of the most significant issues in late Victorian culture:
gender and family; slavery and freedom; ethnicity and empire; and nationhood and citizenship".[5] With the chariot race as its central
attraction and the character of Judah emerging as a "heroic action figure",[5] Ben-Hur enjoyed a wide popularity among readers,
similar to the dime novels of its day;[6] however, its continued appearance on popular lists of great American literature remained a
source of frustration for many literary critics over the years.

The novel had millions of fans, including several influential men in politics. U.S. president and American Civil War general Ulysses
S. Grant, U.S. president James Garfield, and Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederate States of America, were
enthusiastic fans.[6] Garfield was so impressed that he appointed Wallace as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire, based in
Constantinople, Turkey. Wallace served in this diplomatic post from 1881 to 1885.

Ben-Hur was published at time when the United States was moving away from war and reconstruction.[6] One scholar argues that
Ben-Hur became so popular that it "helped to reunite the nation in the years following Reconstruction".[5] It has been suggested that
the Southerners' positive reception of a book written by Wallace, a former Union general, was his message of compassion
overcoming vengeance and his sympathetic description of slaveholders.[6] Poet, editor and Confederate veteranPaul Hamilton Hayne
described Ben-Hur as "simple, straightforward, but eloquent".[6][82]

Critics point to problems such as flat characters and dialogue, unlikely coincidences driving the plot, and tedious and lengthy
descriptions of settings, but others note its well-structured plot and exciting story,[78] with its unusual mix of romanticism, spiritual
piety, action and adventure.[49] A New York Times review in 1905 referred to Ben-Hur as Wallace's masterwork, further noting it
. People who read much else of worth rarely readBen-Hur".[83]
"appealed to the unsophisticated and unliterary

Popular novels of Christ's life, such as Reverend J. H. Ingraham'sThe Prince of the House of David(1855), preceded Wallace's novel,
while others such as Charles M. Shedon's"In His Steps": What Would Jesus Do? (1897) followed it, butBen-Hur was among the first
to make Jesus a major character in a novel.[6] Members of the clergy and others praised Wallace's detailed description of the Middle
East during Jesus's lifetime and encouraged their congregations to read the book at home and during Sunday School.[84] One Roman
Catholic priest wrote to Wallace: "The messiah appears before us as I always wished him depicted".
Readers also credited Wallace's novel with making Jesus's story more believable by providing vivid descriptions of the Holy Land
and inserting his own character of Judah into scenes from the gospels. One former alcoholic, George Parrish from Kewanee, Illinois,
wrote the author a letter creditingBen-Hur with causing him to reject alcohol and find religion. Parrish remarked: "It seemed to bring
Christ home to me as nothing else could".[6] Others who were inspired by the novel dedicated themselves to Christian service and
became missionaries, some of them helping to translate Ben-Hur into other languages.[84] This kind of religious support helped Ben-
Hur become one of the best-selling novels of its time. It not only reduced lingering American resistance to the novel as a literary
form, but later adaptations were instrumental in introducing some Christian audiences to theater and film.


After the novel's publication in 1880, Wallace was
deluged with requests to dramatize it as a stage
play, but he resisted, arguing that no one could
accurately portray Christ on stage or recreate a
realistic chariot race.[85] Dramatist William
Young suggested a solution to represent Jesus
with a beam of light, which impressed Wallace. In
1899, Wallace entered into an agreement with
theatrical producers Marc Klaw and Abraham
Erlanger to turn his novel into a stage adaptation.
The resulting play opened at the Broadway
Theater in New York City on November 29, 1899.
Critics gave it mixed reviews, but the audience
packed each performance, many of them first-
1901 poster for a production of the play at the Illinois Theatre,
time theater-goers. It became a hit, selling 25,000 Chicago
tickets per week.[74][86] From 1899 until its last
performance in 1921, the show played in large
venues in U.S. cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Baltimore, and traveled internationally to London, England, and
Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The stage adaptation was seen by an estimated twenty million people,[86] and William Jennings
Bryan claimed that it was "the greatest play on stage when measured by its religious tone and more effect."[6] Its popularity
introduced the theater to a new audience, "many of them devout churchgoers whod previously been suspicious of the stage."

The key spectacle of the show recreated the chariot race with live horses and real chariots running on treadmills with a rotating
backdrop.[87] Its elaborate set and staging came at a time "when theatre was yearning to be cinema."[88][89] After Wallace saw the
elaborate stage sets, he exclaimed, "My God. Did I set all of this in motion?"

When the play was produced in London in 1902, The Era's drama critic described how the chariot race was achieved with "four great
cradles" 20 feet (6.1 m) long and 14 feet (4.3 m) wide, that moved "back and front on railways", while horses secured with invisible
steel cable traces galloped on treadmills towards the audience. The horses also drove the movement of a vast cyclorama backdrop,
which revolved in the opposite direction to create an illusion of rapid speed. Electric rubber rollers spun the chariot wheels, while
fans created clouds of dust. The production had imported thirty tons of stage equipment from the United States, employed a cast of
more than one hundred, and featured sets with fountains, palm trees, and the sinking of a Roman galley.[89] A critic for The
Illustrated London News described the London production in 1902 as "a marvel of stage-illusion" that was "memorable beyond all
else", while The Sketch's critic called it "thrilling and realistic ... enough to make the fortune of any play" and noted that "the stage,
which has to bear 30 tons' weight of chariots and horses, besides huge crowds, has had to be expressly strengthened and shored
In 2009, Ben Hur Live was staged at the O2 arena on the Greenwich peninsula in London. It featured a live chariot race, gladiatorial
combat, and a sea battle. The production used forty-six horses, 500 tons of special sand, and 400 cast and crew. All of the show's
dialogue was in Latin and Aramaic of the period, with voiceover narration. However, despite its massive staging, a critic for The
[90] In contrast, London's Battersea
Guardian remarked that it lacked the theatrical spectacle to inspire the imagination of its audience.
Arts Centre staged a lower-key version of Ben-Hur in 2002 that featured a limited cast of ten and the chariot race.

Film, radio, and television

The development of the cinema following the novel's publication brought film adaptations in 1907, 1925, 1959, 2003, and 2016, as
well as a North American TV mini-series in2010.[91]

In 1907, Sidney Olcott and Frank Oakes Ross directed a short film for the Kalem Company that was based on the book, but it did not
have the Wallace heir's or the book publisher's permissions.[74][92] The author's son Henry Wallace, stage producers Klaw and
Erlanger, and the books publisher Harper and Brothers sued the films producers for violating U.S. copyright laws. The landmark
case Kalem Co. v. Harper Brothers (1911) [222 U.S. 55 (1911)] went to the U.S. Supreme Court and set a legal precedent for motion
picture rights in adaptations of literary and theatrical works. The court's ruling required the film company to pay $25,000 in damages
plus expenses.[86][92]

Wallace's son continued to receive offers to sell the film rights to the book after his fathers death. Henry refused all offers until 1915,
when he changed his mind and entered into an agreement with Erlanger for $600,000. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer later obtained the film
rights.[93] The 1925 film adaptation of Ben-Hur under director Fred Niblo starred Ramon Novarro as Ben-Hur and Francis X.
Bushman as Messala.[94] Filming began in Italy and was completed in the United States. It cost MGM $3.9 million, "making it the
most expensive silent film in history."[93] The film premiered on December 20, 1925 at the George M. Cohan Theater in New York
City. It received positive reviews[93] and became a top-grossing silent film of the era.[95]

In 1955, MGM began planning for a new version of the film with William Wyler as its director, who had worked as an assistant
director of the chariot race in the 1925 film.[1] The 1959 film adaptation of Ben-Hur starred Charlton Heston as Judah, with Stephen
Boyd as Messala. It was shot on location in Rome. Filming wrapped up on January 7, 1959[96] at a cost of an estimated $12.5 to $15
million; it became the most expensive motion picture made up to that time. It was also among the most successful films ever
made.[96] The film premiered at Loews State Theater in New York City on November 18, 1959. It earned more than $40 million at
the box office and an estimated $20 million morein merchandising revenues.[95][97]

Wallaces novel was eclipsed by the popularity of Wyler's 1959 film adaptation, a "blockbuster hit for MGM", that won a record
eleven Academy awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and became the top-grossing film of 1960.[91]
Heston won the Oscar for Best Actor, and called it his "best film work";[98] Wyler won the Academy's award for Best Director. In
1998, the American Film Institute named Wyler's film one of the hundred best American films of all time.[98] The screenplay is
credited solely to Karl Tunberg. Christopher Fry and Gore Vidal also made significant contributions during production. Vidal stated
that he had added a homo-erotic sub-text, a claim disputed by Heston.

A BBC Radio 4 dramatization of the book in four parts was first broadcast in the United Kingdom in MarchApril, 1995,[99] starring
Jamie Glover as Ben-Hur, with a cast that includedSamuel West and Michael Gambon.[100]

Selected film and stage adaptations

ork City on November 29, 1899.[86]
Ben-Hur (play), a play that debuted on Broadway in New Y
Ben Hur (1907 film), a silent film short.[86]
Ben-Hur (1925 film), an MGM silent film starring Ramon Novarro; it premiered in New orkY City on December 20,
Ben-Hur (1959 film), an MGM sound film starring Charlton Heston; it premiered in New orkY City on November 18,

Ben Hur (2003 film), an animated direct-to-video film featuring the voice of Charlton Heston
Ben Hur Live, a 2009 stage adaptation
Ben Hur (TV miniseries), a 2010 adaptation
Ben-Hur (2016 film), a film adaptation for MGM andParamount Pictures, released worldwide after August 17,
In the Name of Ben Hur(2016 film), a different adaptation.

Ben-Hur's success encouraged the publication of other historical romance stories of the ancient world, including G. J. Whyte-
Melville's The Gladiators: A Tale of Rome and Judea (1870), Marie Corelli's Barabbas (1901), and Florence Morse Kingsley's Titus,
A Comrade of the Cross (1897).[70] Other novels adapted Wallace's story: Herman M. Bien's Ben-Beor (1891), J. O. A. Clark's
Esther: A Sequel to Ben-Hur (1892), Miles Gerald Keon's Dion and Sibyls (1898), and J. Breckenridge Ellis's Adnah (1902).[104]
Esther and other unauthorized uses of Wallace's characters led to court cases initiated by Wallace and his son Henry, to protect
authors' copyrights.

At least eight translations of the book into Hebrew were made between 1959 and 1990. Some of these versions have involved
, dropping of Christian themes, and plot.[105]
wholesale restructuring of the narrative, including changes to character

In 2016, Wallace's great-great-granddaughter, Carol Wallace, published a version of Ben-Hur which was released to coincide with the
new film version, using prose for 21st century readers.[106]

In popular culture
Ben-Hur's success also led to its popularity as a promotional tool and a prototype for popular culture merchandising.[95] It was not
the only novel to have related popular culture products, but W
allace and his publisher were the first to legally protect and successfully
promote the use of their literary work for commercial purposes.[107] In the decades following its publication,Ben-Hur and its famous
chariot race became well-established in popular culture as a "respected, alluring, and memorable" brand name and a recognizable
icon that had mass market appeal.[108]

The novel was linked to commercial products that included Ben-Hur flour, produced by the Royal Milling Company of Minneapolis,
Minnesota, and a line of Ben-Hur toiletries, including Ben-Hur perfume from the Andrew Jergens Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.[109]
Other consumer goods included Ben-Hur bicycles, cigars, automobiles, clocks, and hair products. The Ben-Hur name and images
also appeared in magazine advertisements for Honeywell, Ford, and Green Giant products.[107] After MGM released the 1959 film
adaptation of the novel, the studio licensed hundreds of companies to create related products, including Ben-Hur-related clothing,
household goods, jewelry, food products, crafts, and action figures.[110]

More than one tribute to Wallace's most famous book and its fictional hero have been erected near Wallace's home in Crawfordsville,
Indiana. The General Lew Wallace Study and Museumhonors the character of Judah Ben-Hur with a limestonefrieze of his imagined
face installed over the entrance to the study.[1] Wallace's grave marker at the cemetery in Crawfordsville, Indiana includes a line from
the Balthazar character inBen-Hur: "I would not give one hour of life as a soul for a thousand years of life as a man."

See also
Tribe of Ben-Hur fraternal organization based on the book, known some time later as the Ben-Hur Life Association,
an insurance company.

1. Amu Lifton (2009). "Ben-Hur: The Book That Shook the World" (
ur.html). Humanities. Washington, D.C.: National Endowment forthe Humanities. 30 (6). Retrieved April 20, 2010.
2. Wallace, Lew (1998) Ben-Hur. Oxford World's Classics, p. vii.
3. Asimov, Isaac. Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts, New York: Random House Value Publishing, 1981
4. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 298.
5. Miller, p. 155.
6. John Swansburg (2013-03-26)."The Passion of Lew Wallace" (
_hur_and_lew_wallace_how_the_scapegoat_of_shiloh_became_one_of_the_best.single.html) . Slate. Retrieved
March 30, 2013.
7. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 552.
8. Wallace uses "procurator," which until 1961 was thought to be the correct title.
9. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 100 and 171
10. David Mandel (2007). Who's Who in the Jewish Bible. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society
. p. 62. ISBN 0-8276-
11. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 82.
12. Wallace, An Autobiography, p. 936.
13. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 302.
14. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 112.
15. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 174.
16. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 180 and 548.
17. Wallace, An Autobiography, p. 932.
18. McKee, "The Early Life of Lew Wallace", p. 206.
19. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 185, 205 and 220.
20. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 934.
21. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 812.
22. Morsberger and Morsberger, pp. 301 and 303.
23. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 83.
24. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 77 and 80.
25. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 11819.
26. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 135, 16062, and 16667.
27. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 9, 1217.
28. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 303.
29. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 206 and 231.
30. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 385.
31. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 392403.
32. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 38085.
33. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 64 and 76.
34. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 41.
35. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 3941.
36. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 459, 46166.
37. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), pp. 93334.
38. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 126.
39. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 35054.
40. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), p. 370.
41. Stephens, pp. 234 and 236.
42. Morsberger and Morsberger, pp. 5445.
43. Boomhower, p. 111.
44. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 927.
45. Morsberger and Morsberger, pp. 29899.
46. Wallace, An Autobiography, p. 930. Wallace's article "How I Came to Write Ben-Hur" appeared in the February 2,
1893, issue of The Youths Companion and was included as part of his autobiography .
47. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 299.
48. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 930.
49. Russell W. Dalton, Ben-Hur (2009), New York: Barnes and Noble.
50. Morseberger and Morseberger, p. 292.
51. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 936.
52. Victor Davis Hanson (2003). Ripples of Battle: How Wars of the Past Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live,
and How We Think. New York: Doubleday. pp. 13639. ISBN 0-385-50400-4.
53. Stephens, p. 229.
54. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 300.
55. Wallace and his wife Susan visited the Holy Land, including Jerusalem and the surrounding area, during his service
as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire (188185). See Boomhower, pp. 119 and 125.
56. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 934.
57. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 937.
58. Wallace, Ben-Hur (1880), pp. 36061.
59. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 297.
60. Miller, p. 160.
61. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), pp. 12.
62. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 9345.
63. Boomhower, p. 98 and 101; Ferraro, p. 142; and Morrow, p. 15.
64. Boomhower, p. 110; Morrow, p. 15; and Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 3001.
65. There remains some dispute as to which room W allace used. His description of the room and subsequent
remodeling of the palace have made its location unrecognizable. See Morsberger and Morsberger , p. 2912.
66. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 2923, and 301.
67. The original manuscript ofBen=Hur is held at the Lilly Library, Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. See "Lilly
Library Manuscripts Collection: Wallace Mss. II" (
=none). Indiana University. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
68. Morsberger and Morsberger, p. 293.
69. Wallace, An Autobiography (1906), p. 938.
70. James D. Hart (1950).The Popular Book: A History of Americas Literary Taste. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
p. 1634. ISBN 0-8371-8694-3.
71. Boomhower, p. 9, 91, and 110.
72. Boomhower, p. 11 and 110, and Morsbergerand Morsberger, p. 294.
73. Boomhower, p. 12.
74. Jon Solomon (2008). "Fugitive Sources, Ben-Hur, and the Popular Art "Property" " (
extract). RBM. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.9 (1): 68. Retrieved 2014-10-27.
75. Hanson, p. 140.
76. Lew Wallace (2003). Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, with a New Introduction by Tim LaHaye (
PqKwmv3hoIhlVC9hqc). New York: Signet Classic. p. vii.
77. Morrow, p. 16.
78. Russell W. Dalton (Introduction).Ben-Hur. Barnes and Noble Books, New York.
79. Boomhower, p. 11 and 138, and Morrow, p. 10, 1718.
81. Stephens, pp. 22930.
82. Wallace, An Autobiography, p. 947.
83. "The Author of 'Ben Hur' " (
DA405B858CF1D3). The New York Times. New York City. 1905-02-18. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
84. Miller, pp. 16001.
85. Boomhower, pp. 13839.
86. Boomhower, pp. 14041.
87. Boomhower, p. 140.
88. Samantha Ellis (2002-11-23)."Ben-Hur Returns to the Stage after 100 Y
ears" (
2/nov/23/arts.artsnews). The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-28.
89. Samantha Ellis (2003-10-08)."Ben-Hur, London, 1902" (
The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
90. Espiner, Mark (2009-09-14). "Ben Hur Live leaves little to the imagination"(
eblog/2009/sep/14/ben-hur-live). Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
91. Cobbett Steinberg (1980).Film Facts. New York: Facts on File. pp. 17 and 23.ISBN 0-87196-313-2.
92. Roy Kinnard and Tim Davis (1992). Divine Images: A History of Jesus on the Screen
. New York: Carol Publishing
Group. p. 29. ISBN 0-80651-284-9.
93. Boomhower, p. 1412.
94. Gary Allen Smith (2004).Epic Films: Casts, Credits and Commentary on over 350 Historical Spectacle Movies
ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co. p. 33. ISBN 0-7864-1530-4.
95. Solomon, p. 689.
96. Smith, pp. 3435.
97. Boomhower, 1424.
98. Boomhower, p. 144.
99. BBC Genome Beta Radio Times 1923-2009
100. "Lew Wallace Ben Hur" ( BBC. 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-02.
101. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, co-produced by Mark Burnett, Sean Daniel, and Roma Downey, and written for the
screen by Keith Clarke (The Way Back) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave). See Mike Fleming, Jr. (January 14,
2013). "Sweet Chariot! MGM is Rebooting Ben-Hur"(
reboot-mgm-lew-wallace-novel/). Retrieved October 28, 2014.; Justin Kroll (April 23, 2014).
"Paramount Joins MGM on 'Ben-Hur' Remake"(
remake-exclusive-1201162065/). Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved October 28, 2014.; and Mike Fleming Jr. (April 25,
2014). "Jesus Whisperers Mark Burnett And Roma Downey Board MGM/Paramount's 'Ben-Hur ' " (http://www.deadlin .
Retrieved October 28, 2014.
102. McNary, Dave. "Ben-Hur Remake Moved to August"(
01623266/). Variety.
103. "Ben-Hur (2016) Release Info"(, Inc. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
104. Solomon, p. 75.
105. Israeli academic Nitsa Ben-Ari discusses the complex socio-political context of these translations and changes. See
Nitsa Ben-Ari (2002). "The Double Conversion of Ben-Hur: A Case of Manipulative ranslation"
T (
~nitsaba/Publications/papers/NBA-DoubleConversionBen-Hur2002.pdf) (PDF). Tel Aviv University. Retrieved
106. "Ben-Hur" ( Tyndale. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
107. Solomon, p. 74.
108. Solomon, p. 78.
109. Miller, p. 158 and 167.
110. Miller, p. 171.

Ben-Ari, Nitsa (2002). "The Double Conversion of Ben-Hur: A Case of Manipulative ranslation"
T (PDF). Tel Aviv
University. Retrieved 2014-10-01.
Boomhower, Ray E. (2005). The Sword and the Pen. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press.ISBN 0-87195-
Ferraro, William M. (June 2008)."A Struggle for Respect: Lew Wallaces Relationships with Ulysses S. Grant and
William Tecumseh Sherman After Shiloh". Indiana Magazine of History. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University .
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External links
Trailer from 1959 Film version ofBen Hur

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ at Project Gutenberg

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, 1887 printing, scanned book viaInternet Archive
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ public domain audiobook atLibriVox

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