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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  21,365 ratings  ·  474 reviews
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Hesperides Press are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
ebook, 584 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Hesperides Press (first published January 1st 1880)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Vane
Is not his the law, Eye for eye, hand for hand, foot for foot? Oh, in all these years I have dreamed of vengeance, and prayed and provided for it, and gathered patience from the growing of my store, thinking and promising, as the Lord liveth, it will one day buy me punishment of the wrong-doers?


Who's in for a revenge tale set in the first century a.C.?

Ben-Hur is a man who's perfectly happy. He has a mother and a sister who love him, and he's friends with a Roman, and that puts him in a positio
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Jonathan

"Out of that vast tomb Christianity issued to supersede the Caesars."

Ben Hur is one of those classic works better recognised for its many adaptations. To this end it seems fair to compare it to another highly similar work - Les Miserables. Both are classic historical fiction works which use history to spread themes and ideas about humanity as a whole. Both novels also regularly divert from the storytelling to provide detailed insights into history. This is perhaps where Ben Hur is stronger tha
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Shivering William
The first sign that I should not have read this book was the discrepancy in hours between the abridged and unabridged versions on audible. Unabridged: 21 hours, Abridged: 3 hours. I bought it anyway and soon discovered why. There's about 15% story and 85% fluff in Ben Hur. It is, hands down, the best argument for editing I have ever read.

For example, there was a section in the beginning where two men embraced. That's all we need to know, right? No, no. Of course not. We have to hear that they t
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Mary
The first thing I want to address is the “speed” of this book. I first read this book in the fall or winter of 1971, and at that time, as a high school senior, I was well-accustomed to reading Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and all those other authors of the Victorian era (and before!) Back then, I read one Shakespeare play every year for high school English literature (with support from my friends and the teacher!), and had even slogged through the assigned portions of Beowulf. That ...more
Teri
Went to a BYU education week class on finding good books to read. A woman in the class recommended this one. One of her favorites. I look forward to reading it and then watching the movie which Sally has highly recommended.
I loved this story. It was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. There is a lot of detailed description of clothing, customs, etc. Wallace addressed the reader and would try to put you in the location he was describing. It took some patience, but I began to really enjoy it.
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Jon
Joshua
Before reading the book, I had the pleasure of watching the 1959 film. So, whilst reading the book, I found myself constantly comparing it to the film. There are so many differences! The book, like most, have a lot more backstory and character development than in the film.
Two of the characters that stood out to me in difference from the film the most where: Tirzah (Judah Ben Hur's Sister) and Quintus Arrius (Judah's Step-father). To me both book versions where way better than what was portrayed
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Rachel N
INCREDIBLE! I found this book to be on the same par as Les Miserables. The story begins with the birth of the Christ Child and a detailed depiction of the journey of the Three Wise Men (what could have happened), and ends with the Crucifixion of Jesus. In between these two world changing events is the story of a man (Ben Hur) from a wealthy family who is deeply betrayed by a Roman friend. He ends up in the bowels of a ship as an oarsman – a grueling job. Ben Hur’s life journey is described in gr ...more
Daron
I must admit that I like the movie starring Charlton Heston better than the book, but maybe that's only because I viewed it a dozen times before reading the original story. The book is VERY long, with rich descriptions that are almost purple prose at times. But don't take my mention of the descriptive narrative as a huge downside to the story. If you can be patient with it, the story is actually quite good. As you experience the tale, you should reflect on the time period when Ben Hur was writte ...more
Amanda
This is probably one of the worst books I've read in a long time, and it's the only one I can think of whose movie adaptation was actually better. For one thing, it was incredibly long, which would have been fine if it weren't for the fact that there seemed to be entirely too much extraneous information that was written in in order to satisfy the author's devotional mindset. And for another, the book is sorely lacking in the historical accuracy department. I don't mind if there are minor details ...more
Mary JL
Dec 15, 2013 Mary JL rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Christian or Historical fiction
Shelves: fiction-classics
Written in 1880, this excellent historical novel still has much to offer the modern reader.

The story is familiar to anyone who who has seen the movie--Ben Hur is sent to the galleys as a slave; he save the Roman commander; the great chariot race and so on.

But, as is usally the case, for me, the book is SO much better. There is a lot in the book that is not shown in the movie. I find the wealth of historical detail fascinating. And a lot of details about the characters enriches the story for me.
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Bogdan
One of the best historical novels I ever read. It is definitively a masterpiece of the genre together with Sienkewicz's Quo Vadis. I love it and I can recommend it to everyone that would like to read a decent historical novel.
The only bad thing is about the edition from Adevarul that I had. It had several typos and also some pages where the content is printed slightly to the right or to the left of the page. In the end, you can read it well from the respective edition, but definitively such thin
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Jim
It's been years since I read this. It was slow going in some places - my problem with writers of the past. Overall, the book was great, but it was a 'read once' for me.
Penny
Prior to reading this book the title "Ben Hur" brought back some foggy memories of watching the movie when I was young. I remembered chariot races and worrying about the pretty horses getting hurt.

Only last year did I discover the rest of the title---A Tale of the Christ and with it the rest of the story. After reading several glowing reviews I decided it would be the perfect book to start in December so I did. It took me until March to finish reading it.

I found the beginning of the book to be
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Walter
"Ben Hur" is a novel in the style of the historical epic format that was popular in the late 19th Century. Written by Lew Wallace, a General in the Union Army during the Civil War, the novel is an attempt for Wallace to connect to Christ using the worldview of a soldier. Set in Ancient Rome, it's the story of Judah Ben Hur, a Jewish nobleman who is swept up in the Jewish insurgency that was on the rise in the time of Christ. Ben Hur becomes a slave on a Roman Galley, and during a naval battle he ...more
Tori
Revenge. It is a strong word with harsh implications. How far will some people go for Revenge? Where will they be satisfied? At death?
Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur is an epic book of an amazing tale of one man's misfortune, revenge, and his search for the family he lost.
When an unfortunate accident sends Judah Ben-Hur to the galleys, the world counts him as dead. Providence, however, was guiding his life. He was not only freed from his chains, but made rich and trained in the Roman ways of war.
Even thou
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John
A great book, if you have the patience. Lots of chapters exist just to give historical background, so don't expect something as fast-paced as the movie version; however, some parts of this book are simply amazing. The chariot race is one of the most exciting passages in all of literature (George Lucas' pod race can't even touch it), and the passages about leprosy are some of the most heart-rending. It also does a great job of painting a clear picture of who exactly Jesus was, as well as showing ...more
Lindy
I had to put this on hold while working on my doula certification. Just trying to be realistic. I have enjoyed what I have read, the literary prose are amazing, and look forward to delving in to this book whole heartedly when I get the chance.

Update: 1/14
I love this book! I loved the reality of Christ as a personal Savior contrasting the militant savior that the people were looking for. I love that Christ was exactly what He needed to be for each character at just the right moment. How many time
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David Sarkies
Apr 01, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Recommended to David by: Charlton Heston
Shelves: historical
One man's search for redemption
27 July 2010

Needless to say that the book is much better than the movie, and when it comes to Ben Hur, that is definitely saying something. While the famous scenes in the movie are replicated from the book (that being the chariot race and the sea battle), there is much more to the book than there is to the movie (though the theme is the same in both). The book is actually called Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. It may seem that Christ is only a bit part in the book
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Virtuella
Abandoned. Summary so far: A young Jewish Prince, Judah Ben Hur, accidentally injures a Roman officer in Jerusalem and, as this is seen as an assassination attempt, he is sent to the galleys. Ironically, his former childhood friend Messala, an ambitious Roman, is involved in the arrest. On the way to the galley, Judah encounters the son of a carpenter, who gives him a drink of water. After three years on the galleys (about which we hear next to nothing), Judah rescues Arrius, a powerful Roman, f ...more
Vivian
Who is Ben Hur and why would he be important?

Ben Hur is the flip side of the coin to Jesus Christ -- born to a life of privilege and fame, whereas Jesus was born into abject poverty and anonymity. Hur's story begins with a "threshold moment" where he parts way with his childhood Roman friend by asserting his loyalty to his Jewish faith and people. Shortly thereafter Hur haplessly loosens a roof tile while watching a parade which narrowly misses a Roman celebrity. An accusation of this being an
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Afshar
کتاب های زیادی در مورد دوران اولیه مسیحیت نوشته شده
مثل کجا میروی هنریک سینکویچ
که این کتاب هم به این سبک نوشته شده
اما آن کجا و این کجا!!!
نمیدانم اطلاعات تاریخیش چقد صحت دارد
ولی بنظرم از لحاظ ادبی ضعیف است
از ان دست کتاب ها که حسابی از خواندنش پشیمان شدم
بنظرم بعضی کتابا فقط جنبه تجاری دارند
و برای فروش آن، رواحساسات مذهبی مردم حساب ویژه ای باز کرده اند
مثل کتاب هایی که از شما خواهش میکنند ثروتمند شوید
که رو حس جاه طلبی انسان ها حساب باز میکند
Joseph
Apr 12, 2010 Joseph rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Lew Wallace did an excellent job bringing his readers to the first century A.D. I loved reading about all the customs, cultures, and ways of the ancient world. This classic wonderfully weaves a great story with Biblical accounts of Jesus, such as healings and the Crucifixion. I enjoyed this immensely and it is far better than the Hollywood version, which changed major plot lines. Everyone, especially Christians, should read this.
Kailey
This book is a thrilling and exhilarating story of Israel and Rome in the time of Christ. Betrayal, love, suspense, revenge, friendship, disaster, salvation, murder, war, spies, and of course, the famous chariot race- this book has everything! (I was quite surprised by several plot twists that are definitely NOT in the movie!)

Judah Ben-Hur is a wonderful main character, who goes through all the despair and joy that humanity is capable of. I really identified with his character, cheering him on t
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Sharon Powers
BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST By Lew Wallace
Book Review by:Sharon Powers.

Ulysses S. Grant sat to read the new novel, Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The words of the book soon caught his imagination and he was unable to escape. He couldn't put the book down, and so, mesmerized, he continued to sit and read. Abandoning all responsibilities and his family, he immersed himself in the pages of Lew Wallace's book. He sat reading. For thirty straight hours, the Great General of the Civil War, leader o
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Thom Swennes
I remember watching the movie as a kid; Charleston Heston playing Ben Hur. I remember a chariot race, leprosy and Christ going to the cross; all in all a good movie but only remembered in highlights. The book has adorned my library for a long time and I’ve always planned to read the book behind the story. I have now done so and must admit that either I slept through much of the movie or it didn’t follow the story written by Lew Wallace very diligently.
The story is divided into eight books. The
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Susan
Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ, is the story of the life of Jesus told within the exciting tale of Judah of the House of Hur. Judah is a Prince of Jerusalem betrayed by his childhood friend Messala, and sent to spend the rest of his life in servitude on a Roman ship. After three years, Judah miraculously saves the life of a rich Roman tribune, and embarks on a journey of vengeance that ends in redemption for himself and his family. I know that's an incredibly loose synopsis of the novel ...more
Laura
I had really been looking forward to reading this book, but getting through it was a bit of a challenge. Lew Wallace's writing style is about 50% description, and 5o% story. I succumbed to the temptation of skimming.

It has some good ideas and themes, and it is very Victorian in its morality. The characters, however, seem very shallow, not complicated like real people. For some reason, the writing style reminds me of Gene Stratton-Porter

This was a best hit seller when it was published in 1880, bu
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Jennifer
I think Lew Wallace would agree with me that the Charlton Heston movie is better. But still, this is a really great book. It's same story albeit with a broader context than the MGM version: While both chronicle the lives of Ben Hur and Jesus, born at the same time, in close proximity, the novel gives us way more family history (Judah Ben Hur/Jesus Ben Joseph) and comparison of the two lives than the movie. But it's all really interesting stuff. What I found most impressive is that that Wallace, ...more
Lea Lea
Wow! They could really write back in the 1800s. There were lengthy descriptions, but the language was rich. If I hadn't been so eager to move on to see what would happen next, I really could have savored more of the deep meaning. A great part was when the book unfolded the meeting of the three wise men. I never pictured it that way before. I also enjoyed the love story between Ben Hur and Esther ( big shocker) She wasn't first choice but she was the best. Finally, the most beautiful theme throug ...more
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Lewis "Lew" Wallace was a lawyer, governor, Union general in the American Civil War, American statesman, and author, best remembered for his historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

From Civil War Biography:

Although he would have much preferred to be remembered as a highly successful military hero, Lew Wallace has been thwarted in this ambition and is best known as an author. Born in Indian
...more
More about Lew Wallace...
The Fair God The Prince of India or Why Constantinople Fell (Volume 1) Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and Other Works Smoke, Sound & Fury: The Civil War Memoirs of Major-General Lew Wallace, U.S. Volunteers The Prince of India or Why Constantinople Fell (Volume 2)

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“Riches take wings, comforts vanish, hope withers away,but love stays with us. Love is God.” 37 likes
“The architect had not stopped to bother about columns and porticos, proportions or interiors, or any limitation upon the epic he sought to materialize; he had simply made a servant of Nature - art can go no further.” 20 likes
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