Allen M Werner's Reviews > Ben Hur

Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
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Said to be "the most influential Christian book of the 19th century," I thought it was about time I read it, having seen the silent film from 1925, and the religious epic of 1959 - both films I highly recommend, although the book is different in many ways although not deeper - just different.
Reading any book written in 1880 is a challenge for us today unless you are accustomed to reading books from this time period. I am not. I've read some but never had a steady diet of them. On that note, let me say I found myself slowing down and even re-reading sentences and paragraphs just to fully absorb the content and nuances of Mr. Wallace's vocabulary. And while I found many passage poetic and inspiring, much of it also felt disjointed and detached which was surprising for a book hailed to be profoundly spiritual. I can't say I found it spiritually inspiring.
I will say I thought the drawing together of the wise men in the first several chapters was the best description of that event I've ever read. It was a very unique presentation, using faith and spirit to unite. After that, the faith and spirit began to evaporate for the most part.
Throughout the tale, questions of justice, ethics and faith were posed but I didn't feel they were central to the story or a driving force of the character. It was like a haze or mist floating around the story but hardly perceptible. It was a mixture of revenge and heartbreak filling most scenes.
Near the end there was an outburst of tale telling that sounded much like a recounting of Scripture. I thought he could have titled those chapters The Four Gospels.
In the end, I'm glad I read it. It is a treasure of literary history with its position cemented in history. There is a lot to be appreciated in both the writing and the story. I'll keep it on my shelf at home unsure if I'll ever read it again.
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2018 – Started Reading
July 24, 2018 – Shelved
July 27, 2018 –
page 52
July 31, 2018 –
page 98
August 5, 2018 –
page 122
August 8, 2018 –
page 165
August 9, 2018 –
page 201
August 12, 2018 –
page 305
August 14, 2018 – Finished Reading

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