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on October 27, 2016
This is a great classic, and the number one selling novel in the US in the 19th century. It is the original, without 20th century "improvements". The style is very old, but the depth is worth wading through. One thing that will put off readers who are not willing to be challenged is the dialog is in King James English (or semblance thereof). The reason for this is that this is "a tale of the Christ", as the subtitle indicates; our hero, Ben Hur, is a witness of events in the Gospels near the end of the novel. At the time the book was written, the only widely used English Bible was the King James, and it was considered inappropriate to "reword" the Bible. Therefore, any dialog from events in the Bible is taken verbatim from the King James, and for consistency (?), most of the rest of the dialog in the novel is also in King James English. Please beware of the fact that there is one edition of the "original" from the mid-20th century (published to go along with the 1959 movie) that updates the language and is easier reading, but the plot is different and the theology is missing. Like steak vs. hamburger, it does require a little more chewing, but the flavor is much better.
23 people found this helpful
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on August 9, 2016
This is one of the most amazing Charlton Heston movies ever made, besides maybe the Ten Commandments. You really have to sit back and enjoy the "Real" acting that took place in these movies. It's almost as though they are in a play, and it was filmed for motion pictures. The actors and actresses are simply outstanding. Can't say enough but it is biblical based, and really tugs at your emotional feelings.
21 people found this helpful
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on August 17, 2016
This is an EXCELLENT movie!!! I had NO idea how they were able to make this movie that long ago and no CGI help. They did a superb job. I had seen the movie originally but after so many years, I had forgotten a lot of the specific details. It was a pleasure to see it again. We wanted to see this version again before seeing the 2016 version of the film I think the new film will have a hard time competing with the charm and grandeur of the original film making and actors.
17 people found this helpful
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on December 26, 2016
This has been my family Christmas movie ever since it became available. It starts at the birth of Christ and ends with His death. It follows a contemporary who lives at the same period of time, and whose life touches Christs life at certain times. I absolutely love the story and everything about it. It's also about one man's journey from the birth in Bethlehem to the cross where Jesus died. It is about a man who nearly looses his faith and all hope, and it is restored at the cross.
6 people found this helpful
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on April 7, 2017
The author does a masterful job of weaving Ben-Hur's story into the story of Jesus' life on earth. The characterizations are full and rich, the description of the settings is thorough and evocative, and the plot is well conceived, alternating between pulse-pounding action and philosophical/theological dialogue. Written as it was in the 19th century, this book uses King James English for the dialogue, which is notable, but I didn't find it overly distracting. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story from beginning to end.
5 people found this helpful
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on January 26, 2017
I loved this book as much as I loved the classic Ben-Hur film with Charlton Heston! They did differ on several points, but that just made it more interesting because I did not know what to expect. There was some violence, such as a battle and some sword fights in each of which someone was killed and sexual content including (but did not go farther than) flirting and kissing, but the story centers around Rome and the time of Christ! This was not a time of peace or goodness, there was upheaval, rebellion, lust, and violence. These instances did not make up the majority of the book, however; neither were they presented as right or desirable, but simply related what the people would have been going through at that time. It is a wonderful story of Christ's purpose on earth, presented through its impact on a young Jew, Judah Ben-Hur, who hated his Roman oppressors for what they had done to his family and nation, but found healing, peace, and a purpose in God's greater plan. There is adventure, drama, romance, and God's love in this story - I would definitely recommend this book.
11 people found this helpful
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on October 21, 2015
I first saw the movie when it was released in 1959 and often used the chariot race scene in my world history classes. I regularly used the term "bigger than Ben Hur" but had never read the book. Since I am retired and have more discretionary time, I decided to remedy this deficiency in my reading.
I was amazed at the level of detail General Wallace included in Ben Hur especially in light of the fact that he had not visited the Holy Land prior to the book's publication. Having been to the region a number of times and considering myself to be familiar with the history of the time period, I was impressed with his accuracy.
My only criticisms deal with the somewhat lofty and ponderous language he used in the novel. The modern reader would have difficulty wading through it. Also, I question the ability of Ben Hur to raise three Jewish legions without the knowledge of Rome.
I recommend that someone interested in the book view the movie first. Quite frankly, I felt that the story line of the movie was more plausible and moved along better.
5 people found this helpful
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on August 15, 2016
Ben Hur. A classic tale about revenge. A tale about finding out who really has your back,discovering who you can really trust. Finding out that who you thought these people were may not be in reality who they are at their heart. All along the way finding out you arent the person you thought you were either. Worth the read. The beginning part of the book takes its time in character development. Don't rush this, its important latter. Ben Hur is meant to be enjoyed piece by piece. Slowly like a good ole chunk of cake. Please read and enjoy.
14 people found this helpful
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on September 21, 2017
After reading The Robe this past spring I was inspired to read more classic Christian literature and Ben Hur topped my list, but it was a slow start. The language is old-fashioned and ponderous and took me a while to get used to. The description and imagery is minute in detail and while interesting, can be tedious to wade through. That said, the story was beautiful. I am always fascinated by juxtaposition of people’s lives in relation to history, especially the history surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus. The Hur’s are a pious Jewish family under the heavy-handed reign of Rome and Wallace gives us a honest and factual look into the heart and expectation the Jewish people had for their Messiah- wrapped in an action-packed, romantic, philosophical novel. Keep reading; you’ll eventually be grabbed by the story despite the telling of it.
One person found this helpful
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on March 13, 2018
I am glad I read it. I bought it after seeing the most recent movie, which was very different from the 50's movie. I slogged through it and saw that it is closer to new movie than the Heston movie was. After reading it, I watched my laser disc copy of the silent movie. That is the closest to the novel. Of all versions I like the 50's movie the most. The villains in the novel are just too awful. There is no relationship between Messala and Ben Hur. And Iras is just a cartoon. She is so easy to see through. But not by Ben Hur. The book is pretty heavy handed. The sub-title is apt. Much of the book is about Jesus. Balthasar (yes, that Balthasar) is probably the 4th biggest character in the book. And of course he is the father of the evilest villain in the book. Read The Three Musketeers or some Jules Verne. You really can skip this book.
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