I’ve seen the film Ben Hur, and I knew it was about a man who was fighting Romans and riding chariots (yes, marvel at my memory XD). So I was a bit surprised when starting to read that it opens with the three wise men searching for the new born Jesus Christ. Then we were introduced to Juda, and I thought – ‘Okay, so the book is going to do a parallel with Jesus Christ and Judas (the disciple that betrayed him to the Romans) who will later be connected symbolically with Ben Hur and some kind of friend.’ And I read on, and came to the 110 page mark of a book less than 400 pages long, and I thought – ‘This was a long time to spend on symbolic representation.’
Then I realised that it’s Juda Ben Hur, not Juda as another for Judas.
To my defence, considering Ben Hur is a completely made up character, Wallace could have made that a bit clearer.
So the story is about Juda Ben Hur, a Jew, who is forced into slavery, separated from his mother and sister (father is dead), and who have to fight to find them. Along the way he meets Jesus Christ.
This is one of the big Epic books in western literary history. I don’t mean the word Epic as my generation has ruined the word, but Epic as in Odyssey, The Count of Monte Christo or Gone with the Wind. A story larger than life. While the book does have clear Christian connotations, being the first book blessed by a pope, it also were a best seller and that can’t have been only deeply devout Christians.
This book is an action book, with fightings and chariot racing, wanting revenge and moral dilemmas. The book it reminded me of the most was The Count of Monte Christo, but with Odyssey as the protagonist. The only thing I haven’t quite figured out is why we don’t make Epics (books or films) like this (or other Epic books/films) anymore.
I read this for #empthyshelfy as the book with a green cover, and for Deweys 24 hour readathon. I love it when one book can cover two readathons.