Ben-Hur, full title “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ”, is one of the most popular novels of all time. It was the best-selling American novel for over 50 years. This fictional story follows the adventures of Jewish prince and merchant, Judah Ben-Hur at the beginning of the 1st century. The story runs parallel to the story of Christ. The story has been recreated in stage shows, radio dramas, television and movies. The most successful recreation was the 1959 movie “Ben-Hur”, starring Charlton Heston, which won a record 11 Academy Awards. Let’s take a look at who wrote this successful novel.
Who wrote Ben-Hur?
Ben-Hur was written by Lew Wallace and it was first published on November 12, 1880. He was known for being dedicated to accuracy and spent years studying the geography, lifestyle and culture of the 1st century. His long descriptions of the settings in the novel have led to some criticism of the book, but they stand as a testament to his attention for detail. Part of the inspiration for Lew Wallace to write Ben-Hur came from his Christian faith and he also drew inspiration from the story The Count of Monte Cristo. It is also thought that he drew inspiration for the main character from his own life.
Did you know?
The novel had already been translated into 20 languages within 20 years of the first publication.
After the novel was so successful many people asked Wallace to create a dramatized version. He initially resisted because he didn’t want Christ portrayed on stage, but a compromise was eventually reached. The stage show was a massive hit, which ran for 21 years and was watched by over 20 million people. The most loved feature of the stage show was a live chariot race.