Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is a novel by Lew Wallace, published by Harper and Brothers on November 12, 1880 and considered "the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century". It became a best-selling American novel, surpassing Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) in sales. The book also inspired other novels with biblical settings and was adapted for the stage and motion picture productions. Ben-Hur remained at the top of the US all-time bestseller list until the publication of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936). The 1959 MGM film adaptation of Ben-Hur is considered one of the greatest films ever made and was seen by tens of millions, going on to win a record 11 Academy Awards in 1960, after which the book's sales increased and it surpassed Gone with the Wind. It was blessed by Pope Leo XIII, the first novel ever to receive such praise. The success of the novel and its stage and film adaptations also helped it to become a popular cultural icon that was used to promote numerous commercial products.