Sunday, March 24, 2013

Growing Up with Ben Hur Theology

And here I bet you thought Ben Hur was just all about Charlton Heston's bare chest.  

My mom grew up Roman Catholic but when she divorced and married my father that was the end of that.  Then she got into Norman Vincent Peal, power of positive thinking and all that.  Which is really odd because she was not a positive person at all.  But enough about her.

I like to think of Ben Hur as her other theology.  Her answer to all adversity was to remember how he was condemned to be a galley slave and how hopeless that seemed but he escaped and when it came time for the climax of the movie, the chariot race, it was his time as a galley slave that made him strong enough to win the race.  And that's all I ever remembered about that movie.  When there was another important theme of that movie, you know, the futility of vengeance, power of forgiveness, that kind of thing. But the lessons of the galley slave is not a bad lesson to teach your kids.

So last night I was skimming through the channels and discovered a new Ben Hur on a channel I didn't even know I had, "Ovation".  They kept showing commercials for the premier next week on Easter, but they showed the whole thing last night.  It's more based on the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace.
Look!  It's Sir Robert Crawley as Pontius Pilate!

It's very good and if you get this channel, I recommend you watch it, or DVR it as there is also the return of "Call the Midwife" and "Game of Thrones" to look forward to.


  1. So glad you're back to more blogging. Ben Hur scared the snot out of me as a child. My mother --what was she thinking -- took me to see it in the theater. We had to leave the movie theater shortly after the scene showing a bloody stump coming out of the galley. That's right, nearly 50 years later and I remember it vividly. Lord, have mercy.

  2. Oh my. I only saw it on TV, I was only 2 when it came out. Maybe they didn't show the bloody part on TV. Even the new version I thought the actual chariot race the most boring part.

  3. Ben Hur was one of the few movies we were allowed to watch as a child, and I LOVED it. My husband had never seen it, so a couple of months ago we got the restored blu-ray and watched it together. My goodness! As a child, I missed all the sexual subtext between Judah and Massala. Its campiness is kind of hilarious and awesome, but by the end of the movie I was still drawn in and loved it all over again.