Lecture: Religious Conversion in Ben-Hur and in the Life of Lew Wallace

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July 20, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
General Lew Wallace Study & Museum
200 Wallace Ave
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
Larry Paarlberg

Join us Thursday, July 20, at 7 pm for an evening with Dr. Howard Miller, Wallace Scholar, Ben-Hur expert, and professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Miller will explore the concept of religious conversion as it relates to Lew’s life.

Lew Wallace spoke frequently about the conversation with Robert Green Ingersoll that led him to write Ben-Hur, and he maintained throughout his life that the experience of writing the novel led him gradually to accept the basic tenets of the Christian gospel.

Recent scholarly discoveries have called into question the talk with Ingersoll and we can never know one way or another if writing the novel converted the General to Christianity. But it is unquestionably true that Wallace’s “Tale of the Christ” contains several accounts of religious conversion, including the conversion of Judah Ben-Hur.

Religious conversion, of course, comes in many varieties and the experiences that Wallace describes differ widely. We will look at those conversion experiences and suggest ways in which they might enable us to evaluate more sensitively the General’s claim to have himself been converted by the experience of writing Ben-Hur. More generally, we will look at the novel as a way of better understanding the nature of Wallace’s Christianity.

This lecture is open to the public, but seating is limited. Please RSVP by replying to this email or calling 765-362-5769.

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