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Ben-Hur And Ancient Jewish Slavery

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Chapter Summary

The story of Ben-Hur is probably one of the most known fictional accounts of first-century Judaism and early Christianity worldwide. The story of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ was originally written by Lew Wallace, an American army officer and governor of New Mexico, and published in 1880. Slavery features prominently in the story of Ben-Hur, not only as far as Judah himself is concerned. This chapter focuses on the representation of slavery in the different versions of the Ben-Hur tale and examines how this representation relates to what we know about ancient Jewish slavery from historical sources. Close friendship relations between Jewish aristocrats and Romans, to the mutual benefit of both, are also reported by Josephus. The later Hasmoneans and Herodians as well as the priestly families associated with them were always open for Greek and Roman influences.

Keywords: enslavement; Jewish slavery; Judah Ben-Hur



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