While looking up all the cool looking movies coming out this year, I stumbled upon a piece of trivia that made me want to run around the house, screaming about in a fangirlish way — a new edition of Ben Hur is being released soon! Maybe!

For those of you who are only familiar with the movie starring Charlton Heston (you poor person!) and are unfamiliar with the book, the book, is sooooo much better. I realize that everyone says that about every movie that is based on a book, but in this particular case, it is not the cliched old complaint! And this is from someone who absolutely adored the movie. The book is that awesome!

Let me put it this way, if you are still skeptical about my claims: until a little book called, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was published in 1936, Ben Hur by Lew Wallace, published in 1880, was the reigning top seller in America, only second to the actual bible! It beat out Uncle Tom’s Cabin — you know, that little book that started a war — for the top spot. And yes. Ben Hur is really that good.

For comparisons of the movie? There’s really too many to named, but I’ll try to name three without spoiling the book!

1. Judah isn’t as miserable and vengeful as Charlton Heston played him. He actually is a very nice guy who contemplates his situation carefully and fully intends to make the most of it and serve God however he can — though, he is unsure as to how that to do so. He hears about a messiah coming and decides that he can train up armies for this messiah — thus integrating the story of Judah more with the story of the Christ. So, more military-minded and more God-driven than the movie, definitely!

2. His enemy, Messala, is delightfully more evil than the movie could portray him as. In the movie, Messala is more of the previous friend that decides to turn on Judah, since he is a bad guy and Judah doesn’t agree with him. Which… never really made sense. In the book, his motive is completely different. There, Messala is reacting as a spurned lover toward Judah. Basically? After a childhood friendship, Messala meets Judah again when they are older and decides that Judah is very handsome. Messala makes a couple of advances on Judah, however Judah rejects him. So, acting the spurned lover, Messala decides that, if he can’t have Judah, no one can, and thus does his best to ruin his life. And let’s face it: being a spurned lover can make you act downright evil! However, that kind of homoeroticism would probably not fly in 1959. Nowadays? We’ll have to see…

3. There is more philosophy in the book. It’s hard to explain, but one of the principle characters is one of the wise men, and he plays such a pivotal part in developing Judah’s understanding of who this messiah might be — even though Judah is unwilling to hear that the Christ may be this sort of person.

So! Will the movie coming out be true to the book? I can only hope! Until then, I’ll wait…