Ben-Hur expert to discuss 1925 film

Ben-Hur expert Dr. Howard Miller, professor emeritus from the University of Texas at Austin, will visit the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum on Thursday, to deliver a lecture on the 1925 silent Ben-Hur.

The 1925 cinematic adaptation of Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur marked the end of two eras. MGM’s colossal production epitomized and culminated the tradition of spectacular silent epics. Additionally, the film came at the end of almost six decades in which Wallace’s “Tale of the Christ” was never far from the center of American religious life and popular culture. When MGM remade Ben-Hur in 1959, it would have to, in effect, re-introduce the General’s novel to America.

Miller’s lecture on this supremely important silent film will conclude with 15 minutes of film clips from the 1925 epic. Miller’s lecture ties in with the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum’s annual exhibit, Lights, Camera, Epic! Ben-Hur on Screen and Beyond. The exhibit discusses the four motion pictures made of Ben-Hur — in 1907, 1925, 1959, and 2016 — as well as other adaptations, marketing, and the continued legacy of Lew Wallace’s epic novel.

A dynamic speaker and award-winning educator, Miller is a leading scholar on Ben-Hur and Lew Wallace’s life. A native Texan, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin for 40 years, retiring in 2011. During his time at UT Austin, he was instrumental in founding the university’s department of Religious Studies. He has been involved with the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum since 2000 and is a regular Title Sponsor for the museum’s annual TASTE of Montgomery County fundraiser.

Other upcoming programs at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum include the April 19 Hoosier Authors Book Club discussion of Jessamyn West’s “The Massacre at Fall Creek” at 7 p.m. and Civil War Trust Park Day 9 a.m. to noon April 28. Park Day volunteers will assist with grounds cleanup and landscaping around the newly restored reflecting pool.

Lecture and book club participation is free and open to the public, however space is limited, so reservations are required. Programs are held in the ADA-accessible Carriage House. For more information, call Larry Paarlberg at 765-362-5769 or email