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Subtitled: "One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible," Jacobs, or A.J., as his two-year-old son calls him, does just that. It is likely that no one but A.J. Jacobs could have accomplished such a feat. After all, his last book, The Know-It-All, chronicles his reading of the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica, from A to Z. No one but a smart, witty, self-deprecating, nitpicky kinda guy would undertake two such daunting tasks, and complete them with grace, no pun intended.
Jacobs, a New York Jewish agnostic, decides to follow the laws and rules of the Bible, beginning with the Old Testament, for one year. (He actually adds some bonus days and makes it a 381-day year.) He starts by growing a beard and we are with him through every itchy moment. Jacobs is borderline OCD, at least as he describes himself; obsessing over possible dangers to his son, germs, literal interpretation of Bible verses, etc. He enlists the aid of counselors along the way; Jewish rabbis, Christians of every stripe, friends and neighbors.
In an open-minded way he also visits with atheists, Evangelicals Concerned (a gay group), Jerry Falwell, snake handlers, Red Letter Christians--those who adhere to the red letters in the Bible, those words spoken by Jesus Himself, and even takes a trip to Israel and meets Samaritans. Through it all, he keeps a healthy skepticism, but continues to pray and is open to the flowering of real faith. Jacobs is a knowledge junky, to be sure. He enjoys the lore he picks up along the way as much as any other aspect of his experiment. One of the ongoing schticks is his meeting with the shatnez tester, Mr. Berkowitz. He is the one who determines whether or not your clothes are made of mixed fibers, in keeping with the Biblical injunction not to wear wool and linen together. The two become friends and prayer partners, in only one of the unexpected results of this year.
In the end, he says, "I'm now a reverent agnostic. Which isn't an oxymoron, I swear. I now believe that whether or not there's a God, there is such a thing as sacredness. Life is sacred." Not a bad outcome. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This cultural Jew read up on what the Bible, both Old and New Testament, says and tried to live it as literally as practical for a little over a calendar year. Read morePublished 5 days ago by jessieth
A. J. Jacobs documents his year of attempting to live according to his own literal interpretation of the Old Testament first, and then of the New Testament. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Shevi
A friend loaned me this book over a year ago, and I read it. Gave good insight on our different religious beliefs. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Mary Sunday
I love A.J. Jacobs writing style. It's quick and funny, and easy to read. His novels are always entertaining. My biggest complaint would be the numerous formatting issues. Read morePublished 25 days ago by T. Nuffer
This book was so fun. I laughed all through it. Excellent writing.Published 1 month ago by Teas by Tami
Interesting history and funny attempting too follow all the laws.Published 1 month ago by Donald Abram