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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
The book is a very entertaining read.
Around a year ago, I read my first book by A.J. Jacobs, The Know-It-All, a memoir of the author's quest to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica.
In the Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, A.J. Jacobs is as hilarious as ever.
Hilarious truth telling. People cannot - just cannot - take the Bible literally when the "laws" conflict with each other and obeying one is disobeying another. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Sigrid
Very interesting book. it shows how radical and absurd religions can be without harming other people. But it also shows the more spiritual side of religion too. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Mackenzie T. Willard
A.J. Jacobs makes his career out of pursuing idiosyncratic quests that seem to dove-tail with his barely under control obsessive/compulsive personality. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Will o' the Wisp
The Year of Living Biblically was definitely a fun read that I enjoyed. Further, it was informative and helpful for someone curious about the practicality of a religion-based... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Pageturner 77
In typical A.J. Jacobs fashion, this book kept me smiling, and laughing out loud, all the while making me really think. Read morePublished 12 days ago by love amazon!
I never finished it, but I liked what I read so far. I find it interesting,Published 13 days ago by Andrew Goad
Fun, enlightening read. A ordinary person's view of religion. I found this worthwhile and full of a reasonable amount of wisdom and heart.Published 13 days ago by Metaforehead