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Bruce Feiler's latest book combines now familiar elements into his own peculiar, delightful alchemy. Any particular page may be found effortlessly weaving together strands of theology, biblical exegesis, physical exploration, history and personal reflection as Feiler continues his journey of discovery, looking at the common roots of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The Middle East has become a more dangerous place since the writing of his first book in this vein, Walking the Bible. But Feiler is impelled to answer his continued call, even when a flak jacket is necessary. He explores tunnels under Jerusalem. Goes to where David may have slain Goliath. Even looks for the Garden of Eden in Iraq while acknowledging that "the garden would never be found." It is this externalization of searches typically only made in the heart that fascinates us and brings power to Feiler's narrative. In one of the more compelling sections of the book, a meditation on Jonah, Feiler makes a persuasive argument that "God cares only that you conduct yourself in a moral way… And what might come across as preaching in another context is instead organic; Feiler's ideas seem to grow as much out of his travel and present-day experience as they do from Scripture and history. Of particular interest is his writing on King Cyrus II. He travels to Persepolis, in modern-day Iran, and finds an ancient precedent for religious tolerance in this king who helped the Jews build the Second Temple. Feiler provokes us to reflect that if the Bible itself can sing the praises of a king who accepted the various religions of those he ruled, perhaps there is hope we can find room for more tolerance in our own time. Highly recommended.--Ed Dobeas --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Starred Review. The third of Feiler's books on the Bible and the Middle East, this is another absorbing blend of travelogue, history, Bible commentary, memoir, current events and passionate preaching. In Walking the Bible (2001), Feiler surveyed the Torah. This sequel picks up with Joshua, first of the prophetic books, and follows Israel's story through the Hebrew scriptures: from the invasion of Canaan through the reigns of David and Solomon to the Babylonian captivity and the Diaspora. What differentiates Feiler from most other Bible commentators is that he actually visits the places he describes, despite Palestinian suicide bombers, Iraqi insurgents, Iranian fundamentalists and his very worried family back home. Readers will almost effortlessly learn a lot about antiquity—thanks again to his travel companion, archeologist Avner Goren—and also about recent history, today's headlines and Feiler's own spiritual journey. Enlarging on his vision of unity in Abraham (2002), he contends that the Bible's moral vision transcends land, power and nationality. "The only force strong enough to take on religious extremism," he concludes, "is religious moderation." For Feiler, now ready to affirm his Jewishness, this means "willingly asserting your faith in public, not with raging fire but with a single, quiet flame."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This was a book several of us read for a Bible study class. It was interesting to read. It was certainly easy and entertaining while reading. Read morePublished 5 months ago by June Kramer
An outstanding book; brings you into the story and
lets you journey with him. Excellent writer.
Excellent audio book though I felt not quite as good as "Walking the Bible" also by Bruce Feiler.
Bruce answered my many questions about the Bible. Read more
I found this book extremely interesting and am anxious to read further books by Bruce Feiler. I listened to his interview with Rabbi Mark Golub on the Shalom TV channel. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Iris D. Walsh
Have read a number of his books, "Abraham" being the best, but this one seems a bit thrown together. Also, as a book on CD, Feiler is not the best reader. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Ed HikerTraveler