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The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possibleby A. J. Jacobs
Synopses & Reviews
After his hilarious chronicle about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z — actually a-ak to zyweic — our fearless author, A.J. Jacobs, tackles a new intellectual adventure — an exploration of the most influential book in the world: the Bible. A.J. determined the best way to explore the Bible was to live it, as literally as possible. For one year.
There are 700 rules in the Old and New Testaments, A.J. discovered — some wise, some general, some contradictory. Some from Jesus, some from prophets, some from God. A.J. assembled a board of spiritual advisors — rabbis, ministers and priests, some conservative, some of them one four-letter word away from excommunication — who would provide guidance and advice throughout his journey. But the journey was, by necessity, arbitrary. DIY religion.
In The Year of Living Biblically, A.J. explores the Bible chronologically, from Old Testament (crucial, given the Ten Commandments) to the New Testament (crucial, given America's powerful evangelical movement and its literal interpretation of the Bible) — and lives the Bible on every level. He obeys the Ten Commandments, he is fruitful and multiplies (A.J.'s wife had twins during his year ); he remembers the Sabbath and keeps it holy. But he also obeys the oft-neglected rules, such as avoiding clothes of mixed fibers, and refraining from shaving the edges of his beard (Leviticus 19:27). So throughout the year A.J. is commonly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. Or Moses.
While A.J.'s wit and humor are irrepressible, The Year of Living Biblically is not acerbic satire. As with The Know-It-All, this is a quest for knowledge. While the struggle of a modern-day Manhattanite attempting to live by 700 Biblical rules is necessarily hilarious, A.J. also treats his subject(s) with great respect. Whether visiting Negev, the huge desert in southern Israel where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob once dwelled; or the Answers in Genesis Museum (under construction) near Cincinatti
From the bestselling author of The Know-It-All comes a fascinating and timely exploration of religion and the Bible.
Raised in a secular family but increasingly interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to dive in headfirst and attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to play a ten-string harp; to stone adulterers.
The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes.
Jacobs's quest transforms his life even more radically than the year spent reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica for The Know-It-All. His beard grows so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. He immerses himself in prayer, tends sheep in the Israeli desert, battles idolatry, and tells the absolute truth in all situations - much to his wife's chagrin.
Throughout the book, Jacobs also embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally. He tours a Kentucky-based creationist museum and sings hymns with Pennsylvania Amish. He dances with Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and does Scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He discovers ancient biblical wisdom of startling relevance. And he wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the twenty-first-century brain.
Jacobs's extraordinary undertaking yields unexpected epiphanies and challenges. A book that will charm readers both secular and religious, The Year of Living Biblically is part Cliff Notes to the Bible, part memoir, and part look into worlds unimaginable. Thou shalt not be able to put it down.
In this timely and fascinating audiobook, A.J. Jacobs tries to follow such famous Scriptural laws as the Ten Commandments, be fruitful and multiply, and love your neighbor. But he also obeys dozens of less-publicized instructions, including growing a beard, avoiding clothes of mixed fibers and, yes, stoning adulterers.
Jacobs, who was raised in a secular household, dives headfirst into the most influential book of all time. He assembles a board of spiritual advisors, studies the Old and New Testaments, grows a beard so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top, immerses himself in prayer—even tends sheep in the Negev desert. His discoveries about himself and the Bible are both surprising and profound.
With the Bible—and its literal interpretation—remaining a mighty force in American society, Jacobs embeds himself in a cross-section of remarkable Biblical communities, from a Kentucky-based creationist museum to the Pennsylvania Amish, from Christian charity workers to Hasidic Jews. The result is a story that will captivate secular and religious alike.
Respectful and hilarious in equal measures, The Year of Living Biblically is at once an irresistible listen, a vital exploration of religion in America today, and a genuinely moving spiritual journey.
About the Author
A.J. Jacobs is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, and The Guinea Pig Diaries. He is the editor at large of Esquire magazine, a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Visit him at AJJacobs.com.A.J. Jacobs is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically, and The Guinea Pig Diaries. He is the editor at large of Esquire magazine, a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Visit him at AJJacobs.com.
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