Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Year of Living Biblically by A. J.…

The Year of Living Biblically

by A. J. Jacobs

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6871771,427 (3.82)219
Recently added byprivate library, NewBrunswickRanger, AmyJ71, jdhenze, AutumnVannatta, sweyenberg, revliz
  1. 70
    The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A. J. Jacobs (schatzi)
    schatzi: this is the author's first book; his exploits in "The Know-It-All" are sometimes referred to in "The Year of Living Biblically"
  2. 60
    The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: Kevin Roose was A.J. Jacobs college intern for this book and decided to do a similar experiment. He enrolled for a semester at the Christian fundamentalist college Liberty University founded by Jerry Falwell.
  3. 30
    The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin (ansate)
    ansate: similar thoughtful project. turns out they share a writers group!
  4. 10
    No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Colin Beavan (Deesirings)
    Deesirings: Both of these are a memoir of a "rules-based" experience of living for a one year period
  5. 00
    En Avant, Route! by Alix de Saint-André (yokai)
    yokai: Deux expériences différentes dans le domaine de la religion.
  6. 00
    My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith by Benyamin Cohen (ijustgetbored)
    ijustgetbored: Another author-experiment, this one by an Orthodox Jew who decides to immerse himself in Christianity for a year in order to strengthen his own faith.
  7. 00
    Municipal Bondage: One Man's Anxiety-Producing Adventures in the Big City by Henry Alford (reenum)
  8. 34
    Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell (amyblue)
  9. 01
    Big Kiss: One Actor's Desperate Attempt to Claw His Way to the Top by Henry Alford (reenum)
  10. 02
    In the Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church by Gina Welch (Percevan)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 219 mentions

English (171)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All (177)
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
I know a lot about the Bible, but I certainly learned a few obscure things in this excellent read. Jacobs's writing is conversational and quite funny.

Now I have to go look for "Know It All" (his memoir about reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.) ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
Hilariously funny and poignantly serious at turns. A. J. wrings humor out of his year-long experiment while still showing respect to he various religious individuals and belief systems he encounters. All the while he is married, and it's hard to believe his wife is willing to put up with this experiment in immersion into Biblical literacy. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
This book was a ton of fun to read and was fascinating to see how a agnostic, secular person, appropriating religion as an experiment can be profoundly changed by the experience. A.J. Jacobs embarks on his experience to show the folly of taking the Bible literally. He is skeptical about God, but he tries to follow the rules laid out in the Old Testament (for 8 months) and the New Testament (for the remaining 4). Let the wacky antics ensue. This book was hilarious, but all in all was not irreverent. In the end, Jacobs does not recant his agnosticism, though he learned from his practice a gracious spirit and the practice of sabbath. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
I'm afraid the title of this book will scare many people off, thinking it's ultra-religious in nature. If so, they are missing a great read. A. J. Jacobs is a terrific writer. His regular gig is with Esquire magazine and his style flows easily. He is also very funny. Raised in a secular family and father of a young son, this story begins as he wonders what and how to teach his son about religion. His decision to spend a year trying to follow all the rules in the bible result in a story that is heartfelt, funny, adventurous, and very human. I think this is a book that most everyone would enjoy,regardless of their religious views. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
A really funny read. I've always had a fascination with religion even as I separate myself from it, and Jacobs did an awesome job of pulling out specifics from the bible, living them, and relating it back to readers in a hilarious ways. It could have easily been overwhelming or preachy, and it wasn't at all. I still bring this book up once in a while and suggest it to anyone I think would find it funny or interesting. ( )
  SarinaLeigh | Apr 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 171 (next | show all)
Performance art or not, this is a well-researched, informative and entirely absorbing read.
added by Katya0133 | editPeople, Jonathan Durbin
Jacobs's discussions with his advisers and with men representing other religions make up the most thoughtful and insightful sections of the book.
added by Katya0133 | editLibrary Journal, Joyce Sparrow
The author's determination despite constant complications from his modern secular life (wife, job, family, NYC) underscores both the absurdity of his plight and its profundity.
added by Katya0133 | editKirkus
If he starts out sounding like an interminable Ira Glass monologue, smarmy and name-dropping, he becomes much less off-putting as the year progresses, for he develops a serious conscience about such quotidian failings as self-centeredness, lying, swearing, and disparaging others.
added by Katya0133 | editBooklist, Ray Olson
Throughout his journey, Jacobs comes across as a generous and thoughtful (and, yes, slightly neurotic) participant observer, lacing his story with absurdly funny cultural commentary as well as nuanced insights into the impossible task of biblical literalism.
added by Katya0133 | editPublishers Weekly

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
A. J. Jacobsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ross, Jonathan ToddNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Julie
First words
As I write this, I have a beard that makes me resemble Moses.
The Hebrew scriptures prescribe a tremendous amount of capital punishment. Think Saudi Arabia, multiply by Texas, then triple that.
At times—not all the time, but sometimes—the entire world takes on a glow of sacredness, like someone has flipped on a[n] unfathomably huge halogen lamp and made the universe softer, fuller, less menacing. (p.153)
All well and good, right?  The only thing is, this is not the God of the Israelites.  This is not the God of the Hebrew Scriptures.  That God is an interactive God.   He rewards people and punishes them.  He argues with them, negotiates with them, forgives them, and occasionally smites the.   The God of the Hebrew Scriptures has human emotions—love and anger.   (p.153)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743291484, Paperback)

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2007: Make no mistake: A.J. Jacobs is not a religious man. He describes himself as Jewish "in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant." Yet his latest work, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, is an insightful and hilarious journey for readers of all faiths. Though no fatted calves were harmed in the making of this book, Jacobs chronicles 12 months living a remarkably strict Biblical life full of charity, chastity, and facial hair as impressive as anything found in The Lord of the Rings. Through it all, he manages to brilliantly keep things light, while avoiding the sinful eye of judgment. --Dave Callanan

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Raised in a secular family but interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to 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 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 embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally: he tours a creationist museum and sings hymns with Amish; he dances with Hasidic Jews and does Scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the 21st-century brain, and he discovers ancient wisdom of startling relevance.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
6 avail.
549 wanted
2 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.82)
0.5 1
1 9
1.5 6
2 43
2.5 12
3 233
3.5 86
4 379
4.5 67
5 206

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,158,509 books! | Top bar: Always visible