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The Year of Living Biblically by A. J.…
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The Year of Living Biblically

by A. J. Jacobs

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,6121721,458 (3.82)216
  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)
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» See also 216 mentions

English (166)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  French (1)  All (172)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
this is a publicity stunt. But it is also the guy's experience.
  brendanus | Jun 15, 2016 |
A.J. Jacobs is an editor of Esquire magazine, as well as a writer of somewhat quirky modern-day experiments. In this one, he does what the title implies: he sets out to (literally) follow many of the laws found in the bible.

While this seemed to have the potential to be hilariously funny, it wasn't. It had its moments, but I found that I enjoyed Jacobs' Guinea Pig Diaries, which I read last year, quite a bit more than this one. I listened to this on audio -- the abridged version -- which I could tell was abridged due to its rather short & abrupt transitions on each topic, but in this case I think maybe the abridged version was the way to go. So, not my favorite, but still interesting enough to make me want to continue to work my way through his other books. ( )
  indygo88 | May 30, 2016 |
Just like the title describes, this book was about one man's attempt to spend a year living as biblically as possible. A self-described secular, agnostic Jew, A. J. Jacobs year-long biblical living challenge was very entertaining and I read this book very quickly. I also learned a lot about all the different rules in the bible and how those rules were interpreted differently by different groups. I liked how the author had a number of different people he used as biblical advisors and it was also recently interesting to me that he spent some time with the New Testament as well. I think some of the things he did were a bit over the top and I felt offended by his refusal to touch his wife or anything that she touched during her period because according to the bible she's unclean (she didn't like it either). At the end of the book when he shaved off that Moses-like beard, I wanted to know how his life was going to change going forward - I felt like the book could've been extended a bit to describe this. Glad I read it. ( )
  LisaMorr | Apr 22, 2016 |
Laugh out loud funny at times, poignant at others, but always interesting.

Not being a religious person, I learned how some meanings people take literally from the Bible and how some of them are metaphorical. Some are based in real necessity and some have seemingly become archaic. Jacobs traveled extensively to meet with people and gain their perspective - Los Angeles, Israel, Tennessee (snake handlers). He relates how following some of the rules gave him new insight to himself and his fellow man. ( )
  mamzel | Mar 3, 2016 |
Jacobs decides to spend one year living strictly according to the bible. This is no easy task for him or for his family.

Although the book is humorous, it treats all of the people and their beliefs with respect. This book is strongly recommended for anyone interested in religion or just in search of an entertaining read. ( )
  M_Clark | Feb 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (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
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As I write this, I have a beard that makes me resemble Moses.
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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)
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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

Amazon.com
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

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