The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on June 24, 2008

One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

A.J. Jacobs is determined to live for an entire year as biblically as possible. As if this didn’t have “wheeeee” written all over it, he goes even further to segment the year up according to the Old and New Testaments, so as to be as fair as possible. The amount of research, thought and planning that went into this memoir is part of what makes it so great. The author didn’t just randomly pick passages to try and live, he went all out and not only got as close as he possibly could in these modern times (see the part where he tries “stoning” someone) with an insight that this reviewer could easily identify with. Mr. Jacobs asks the same innocent questions any other agnostic/non denomination person would when faced with a situation such as this.

From visiting with Hasidic Jews, Evangelicals, snake handlers, Creationists and a even a trip to Jerusalum, Mr. Jacobs meets some truly wonderous characters, one of which is a former relation. He retells the encounters with a quick wit and managing to retain an open mind (as best he can) toward the new and unfamiliar.

My favorite modern day conversion has to be when he finds that he must keep a “slave” per the Old Testament. In order to do this, he picks up an unpaid intern, who agrees per contract to be referred to as his “slave.”

Other conversions are a little less successful (water and false idols!) and some just cause unintended public attention (if you saw someone with tassels attached to their shirt sleeves, you’d look too) but all in all, the point of view the author takes with this memoir is truly one any other curious agnostic or just non denominational anything could appreciate.

On the Bookalicious scale: 5- Devour! A complete feast for your soul.

And if Mr. Jacobs sees this, I went to Amazon and clicked “not helpful” a few times.

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