Book review: The Year of Living Biblically

by A. J. Jacobs


Read any A. J. Jacobs before? This is more of the same serious humor he’s known for, this time on a topic dear to me: my Bible.

Jacobs was raised in a secular family, but decided one day to dive into the world of the Bible. What better spiritual journey could one imagine? Determined to obey every dictate of the Bible for an entire year, he vowed to follow not only the Ten Commandments, but even the less publicized rules. Love your neighbor. Be fruitful and multiply. But not both at the same time.

Some rules are easier than others. The Law says to tithe ten percent of your fruit, but nobody on the street wanted to take two slices of his orange. Nor was it easy to stone adulterers as the law commanded. Jacobs carried pebbles in his pocket for this very purpose, and one day the unthinkable happened: he met an adulterer. Problem was, the guy didn’t take kindly to being beaned with a pebble. It was a stoning that Jacobs nearly didn’t survive.

What do you wear when clothes made of mixed fibers are disallowed?  What do you eat when only unleavened bread is kosher? How do you read the newspaper without bringing graven images into your home?

This was a year Jacobs was happy to see come to an end. Both funny and enlightening, you’ll learn more about your Bible from this book than in a year of Sunday school classes.

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