Tuesday

The Year of Living Biblically


The Year of Living Biblically

I realize I'm a little slow on reviewing this book since it came out in 2007, but it is one you will want to read if you enjoy lighthearted lessons in spiritual growth. A.J. Jacobs book "The Year of Living Biblically", a memoir of the author's journey of living the Bible as literally as possible, is humorous and real. Although Jacobs does not claim to be a Christian or a practicing Jew - he is one by heritage - he treats both traditions with careful respect and genuine appreciation.

A self-proclaimed agnostic, Jacobs grew up in a secular Jewish household and believed that religion would fade away in time. "I was, of course, spectacularly wrong. So was I missing something essential to being a human? Or was half the world deluded?" Jacobs says on his website.

To find out if he had missed anything, Jacobs decided to live the Bible for one year and write about it. He studied the scriptures and wrote down all of the rules to follow then went to work. By the end of the year he had a wild beard, wore a lot of white and had learned that there were rules worth following in the scriptures. His commentary is peppered with good humor and also truth. Jacobs does not take the Bible lightly. I was impressed with how much he studied commentaries and other books relevant to his quest. He even participated in some Orthodox Jewish ceremonies, traveled to Israel, visited Jerry Falwell's church and the church of a snake-handling congregation. I found his commentary on fundamentalism and taking the scriptures literally very well done.

Although, it seemed that the author followed the Old Testament more than the New Testament, he still faced the main question of Christian scriptures with honesty: Will you follow Jesus Christ? I won't tell you what his decision was because part of the intrigue of the book is wondering what he decides to do at the end of the year. Would he continue to follow scripture?

"The Year of Living Biblically" is available through Amazon, airport bookstores and other outlets. It would be a good book to grab for your next plane trip. However, beware. People might think you've cracked because there are some parts of the book in which I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Not many books do that for me.