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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magic Carpet Ride Through The Bible
"Walking The Bible" takes the reader on a magic carpet ride through the lands in which the Pentateuch was acted out. Following his own quest, Author Bruce Feiler tries to identify the places at which the Patriarchs of Israel and their successors down to Moses struggled to follow the guidance of God through their journeys of life. Although a Jew primarily interested in...
Published on 13 Jun 2007 by James Gallen

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little walking of only part of the Bible
An engaging if highly selective view of the Holy Land.

The title is rather misleading - only the first five books of the Bible are covered, and the walking is limited to parts inaccessible by off-road vehicle. Still, The Pentateuch by Jeep is not very catchy as a title.
Published on 2 Jan 2010 by John L. Arnold


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magic Carpet Ride Through The Bible, 13 Jun 2007
By 
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
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"Walking The Bible" takes the reader on a magic carpet ride through the lands in which the Pentateuch was acted out. Following his own quest, Author Bruce Feiler tries to identify the places at which the Patriarchs of Israel and their successors down to Moses struggled to follow the guidance of God through their journeys of life. Although a Jew primarily interested in the Books of Moses, he frequently includes references to the places and events of significance in or to the life of Jesus.

Feiler approaches the topic through many avenues. He tries to identify the places, understand the world of Biblical times and learn about the Bible from the people who live on the land, both those drawn there by their interest in the Bible and those who naturally follow the ways of life lived by the Patriarchs. Throughout this journey, Feiler gradually absorbs the truth of the Bible, rather than directly learning them.

Along his journey his companion, Avner, a renowned Israeli archeologist, points out significant points and explains the subtleties which facilitate Feiler's understanding of what he is seeing. Throughout their travels through Turkey, Israel, Gaza, Egypt and Jordan, Feiler and Avner stop and read the portions of the Bible pertaining to the areas being visited.

Throughout the trip, Feiler engages people along the way in discussions about what the Bible means to them and how it affects their lives. Much of the book consists of his own thinking and philosophizing about what it all means. The author is obviously on a search for something which he finds in the land, the people, but most of all, in himself.

I found this book to be fascinating. As a Christian, it helped me gain a greater understanding of the stories of the Old Testament. While it helped clear up some questions, it opened up new ones, like, "How is it that the three great Monotheistic religions all arose out of the same desert area of the Middle East?' That one will take some reflection.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feiler Brings Biblical Settings & Characters To Life, 22 Aug 2005
Bruce S. Feiler's literal quest for a spiritual connection to the Torah, (the Pentateuch), that he studied as a boy, resulted in a ten-thousand mile journey in which he retraced the steps of his Biblical forefathers across three continents. His friend and guide, renowned Israeli archaeologist Avner Goren, accompanied him on his travels through Turkey, Israel, the Palestinian territories, the Nile Valley, the Sinai Peninsula and Jordan, visiting the legendary scenes of the greatest stories ever told. In an interview, Feiler once said that he had always thought of the Bible "as this foreboding black book with gilt-edge pages." When visiting Israel, before making this trip, a close friend was pointing out places of interest, (an understatement)! "Over there," he said, "is the rock where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac." It dawned on Feiler that he was not in Disneyworld or Kansas! He realized the places mentioned in the black book's gilt pages are real - one can see, and feel them. The idea came to him then to "retrace the Bible through the desert and read the stories along the way." And along the way he found himself using the "Bible as a Baedeker."
Bruce and Avner trekked by foot, car, jeep, camel and rowboat in order to examine archeological evidence, get a feel for the geography of each place, interview hundreds of people from Bedouins to pilgrims and tourists, consider historical theory, study and contemplate theology and religious myth, in their attempt to put the Biblical narrative into a historical and cultural context. Together they search for the "real" Mount Sinai, where it is written that God revealed Himself and subsequently delivered the Book of the Covenant to Moses.The location of this sacred mount is up for debate. At least twenty-two mountains have been put forth as the real thing. Mr. Feiler makes the point that, "...the lack of identifying details points to another, perhaps more consequential factor: The less Mount Sinai is associated with a physical place, the more it is perceived as a spiritual place." He says that Sinai is not only a place, it is a "metaphor for the covenant between Israel and Yahweh." He also quotes a rabbinic midrash, (Jewish commentaries on the Hebrew Scriptures compiled between A.D. 400 and 1200 and based on exegesis, parable, and haggadic legend), saying that the world's mountains once quarreled over which one would play host to God. Each extolled its own virtues except for Sinai, which said humbly, "I am low." God finally announced: " My presence will rest on Sinai, the smallest and most significant of all." The rabbis note that in its modesty Sinai resembled the humility of Moses who did not want to become his people's leader.
To me the best parts of this book include the author's comments, like the above, which really give life, zest (!), to his experiences. The conversations between Feiler and Goren, their insights, along with the wonderfully rich interviews conducted with Jews, Christians, Muslims, and humanists, scholars, archeologists, local historians, and bystanders at many of the locations - some of these people, perhaps, descendents of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs - really make "Walking The Bible" special and distinguish it from travelogues and other books of this type.
The book is divided into five parts which correspond, not to the Five Books of Moses, but to five geographical areas where significant Biblical events took place: "The God of Our Fathers," revolves around Jerusalem and nearby sites; "A Coat of Many Colors," Egypt; "The Great and Terrible Wilderness," Sinai; "The Land That Devours Its People," also Sinai and the Negev Desert - the dependency of man on his fellow human beings for survival in the desert really impressed Feiler. Remember, the tribes wandered Sinai for forty years. As the joke goes, if Moses' sister Miriam had been the leader, she would have asked for directions (!); and "Toward The Promised Land," Jordan.
The author's vivid and detailed descriptions, especially of the people he meets, are outstanding. Yes, his writing leaves something to be desired, but to tell the truth, I was so absorbed in his adventures, I hardly noticed. It is certainly not bad writing. He is telling a tale of adventure - old and new, not competing for the Pulitzer. His research and documentation are meticulous. Feiler relates to Abraham in a way which touched me deeply. He writes, "Abraham was not originally the man he became.... He was a traveler, called by some voice not entirely clear that said: Go head to this land, walk along this route, and trust what you will find."
I am so glad that I journeyed vicariously with Bruce Feiler and Avner Golen. For an amazing voyage of discovery, I recommend you take the trip yourself!
JANA
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gift well received., 6 Nov 2013
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Tony Larlham (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Walking The Bible: A journey by land through the five books of Moses (Hardcover)
Sent to my daughter as a one off gift. Great value for a large hardback & an interesting book too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating archeological investigation, 15 Aug 2013
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Feiler has a real gift for intellectual curiosity and a clear, unpretentious writing style. The academic experts he befriends and travels with add much to his narrative; I found myself wishing I could have lunch with them all. I am not especially interested in the spiritual side of this book, but Feiler is never overbearing and he never loses sight of the connection between landscape, history, and the religious heritage of so many different faiths. Readers who are more interested in Feiler's spiritual musings will find much to think about and learn a lot in the process. Fascinating writer, fascinating, unpretentious book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little walking of only part of the Bible, 2 Jan 2010
An engaging if highly selective view of the Holy Land.

The title is rather misleading - only the first five books of the Bible are covered, and the walking is limited to parts inaccessible by off-road vehicle. Still, The Pentateuch by Jeep is not very catchy as a title.
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