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The Year of Living Biblically Paperback – 5 Mar 2009
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"A.J. Jacobs has written a - how else to put it? - Good Book. Let me take my review from the original, Psalm 2, verse 4: 'He that sittith in the heavens shall laugh.' And let me suggest that readers, whether they know their bible or not, get to know A.J. Jacobs. But not in a biblical sense, please" (PJ O’Rourke)
"Jacobs has two great strengths as a writer. One is his extreme open-mindedness...the other is his humour, which he uses with precision and some subtelety." (Sunday Telegraph)
"Engaging . . . comical . . . full of curious lore" (Independent on Sunday)
"Witty and entertaining" (Daily Mail)
"At the end of this entertaining (for the reader) spiritual journey Jacobs may not be a religious man but he is a better person" (Sunday Telegraph)
In the hysterical follow-up to The Know-It-All, A J Jacobs tells the story of the year in which he attempted to follow every precept in the Bible, even where they contradicted each other...See all Product description
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He probably didn't intend it, but one thing I took away from this book (by subtraction as it were) was an insight into the spiritual life of an agnostic New Yorker. Like peering into a ghastly abyss.
I also suspect that God hasn't finished with Jacobs yet. God is not lightly called the Hound of Heaven
Jacobs treats his subject with sensitivity and good humour, which was a welcome approach. This sort of book could very easily have become a vitriolic and mocking look at Biblical laws, however instead Jacobs attempts to look behind to the possible motivations. Yes certain laws are viewed as rather bizarre, but any poking fun at these seems to be done with affection.
I personally am a Christian and found some of Jacobs insights into the Bible to be very profound, it made me reconsider some Biblical passages in a new light. However I do not think that being religious or non-religious would have any impact on your ability to enjoy this book.
Along the way, he visits a Jewish cult, a fundamentalist snake handling church and tries to work out if he really should stone his neighbour. Lots of laugh-out-loud moments but not in a mocking-faith way. I think it was a real spiritual journey...and three cheers to his long-suffering wife who tolerated the whole thing. Loved it.
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