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The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Thorndike Core) Hardcover – Large Print, 5 Mar 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 597 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (5 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410405079
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410405074
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 16.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 856,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

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... --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read about this book in the Guardian weekend magazine which included a few passages. The bits that were included were very good, so I bought the book. You never know whether they printed the best "bits", but what they printed in the Guardian magazine were just examples of the many brilliant parts of the book. Now, if you're looking for a spiritual guide, or some deep and meaningful book about the bible, this is not for you. But if you want to read an interesting, witty, and thoughtful rendition of how a guy tried to stick to the many rules set out in the bible, this is the book for you. I would recommend this book almost everyone I know because I think most people will find something in it that they can relate to.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To the Author:

Thank you, thank you, thank you :)
I could not tell you how many times this book has lifted me up at the end of a weary day. As a homeschooling mother of 4 under 8s, life is wonderful, but soooo trying at times. So my favourite end-of-day-treat is to curl up with your book (my husband banned me from reading it in the study as I was laughing out loud too much). The worries of the day fade away, as I laugh uncontrollably....
As a life-long Christian who dearly loves G-d, I am 9 months into my own discovery of the wonders of Judaism and the scriptures read from a Jewish point of view. It's a life-changingly wondrous journey, but when I get a little too serious about it all, I think of this book...and read on until I force myself to put it down and get on with what I really ought to be doing......, but this time with a big grin on my face :)
If there's one thing I do know about G-d, it's that He has a better sense of humour than most people imagine. I thank Him for inspiring you to write such a funny book, on such a heart-touchingly meaningful subject. The most delicious thing about it is that you get to do all those crazy things I'd love to do, but don't quite dare to for fear that my family and friends (and poor long-suffering husband) would think I was totally mad. Wonderful :) I shall be quite lost when it is finished...

Best wishes to your dear wife - she deserves a medal for living through such a project ;) She must be quite a lady!
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Format: Hardcover
Most of us try to live good lives and help others when we can. But Esquire magazine writer, AJ Jacobs, decided that he would combine the writing of his next book with his search into religion. And what better way to do this then to try and live a year following all the hundreds of rules and laws of the Holy Bible.

To start with the author begins with almost no background at all in religion of any kind. He was born into a Jewish family; he was raised very secular and labeled himself as agnostic. He went into this venture with a very objective mindset and talked to various religious Scholars from various faiths from his Orthodox Jewish heritage to the fundamentalist Christians. He did not even own a copy of his own Bible when he started the project; he had a Bible from his ex-girlfriend from ten years earlier.

His plan, which he follows, is to live the first nine months of the year per the Old Testament and the remainder of the year following the teachings of the New Testament. We see not only what he goes through in trying to accomplish his goal, but some of the reactions to those he interacts with. Of course the first time he is in public and tries to follow the law that he cannot touch a woman to receive his change. But in doing so he breaks another law and sins to explain his actions, he lies. And from there the book just flows. He does try a wide range of literal approaches to the Bible and we get to watch it all.

The book is a very entertaining read. I had never read any of his work before, but I found myself just sitting in my chair and reading page after page. He shares his journey with us from what he physically went through, but also his thoughts and what he learns from these experiences.
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Format: Hardcover
I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I expected it to be funny, and it certainly is, but I also got a highly entertaining course on religion. There is so much interesting information in this book, that it does not matter whether you are a faithful of any religion, or a secular person. I guarantee you will find something revealing.

The author was raised in a non-practicing Jewish household, but in the last few years has become interested in religion. Therefore, in an effort to explore this topic, and write a book in the process, he decided to follow teachings of the Bible for a year. As you can probably imagine, this is not an easy feat. Not only does the author have to adjust to a complex set of rules, but his family also has to endure the results of this quest. A fairly simple rule, like not being able to shave his beard, leads to questions at airports, scared kids, and other uncomfortable situations. But think about the harder rules to follow, like the one dealing with stoning adulterers, or the protocol for interacting with women at "that time of the month".

When most non-religious people think about what "living Biblically" means, we relate to the Ten Commandments. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. After four weeks of reading the Bible, A.J. Jacobs came up with a list of 800 rules to follow. If you add to that the fact that there are 7,000 versions of the best selling book in history, then the issue becomes much more complicated. It is no surprise that an average person breaks many, many, many rules in our everyday life.

I was really impressed by the way in which Jacobs handled this balancing act.
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