by A. J. Jacobs

Reviewer Rating:


Millions of people on this planet believe in a higher power of some sort.  The Year of Living Biblically chronicles one agnostic man’s journey to try to understand what drives all of these people to believe what they do.  Despite being born into Jewish heritage, there are only two people in his family who would classify themselves as religious.  For one year he follows the Bible and its rules as literally as he possibly can, even going so far as to stone an old man in one of the funnier scenes in the book.  The first nine months he spends following the Old Testament, while the last three he progresses to the New. 

Following every rule in the Bible for a year proves challenging to him, but he perseveres in his task with the zeal that only a mildly obsessive compulsive can. Through his sometimes mundane, sometimes zany, but always entertaining year of biblical living he finds that he himself may be changing his views on his personal and spiritual life.  The side input from his wife offers a chance for the reader to rest assured that he or she is not the only one reacting silently to the author’s actions with, “Really?”   Although at times the things the author must do to conform literally to the Bible seem arbitrary and confusing, the book leaves the reader with an overall enlightened and refreshed sense of religious understanding.  For someone who is not a daily adherent to Judaism or Christianity, this book offers a unique way to gain insight into the rules and customs these two groups follow.  This is a book that can be enjoyed by the true non-believer and the whole-hearted believers alike.

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Great review! I walked away with a much better understanding of the spiritual and physical geography.

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