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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the Outside In
The book is Jacobs' journal of his attempt to follow the Bible as literally as possible. He documented more than 700 rules in the Hebrew and Christian bible. As a pastor you can imagine why I needed to read this. Jacobs starts his Biblical journey (as I started mine as reader) as a bit of a skeptic. He describes himself as a secular Jew but says "...I'm Jewish in the same...
Published on April 7 2008 by Peter Cantelon

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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure about this one...
I really enjoyed learning more about the Bible through this book. It will definitely open your eyes to interesting and obscure facts and rules that aren't commonly known. However, I didn't really appreciate the narration... I found myself getting really irritated by the authors infinite references to his career and other book, which made this book a little hard to finish...
Published on Jan. 25 2009 by A. Saini


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4.0 out of 5 stars An Odd and Revealing Search for Truth, May 4 2008
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
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For slightly over a year, Jacobs, an editor for Esquire magazine, embarked on a mission to learn how the teachings of the Bible applied to his life through daily living. Jacobs' driving desire was to determine if it were possible for him to literally live out as a practicing Jew a number of key biblical precepts so that God would become more relevant to his life. While there is little that was academically rigorous about Jacobs' noble aspirations, he certainly tried very hard to practice in an experimental way many of the Old Testament peculiar commandments. The ones I found most amusing were his coming to grips with the enjoinments about inviting stranger in one's house, stoning adulterers, and writing words of spiritual wisdom on the doorjambs. For the time that Jacobs spent living up to the strange and daunting expectations that Yahweh had of his ancient people, he regularly consulted with other Christian and non-Christian groups as to how they interpreted the Word. While there seemed to be no common agreement as to how far one would have to go to observe the Bible in order to recognize and appreciate truth, Jacobs found ways to personally conform to its spiritual demands. Each day produced an intellectual challenge to come to grips with how he should dress, what he should eat, how he should treat his fellow human, how he should raise his children, what he should do on the Sabbath, and how he should view sin. What Jacobs discovered at the end of his journey through the Bible is that Yahweh or God, as a divinity, really cares about His people and expects only the highest devotion in return. Everything God demands of humans is to prevent them from going their own way and abandoning their dependence upon Him. While not becoming a Christian or a Jew because of this extended experience of grappling with how to apply the Bible, Jacobs concedes that he became a significantly more sensitive person to spiriual issues. He certainly sees himself as a better person for having tried to observe these heavenly commands than just sitting around thinking about them. While some of his decisions were controversial - such as having his twins circumcised - they were born out of a sincere need to test why God would make such an odd requests. Read the book to find out what he learned on this point and others. A very pleasant read with plenty of witty moments.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective, April 17 2009
As a pastor, I'm always trying to find my own path through the thicket of rules and commandments of the Bible and I was very grateful to my friend who suggested this book. I finished it yesterday and was both surprised and understanding when A.J. came to his final conclusions. I have long preached that there is a difference between rules ("religion") and faith ("relationship"), but I have also maintained that rules, be they found the Law or wherever, can lead one *to* a relationship so long as they are not being used in place of the relationship itself. The quest is not so much to follow the rules as to find God through and behind them, and I think that this became clearer as the year went on.

Read this book, and take something from it - not the fringes, not the beard (which my wife and daughter have also forbidden, incidentally), but the One one is seeking to approach through the practices and through the Word of God.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!, Jan. 4 2008
By 
Jeremy Postal - See all my reviews
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Well done A.J.! I enjoyed every bit of your book which continually made me laugh and nod knowingly. My wife, on the other hand, gave me the dirtiest look when I told her about your 'impure' story from the delivery room...

I'm about to recommend this book to all of my pastoral interns.
Grace and Peace,
-Jer
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Read This on the Bus!! :), Feb. 6 2008
By 
Daniel O'connell "politics buff" (vancouver canada) - See all my reviews
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hi A.J. I figured I could address this to you because you obviously read the amazon reviews. So I loved your book, but I have to say unless you are religious, or are seeking religion it may not be such a good idea to read this book in public and on the bus.
Although I am very happy that people are interested in your book, and that they ask me how I am liking it, many have tried to convert me or show me the way to religion, as an athesist this is a little unsettling, so I would recomend to those who enjoy your insight but not the interferring of others, read this book at home or where people are less likly to try and convert you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mirth and Myrrh, Jan. 18 2013
By 
C8 Sparrow "beach reader" (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Paperback)
I read this book on a beach in Los Cabos Mexico. What a delightful find and perfect for a holiday read. It was thoughtful, enlightening and laugh-out-loud funny. I not only learned a lot about the Bible, I also became more self aware. It made me consider my own behaviour in relationship to the Ten Commandments. A. J. Jacobs is a wonderful writer, and an adept storyteller. And his wife must be a saint.

Don't miss out. It'll surprise you. I promise.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good reading before sleep., Sept. 22 2014
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I won this book at a Religious study group's party. It is easy to read, it is not great literature, some funny fact and evens in it. Nice reading before sleep I would say. The subject seemed to me too big for such a book and sometime I felt that the author just filled some blank sheet of paper because he did not write for some days. I was touched though by his neighbor history. It made me think about my own lonely life and I wish I will not end as her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing interactive book!, Aug. 11 2009
By 
Caleb Hull (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Paperback)
I read this book from cover to cover in the emergency room. I am a seminary student and heard a lot of bashing when the book was extremely popular. I read it, and it brought back the feeling of experiencing and appreciating God in all aspects of life for the first time. I wrote A.J. to tell him how I felt and he replied Christmas morning. So much for respecting a holy day! Amazing book. Fun Read. Buy it immediately!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining, March 5 2009
By 
H. Mack (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Paperback)
I found this book to be very entertaining and informative at the same time. The author did an great job combining humour and religious tolerance. I found out about a lot of quirky things that I did not know existed in the Bible. I enjoyed the author's journey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud funny along with spiritual insights, April 18 2014
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This review is from: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Paperback)
This book is an extremely well-written account of a spiritual journey that was fully and carefully researched, and included consultation with a wide spectrum of advisors before the writer set out on his quest. The book could have been a mere stunt: “look at me; aren’t I funny? Aren’t these fundamentalist interpretations of the scripture both quaint and ridiculous? And aren’t those who adhere to them either stupid or wilfully blind?”

Instead, while the author has written a book that is indeed often very funny (cf. stoning an adulterer), it is written with such humility and generosity that it never becomes condescending or patronizing to those whose views the author cannot share (i.e. creationists, Hasidic Jews.) He is somewhat less generous, and rightfully so, to those who exploit the credulity of other to enrich themselves--the Jerry Fallwells of this world.

A. J. Jacobs is Jewish but what he has to say is relevant to any person struggling with belief. A wise man told him not to expect to be the same person at the end of his year as he was at the beginning, and a note at the end of a later book about carrying out various projects,) which I also enjoyed, confirms that. He describes himself now as “a reverent agnostic”. Not a bad place to be--but probably, considering his relative youth, his inquisitive nature, and the moments of transcendence he experienced as a child and adolescent, not his final position.

As a practicing (I’m still learning) liberal Episcopalian, I’ve been recommending this book to many members of the parish to which I belong.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Learning without realizing it!, Jan. 4 2013
This review is from: The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible (Paperback)
"The Year of Living Biblically" is A.J. Jacobs' documentation of his adventure with religion. He lives a year of his life trying to follow as many rules in the Bible as literally as possible. From not trimming the edges of his beard to attaching tassels to the edges of his clothing, Jacobs does a lot and learns a lot.

In this book, and his other ones, A.J. Jacobs says the year he lived his life according to the Bible shaped his life a lot. Although I can't say this book/his experiences changed MY life in any way, I have learned A LOT about religion. Before reading this book, I knew some things about religion/Catholicism/Judaism, but upon competition of "The Year of Living Biblically", I knew a lot more. I also find Jacobs' writing style humorous (in turn making it easy to follow, which sounds like it wouldn't fit for a book of this nature, but, in fact, compliments the content well, as you don't realizes you're learning anything until after you finish reading.

"The Year of Living Biblically" is my favourite book of all time and I feel it is a must-read for anyone, religious or not.
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