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The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible… (2007)

av A. J. Jacobs

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4,2881852,096 (3.81)233
Raised in a secular family but interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to stone adulterers. The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes. Jacobs embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally: he tours a creationist museum and sings hymns with Amish; he dances with Hasidic Jews and does Scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the 21st-century brain, and he discovers ancient wisdom of startling relevance.--From publisher description.… (mer)
  1. 80
    The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World av A. J. Jacobs (schatzi)
    schatzi: this is the author's first book; his exploits in "The Know-It-All" are sometimes referred to in "The Year of Living Biblically"
  2. 60
    The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University av Kevin Roose (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: Kevin Roose was A.J. Jacobs college intern for this book and decided to do a similar experiment. He enrolled for a semester at the Christian fundamentalist college Liberty University founded by Jerry Falwell.
  3. 30
    Projekt lycka : eller varför jag lade ett år på att försöka sjunga på morgonen, röja i mina garderober, bråka rätt, läsa Aristoteles och på det stora hela ha mer kul av Gretchen Rubin (ansate)
    ansate: similar thoughtful project. turns out they share a writers group!
  4. 10
    No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process av Colin Beavan (Deesirings)
    Deesirings: Both of these are a memoir of a "rules-based" experience of living for a one year period
  5. 00
    My Jesus Year: A Rabbi's Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith av Benyamin Cohen (ijustgetbored)
    ijustgetbored: Another author-experiment, this one by an Orthodox Jew who decides to immerse himself in Christianity for a year in order to strengthen his own faith.
  6. 00
    Municipal Bondage: One Man's Anxiety-Producing Adventures in the Big City av Henry Alford (reenum)
  7. 00
    En Avant, Route! av Alix de Saint-André (yokai)
    yokai: Deux expériences différentes dans le domaine de la religion.
  8. 00
    My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew av Abigail Pogrebin (suzecate)
  9. 34
    Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously av Julie Powell (amyblue)
  10. 01
    Big Kiss: One Actor's Desperate Attempt to Claw His Way to the Top av Henry Alford (reenum)
  11. 02
    In the Land of Believers: An Outsider's Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church av Gina Welch (Percevan)
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» Se även 233 omnämnanden

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Just in case you're googling yourself, Mr. Jacobs.
https://www.lds.org/liahona/2012/03/why-do-we-need-prophets?lang=eng ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
A few years ago an American journalist decided on a year-long project, to go biblically native. What would it be like to go to the source of Judaism and Christianity by following the commandments in the Bible as literally as possible.

Being a liberal, secular man in New York, the project probably started out as a way to ridicule the religious texts, but A.J. Jacobs take the projects seriously enough to quickly see that the texts are not as insane as common jokes make them seem, especially when it turns out that some of the strangest commandments are partly flawed translations to English.

The book is fun, interesting and still respectful. The author in the end wrote a book, an account day-by-day that describes the challenges and the people he met and I would say that it is not the strange commandments that turn out to be hardest (not shaving or cutting the corners of the hair is not very difficult) but the simplest things. Not lying, not jaywalking, not working on the sabbath. Those things are not even things that non-religious people object to in general, but a life-time of small white lies and pride and ambition puts the whole project in jeopardy.

My conclusion after reading the book is that it is not the texts that are flawed, but humans, and especially human interpretation of them. We have lost the historical context, we have lost the language (for instance, one part of the bible talks about specific kind of birds by name and we cannot know what birds they meant) and that means nobody can any longer read the bible with any certainty.

A fact that is not lost even on the orthodox fundamentalists. The difference is that they try very hard in face of uncertainty (and end up somewhere quite far from the original intention I think) while most close-to-secular Jews and Catholics and Protestants (and most likely Muslims which partly use the same texts though that aspect is not covered in the book) choose to ignore the "strangest" parts.

Would I recommend this book? Well, maybe. It's not a book you read from start to finish without being able to let it go, but I think it might be a nice "one page at a time" book for places where you spend short periods of time, because it is thinking about what is written that brings value, not the reading itself. Also, a warning, it is probably hard to meditate over religion for a year without it changing you and your relationships. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
The Year of Living Biblically is a highly amusing read. I do not think it will dramatically change your life if you are not so superficial as to have never bothered thinking about the philosophical good that can be found in any religion, regardless of what you think of it as a whole, but A. J. Jacobs does a good job of making the borderline-nutso project of living by the literal word of the Bible highly entertaining, and I even found it informative at times. Despite the hardships he imposes on his loved ones with that project, it is difficult to not admire him for it, at least sometimes, even taking into account the fact that I figure probably fifty percent of his moments of enlightenment, touching encounters with faith, various epiphanies, and so on were probably exaggerated for effect (anyone who would turn his whole life into a marketing gimmick for a year like this is surely not entirely honest about how much personal growth he experienced in the process). I also found myself admiring some of the nutcases with whom he spent time in his quixotic quest to find faith (or at least that's basically how he characterizes it; I think it was more likely a pragmatic quest to find the New York Times bestseller's list), as some of these people took clear stands for what they obviously believed to be right, even when that flew in the face of the popularly accepted dogma of their peer groups.

I rather suspect I would not much enjoy spending a lot of time with the author in person, and not just because he explicitly endorses the idea of enslavement to the state by conscripting everyone into bureaucratically mismanaged aid projects at one point (the one thing he said that actually soured my mood in the entire book). I find myself wondering how he found a wife who puts up with the kind of ludicrous nonsense he pursues with his life. This is the second time he has turned his whole life into a book marketing gimmick, apparently, and he is evidently quite good at making a highly amusing read out of such life experiments, but that does not mean I would want to live with him while he does it (let alone have kids with him, if I were a woman). Perhaps his wife's occasional, apparently unreasonable reactions to some of what Jacobs does with his "living biblically" experiment are just her way of venting, and maybe he's a lot more tolerable in person than he comes across when I think of how he lives.

In any case, I quite liked the book. It's not really Literature. I wouldn't call it an Important Book. It is, however, quite enjoyable -- more so than I expected, in fact. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
A fascinating glimpse at religion and the Bible through one writer's experiment to follow the Bible as literally as possible. As a person of faith, I found much to digest. An engaging, thoughtful read. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
I finally finished this one, and I have to admit that it was interesting. However, I did not think it was that much of a big deal. Since I am a skeptical person, and not religious, a lot of this book simply confirmed that a lot of religious people simply pick and choose from the Bible (or their religious book of choice) the things they like or that suit their values, leaving the ones they dislike behind. It's the cafeteria practice that fundamentalists decry that moderates do, even though fundamentalists do it as well. This is a point that Jacobs himself makes in the book towards the end. He goes on to write: "This year showed me beyond a doubt that everyone practices cafeteria religion. It's not just the moderates. Fundamentalists do it too. They can't heap everything on their plate" (328). Jacobs comes on the side of saying that you can get some good meals from a cafeteria (he is using the food metaphor). For me, it is not that easy, and it is mostly because I do have a problem with people who pick and choose from their religion, then decide to judge others who don't pick the same stuff on their plates (to keep using the food metaphor). If I want pizza on my plate, and I want to sit next to my gay friend, and your book says to eat only oatmeal and sit next to the people who dress in black, that is fine, just don't try to take my pizza away. Man, this food metaphor can be useful. And this also leads to my other problem with the book: he tries to be a little too reconciliatory. For a skeptic like me, that is not necessarily an option. That did not work for me, but if you like an ending that is somewhat "feel good," then it may work better for you.

One of the best parts of the book is when he goes to visit religious experts or goes to congregations and communities. He goes there as a learner, so he goes with an open mind. I found myself learning a few things, and this makes the book valuable. From Hasidim to Falwell's church (before Falwell died) to snake handlers in Appalachia. He even went to Israel. On the religious right, he makes an observation that not many people may realize: "That's the big secret: The radical wing of the Christian right is a lot more boring than its liberal detractors would have you believe" (262). But I don't think it is as simple as that. He pointed out how they can all be very friendly, but the reality is they are friendly as long as you meet their criteria. "I know that this friendliness has limits--and disturbing ones," Jacobs writes regarding his visit to Falwell's church.

There is some food for thought in this book. I think that for religious people, especially Jewish and Christian, they may be able to get a better understanding of why some things work out as they do in their religions. Also, we see that there are a lot of interpretations, and when I think about it, that may be why a lot of people practice cafeteria religion. But you also get a glimpse of the author as he comes to undertake a spiritual journey, albeit an imperfect one. You also learn a lot about context, which adds to an appreciation of the Bible.

The episodes I liked the least are the ones with his wife and kid. How his wife tolerates him at times is beyond me. There is some humor, but there were some times when I simply rolled my eyes when he tried to do something because it was prescribed even if it was not practical. Dude, just deal. And the fact he is so permissive with his kid simply grates at me; I am a parent, and we certainly had no problem or compunction disciplining our kid when needed (and we did not need the Bible nor the line about sparing the rod spoil the kid to do it). Moments like that did make him seem as a struggling human, which is fine, but he also come across as someone who is not quite the sharpest tool in the shed. And as a whole, his family runs the gamut from very Orthodox to very liberal, which added a nice tension touch.

So overall, if you have an interest in religion, this may be worth reading. If you have some background in the Bible (and I have read it cover to cover), you may get a better appreciation or at least learn more about some of the context for some of the writings. And if nothing else, you get to read about his attempts at herding sheep or keeping purity. Overall, an interesting book, but not a great one.

And by the way, he keeps making constant references to his previous book, The Know-It All,/i>. There is no need to have read that one to read this one, but I wish he could have left some of those references out. Yes, we know you read a whole encyclopedia and therefore you know a lot of trivia. Try not to brag about it as much. Besides, I did a similar thing when I was a kid; I read the Illustrated World Encyclopedia my parents got us. I did not write a book about it, but I learned a thing or two. Anyhow, I am curious about the other book, but I hope he does not spend part of it bragging about whatever previous project he had.

And there is my review. ( )
  bloodravenlib | Aug 17, 2020 |
Visa 1-5 av 185 (nästa | visa alla)
Performance art or not, this is a well-researched, informative and entirely absorbing read.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraPeople, Jonathan Durbin
 
Jacobs's discussions with his advisers and with men representing other religions make up the most thoughtful and insightful sections of the book.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraLibrary Journal, Joyce Sparrow
 
The author's determination despite constant complications from his modern secular life (wife, job, family, NYC) underscores both the absurdity of his plight and its profundity.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraKirkus
 
If he starts out sounding like an interminable Ira Glass monologue, smarmy and name-dropping, he becomes much less off-putting as the year progresses, for he develops a serious conscience about such quotidian failings as self-centeredness, lying, swearing, and disparaging others.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraBooklist, Ray Olson
 
Throughout his journey, Jacobs comes across as a generous and thoughtful (and, yes, slightly neurotic) participant observer, lacing his story with absurdly funny cultural commentary as well as nuanced insights into the impossible task of biblical literalism.
tillagd av Katya0133 | ändraPublishers Weekly
 

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The Hebrew scriptures prescribe a tremendous amount of capital punishment. Think Saudi Arabia, multiply by Texas, then triple that.
At times—not all the time, but sometimes—the entire world takes on a glow of sacredness, like someone has flipped on a[n] unfathomably huge halogen lamp and made the universe softer, fuller, less menacing. (p.153)
All well and good, right?  The only thing is, this is not the God of the Israelites.  This is not the God of the Hebrew Scriptures.  That God is an interactive God.   He rewards people and punishes them.  He argues with them, negotiates with them, forgives them, and occasionally smites the.   The God of the Hebrew Scriptures has human emotions—love and anger.   (p.153)
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Raised in a secular family but interested in the relevance of faith in our modern world, A.J. Jacobs decides to attempt to obey the Bible as literally as possible for one full year. He vows to follow the Ten Commandments. To be fruitful and multiply. To love his neighbor. But also to obey the hundreds of less publicized rules: to avoid wearing clothes made of mixed fibers; to stone adulterers. The resulting spiritual journey is at once funny and profound, reverent and irreverent, personal and universal and will make you see history's most influential book with new eyes. Jacobs embeds himself in a cross-section of communities that take the Bible literally: he tours a creationist museum and sings hymns with Amish; he dances with Hasidic Jews and does Scripture study with Jehovah's Witnesses. He wrestles with seemingly archaic rules that baffle the 21st-century brain, and he discovers ancient wisdom of startling relevance.--From publisher description.

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