• The Year of Living Biblically

  • One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
  • By: A. J. Jacobs
  • Narrated by: A. J. Jacobs
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 27-09-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.1 (42 ratings)


After his hilarious chronicle about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z (actually a-ak to zyweic), our fearless author, A. J. Jacobs, tackles a new intellectual adventure, an exploration of the most influential book in the world: the Bible. He determined the best way to explore the Bible was to live it, as literally as possible. For one year. There are 700 rules in the Old and New Testaments, A. J. discovered - some wise, some general, some contradictory. Some from Jesus, some from prophets, some from God. A. J. assembled a board of spiritual advisors: rabbis, ministers, and priests, some conservative, some of them "one four-letter word away from excommunication", who would provide guidance and advice throughout his journey. But the journey was, by necessity, arbitrary. DIY religion.
In The Year of Living Biblically, A. J. explores the Bible chronologically, from the Old Testament (crucial, given the 10 Commandments) to the New Testament (crucial, given America's powerful evangelical movement and its literal interpretation of the Bible) and lives the Bible on every level. He obeys the 10 Commandments, he is fruitful and multiplies (A. J.'s wife had twins during his year!); he remembers the Sabbath and keeps it holy. But he also obeys the oft-neglected rules, such as avoiding clothes of mixed fibers and refraining from shaving the edges of his beard (Leviticus 19:27). So, throughout the year, A. J. is commonly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top. Or Moses.
This is a look at religion today through one man's totally arbitrary, deeply funny, journey. In A. J.'s hands, The Year of Living Biblically is also fascinating and irresistible.
©2007 A. J. Jacobs (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc.
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Critic reviews

"[A] hilarious, quixotic, thought-provoking memoir." ( Publishers Weekly)
"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 sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.'" (P. J. O'Rourke)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By The Kinsella Bunch on 26-07-15

Thoroughly Enjoyed It

As a former Fundamentalist I could relate to this on so many levels. great read.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mr Jeremy J Osborn on 24-06-17

A good read

Often funny, informative and occasionally bittersweet this is a good insight into what it might be like to follow what you can of the bible. I like the idea of doing things that eventually leads to being. Don't swear and become less angry.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jonathan on 04-12-07

Excellent... But tongue in cheek

You should be warned that this book is a cross between a documentary and a comedy... he does some pretty outlandish stuff. I would compare it to the "Super Size Me" movie, where there is a very real and relevant theme, but it is taken to the extreme for entertainment value.

This story was funny, endearing and had no problem keeping my interest. I felt the author/narrator is extremely well-spoken (compared to the other audio books I have heard). The story had a good flow... although I felt the ending was slightly weak. I could relate to his and his wife's feelings and difficulties throughout.

If you are looking for a very serious look at religion in contemporary society, this may not quite hit what you are looking for. If you are looking for an entertaining story about a secular guy who tries to learn about and incorporate select parts of the old testament into his life (often to the chagrin of his wife) and relate to its teachings, you'll like it. And if you are somebody like me who grew up secular and has tried to become more religious, you will definitely be able to relate.

Some of the other reviewers complained about it not containing enough on Christianity. The book is focused only on the old testament (this is stated in the books online summary), and the author is jewish, so much more weight is definately given to the jewish view of old testament laws. He does have some christian advisors and devotes some, but not a majority, of time to christian perspectives and values... Just don't expect the whole book to be based on christianity or jesus' teachings.

If you are looking for a funny and interesting piece on relating to the old testament, this book is fantastic. Just be clear what the book up front.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By CHRIS on 26-10-11

Its ABRIDGED! Buy the book if want the whole story

To all the reviewers complaining about the short shrift the New Testament gets, I say read the dead tree version for the full story. Overall worth one credit, but I could do with less talk about the author's OCD routines and issues.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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