About two weeks ago a friend gave me his copy of The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs. I had read all about it in 2007, having added the following to my mini-blog / delicious bookmarks (biblical+living):
- 27 SEP 07
A year of following all the rules in the Bible – Boing Boing
“I did everything the Bible says! Even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!!” (Ned Flanders). An agnostic decided to follow “all the rules in the Bible” for a year. It got him a book deal. He believes in sacredness, whether or not there is a God.
- 29 SEP 07
Friendly Atheist » The Year of Living Biblically
Ooh, Stephen Colbert’s book is coming out soon. I gotta get that one. Of course, this post is really mostly about “The Year of Living Biblically”. That also looks good, it doesn’t pique my interest as much though.
- 15 OCT 07
» What Happens When an Agnostic Follows the Bible Literally for One Year?
I’ve miniblogged this on boingboing before. This post has more info though, and is very interesting. Sacredness has value, y’know, as does rituals.
- 17 OCT 07
Debating The Year of Living Biblically. – By A.J. Jacobs and Matt Labash – Slate Magazine
A nice letter from the author of “The Year of Living Biblically”
Those last two links are probably the most interesting.
So now I own both the Stephen Colbert book and The Year of Living Biblically. I have read a little bit of each, but I read the little bit of the Colbert a year and a half ago, and I’ve only just begun with Jacobs’. And I love it.
I think one remarkable and unique thing about this book is that despite it being a book on religion, it should be accessible to everyone. Whether you’re a conservative American Evangelical or similar, or a “moderate” or “liberal” Christian, or you are completely non-religious or from another religion, this book should still be able to educate and entertain. I’d give it a “bridge building” prize, if I had one to give.
The front pages have many, many positive testimonials, coming from Jewish sources, Christian sources (conservative and liberal), entertainment sources… here’s two:
In the twenty-first century few, if any, Christians truly attempt to follow the Bible in its literal entirety, even us evangelicals. In this year-long experiment A.J. Jacobs attempts just that, with disarmingly sincere, refreshingly humorous and unexpectedly insightful results. I commend this inspired narrative to anyone actively exploring the continued relevance of biblical living, religion’s need for critical self-reflection and the timelessness of authentic faith.
— Reverend Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics and president of Sojourners/Call to Renewal
A book that is at one and the same time delightfully readable and profoundly memorable is a wonder! The Year of Living Biblically is exactly that. A.J. Jacobs has perceived the distinction between the wisdom of the Bible and its absurdities. It is a shame that so many of both our clergy and our politicians seem incapable of making that distinction.
— John Shelby Spong, author of Jesus for the Non-Religious and former Episcopal bishop
For more, check the links above, or the TED talk embedded below. The TED talk also briefly connects to my previous blog post when he mentions Radical Honesty (and certainly does not recommend it). This talk may be better framed for a TED audience than a certain subset of American evangelicals, but hopefully not stop them from appreciating it, or reading the book for that matter.
You change your behaviour and that changes your mind, rather than the other way round.
And I should probably review a book only once I’m actually finished reading it, but oh well. I thought I’d mention it now because I will be using a short extract in my next post.