Finishing Biblically Thinking…

I finished A.J. Jacobs soon to be released book, The Year of Living Biblically. It wasn’t a bad read, it was easy and Jacob’s prose flows quite nicely. You can pick up the book read a quick 10 pages and set it back down, without ever losing the flow of the narrative. Most importantly I think for the book, considering it’s topic how Jacob’s approaches religion both with respect and skepticism, and a little humor. This keeps the whole text from getting bogged down in some of the bizarre religious beliefs he shares.

A little about the book, is in order. Jacob’s writes for Esquire magazine. His previous book was The Know-It-All, about reading the entire encyclopedia Britannica in a year. This book is about him following every law in the bible, both old and new testaments. The book is his attempt to live them all and how it effects his and his family’s lives. He also makes a number of trips to meet religious figures, who are mostly, off the map. People like snake handlers, his crazy orthodox Jewish, former uncle in Israel, etc…

I enjoyed reading the book, my problem with it though is its lack of any conclusion. After A year of living the bible as faithfully as possible, interacting with devout people of various faiths. He gives the literary equivalent of a shoulder shrug. It was good and I feel good about myself, and I feel but nothing really has changed. I have a feeling he is being disingenuous here. He has to stay light, funny, and somewhat edgy, lest he loses his cred and job at Esquire magazine. Nor can he come down and say religion is hogwash, for fear of insulting the people who helped him throughout the year, and the majority of his readers. So he gives a non-committal answer and quickly wraps the book up.


Author: Jonathon

Would rather be out swimming, running, or camping. Works in state government. Spent a youth reading genre-fiction; today, he is making up for it by reading large quantities of non-fiction literature. The fact that truth, in every way, is more fascinating than fiction still tickles him.

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