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A Year Of Living Biblically

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
http://www.ajjacobs.com/books/yolb.asp

Has anyone else read this book?

I requested it at my local library and they ordered it in. It's fabulous! Quirky, funny, and thought provoking. I'm about 1/2 way through and I can say that I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book so much.

I hear it's going to be made into a movie. Not sure how that would be. I think it would be difficult to do without turning it into a goofy comedy which I think would be insulting to the actual story and intent.
post #2 of 23
Ooh looks interesting! I've just put a hold on a copy at my local library - there's 7 holds in front of me!
post #3 of 23
Fascinating! Thanks for the recommendation!
post #4 of 23
Wow! Sounds wonderful and entertaining. Thank you!
post #5 of 23
Has it been out long? It sounds really interesting so I might run out to the half price books and buy it!

Leslie
post #6 of 23
I haven't read it but I heard an interview on the radio with the author. It sounds interesting... I live in a Jewish neighborhood where many people are orthodox so I guess you could say many of my friends "live biblically" as well, although they would probably call it "Torah-cally".
post #7 of 23
sounds interesting. ill look into it.
post #8 of 23
I remember Heather (lookingglass) had a post in IMO: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...ght=biblically

I think the book sounds hilarious...its on my "to read" list.
post #9 of 23
I sounds interesting; I'll have to get it from the library.
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
I remember Heather (lookingglass) had a post in IMO: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...ght=biblically

I think the book sounds hilarious...its on my "to read" list.
Yes, that's where I heard about it and put in a request at the library that same day.
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nekochan View Post
I guess you could say many of my friends "live biblically" as well, although they would probably call it "Torah-cally".
Not nearly as biblically as he does in this book. He follows even the most obscure laws from the Bible, and given the fact that many of them would land you in jail today, it's hysterical as to how he goes about some of them, especially the stoning part.

And his poor wife! He describes her actions and reactions to each phase ....
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Yes, that's where I heard about it and put in a request at the library that same day.
i should find a library around here...good idea! I was burned from libraries before since a lot of them didn't have the books I was looking for. The last one was good as it networked with other local area libraries.

Out here...well...I'm still trying to find a local library I know they're out here...they hide them well..
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
Not nearly as biblically as he does in this book. He follows even the most obscure laws from the Bible, and given the fact that many of them would land you in jail today, it's hysterical as to how he goes about some of them, especially the stoning part.
Yeah probably not as biblically as that guy does! Although, they do follow the laws such as no "work" on the sabbath (which includes not using the stove, light switches, driving, or touching money...)
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
http://www.ajjacobs.com/books/yolb.asp

Has anyone else read this book?

I requested it at my local library and they ordered it in. It's fabulous! Quirky, funny, and thought provoking. I'm about 1/2 way through and I can say that I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book so much.

I hear it's going to be made into a movie. Not sure how that would be. I think it would be difficult to do without turning it into a goofy comedy which I think would be insulting to the actual story and intent.
I've heard the author interviewed on a couple of different NPR shows. Interesting guy, and I think he did his best, although there WAS some interpretation of what the Bible says.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
there WAS some interpretation of what the Bible says.
Of course there was. How could there not be? The Bible was written in Hebrew originally and translated again and again and again and there is no possible way to know the actual intent of the meaning behind many of the things written. The only people who know the actual meaning behind the words are those who actually wrote them in the first place. Lots of things written are figurative and/or metafores and stand for something else entirely and are not "literal" in their meaning.

Besides, where in New York City are you going to be able to build a hut to live in when you live in an apartment? Or sacrafice an animal? Or conduct stoning of adulterers?

The idea was to live a year according to the Bible and follow as many of the ancient laws of it that he could, even the archaic ones that would land you in jail in this day and age. For some of them he had to be a little crafty IE: for stoning, the Bible doesn't indicate the size of the stones, and pebbles are considered stones. So he used pebbles. And you can't go around throwing stones at strangers in NYC or you will end up in jail or even shot! So he dropped it on the guy's shoe! Hence he stoned him within the law That whole section had me in stitches

I think the book is wonderfully written. He does a pretty decent job in trying to learn about various religions and find out the meaning behind certain laws that he was trying to follow. At the onset he gathered a list of religious consultants from Priests to Rabis to Religious Scholars, and consulted with them throughout the year about the meaning behind some of the laws he had to follow. Much of the interpretations comes from his consultants.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Here is a passage from the book:

Page 214 and 215

Quote:
You shall surely tithe all the produce... - Deuteronomy 14:22 (NASB)

Day 201. Before I left for Isreal, my advisor Yossi had given me a list of commandments that--according to traditional Judaism--can be fulfilled only in the homeland. Many involved sacrificing animals. But one was relatively bloodless: tithing fruit.

Today I buy an orange at an Israeli farmers' market for a cuople of shekels. Outside, I meet a man named David. he is a portly guy in a Gilligan-style hat who is reading a passage aloud from the Bible. I can't remember the exact passage, but I know it involved the word harlotry. His audience consisted of me and a tall guy in ripped jeans.

David seems like a good candidate.

"I want to give you ten percent of my fruit." I say. "I need to give it to my fellow man on the street."

"Oh, you're tithing?" David knew all about this and thought this was a good idea. "Problem is," he says. "I don't eat oranges. Give it to Lev here." He motions at the tall guy.

Lev is unsure.

"Come on!" says David. "He can't eat the orange unless you take a tenth of it."

"Fine." says Lev.

So I peel the orange and with my index finger, dig out two sections.

"Here you go!"

Lev recoils. Understandable, actually. I wouldn't take a manhandled orange slice from a stranger.

"Take it!" urges David.

Lev thinks about it.

"How about I take the ninety percent and you take the ten percent?"

He's not kidding. I agree and keep the small chunk for myself. It's true, what they say. Everything's a negotiation in the Middle East.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Here is another that had me in stitches.

Page 48-50

Quote:
When a woman has a discharge of blood, which is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening.

Day 34. In case you were wondering, Julie got her period yesterday--which is bad news in two senses. First it means that our attempt to be frutiful and multiply has failed yet again. Second, it ratchets up the biblical living to a whole new level of awkwardness.

The Hebrew Bible discourages the faithful from touching a woman for the week after the start of her period. So far in my year, adhering to this rule has been only mildly uncomfortable, nothing worse. In fact, it's got an upside. It dovetails quite nicely with my lifelong obsessive-compulsive disorder and germaphobia, so it's turned out to be a brilliantly convenient excuse to avoid touching 51 percent of the human population.

A female friend will come in for a cheek kiss, and I'll dart my head out of the way like Oscar de la Hoya. A colleague will try to shake my hand, and I'll step backward to safety.

"I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to."

"Oh. Um. OK."

Usually that's the end of it. Usually but not always. Consider this conversation I had with Julie's Australian friend Rachel, whom we met in Central Park last week.

"You're not allowed to? What do you mean?"

"Well, you might be ... impure."

"What do you mean 'impure'?"

"You know. In your cycle."

I pause. She looked perplexed. I decided this was a good time to avoid eye contact and study the pavement.

"Oh, you mean I might be menstruating? Don't worry, I menstruated last week."

At which point she hugged me. No escaping it.

Oddly Rachel is not alone. A small but surpringly vocal minority of Julie's friends have volunteered detailed information about their biological cycles. The phot editor at Esquire took the considerate step of emailing me her schedule. Did I perhaps want an Excel chart as well, she wondered?
He goes on to talk about his relationship with his wife during her monthly cycle and how she reacts to it.

Apparently Levitical 15:20 states "everything upon which she lies during her impurity shall be unclean; everything also upon which she sits shall be unclean."

At one point she rebelled. He came home from work and went to sit down in his "official seat, the grey pleather armchair in our living room." She tells him that she wouldn't do that. He asks why. She tells him that it's unclean because she sat in it. So he goes to sit somewhere else, and she said she sat there too and then goes on to list every piece of furniture in the apartment Apparently the only place she didn't sit, because she forgot, was his son's 6 inch high wooden bench.

After that he bought himself a fold up chair that he takes with him wherever he goes so he always has someplace "pure" to sit, even on the subway

I'm nearly finished the book. Maybe 40 pages left. I wish the book was longer. It's a very good read! I will probably read it again before returning it to the library, and I think I'll buy myself a copy. It's one of those books that I feel worth reading again. I don't come across many of those books, and when I do I have to have it in my home library.
post #18 of 23
That's funny Natalie - I just finished this book yesterday!
It was more fun to read than I thought it would be.
I enjoyed v. much.

I want to read his other one now.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDubbie View Post
That's funny Natalie - I just finished this book yesterday!
It was more fun to read than I thought it would be.
I enjoyed v. much.

I want to read his other one now.

I've been putting off finishing it because I didn't want it to end! I finally finished it today and I found myself crying at the end. It was like when the year was over it was so final, like he died. I've never had a book leave me with such a sense of loss before. But this one sure did.

I know there are some who would disregard the book because they think it has to do with the Bible. Well, it does, but it's also about self discovery, tolerance and opening your mind and seeing and accepting the differences of others. And he does it so eloquently and with a sense of humour.

I'm not religious and haven't been for years. However, I found this book to be one of the best books that I've picked up to read.
post #20 of 23
Ok, I decided I needed something fun to read in between my horribly boring Politics subject readings, so went out and bought this book as well as his other one "The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World" since it was on sale.

I can't wait to get reading! I'm going to read a chapter of the book for every 2 of my politics readings that I get through
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
hehe, I fear you won't go back to your Politics!
post #22 of 23
Probably This one I'm reading at the moment seems to put as many intellectual phrases in as possible to make them sound more clever.

"However, notwithstanding the paradigmatic assumptions and purposes of the knowledge-based economy and its learning society agenda..."

And each 25 pages could EASILY be condensed into one page of useful information.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
I know there are some who would disregard the book because they think it has to do with the Bible. Well, it does, but it's also about self discovery, tolerance and opening your mind and seeing and accepting the differences of others. And he does it so eloquently and with a sense of humour.
Agree. I think it made it that much more accessible to "common folk" for lack of a better way to put it. I was impressed how he took such a serious topic and made is likeable. I learned some stuff too.
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