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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (30,426 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: A. J. Jacobs Narrator: A. J. Jacobs Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9780743569989
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In this timely and fascinating audiobook, A.J. Jacobs tries to follow such famous Scriptural laws as the Ten Commandments, be fruitful and multiply, and love your neighbor. But he also obeys dozens of less-publicized instructions, including growing a beard, avoiding clothes of mixed fibers and, yes, stoning adulterers.

 

Jacobs, who was raised in a secular household, dives headfirst into the most influential book of all time. He assembles a board of spiritual advisors, studies the Old and New Testaments, grows a beard so unruly that he is regularly mistaken for a member of ZZ Top, immerses himself in prayer—even tends sheep in the Negev desert. His discoveries about himself and the Bible are both surprising and profound.

 

With the Bible—and its literal interpretation—remaining a mighty force in American society, Jacobs embeds himself in a cross-section of remarkable Biblical communities, from a Kentucky-based creationist museum to the Pennsylvania Amish, from Christian charity workers to Hasidic Jews. The result is a story that will captivate secular and religious alike.

 

Respectful and hilarious in equal measures, The Year of Living Biblically is at once an irresistible listen, a vital exploration of religion in America today, and a genuinely moving spiritual journey. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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
  • Setting out to explore the consequences of strict adherence to biblical laws, A. J. Jacobs encounters a series of experiences that are as hilarious as they are thought-provoking. Along the way he teaches us both the fallacies of modern day religious fundamentalism and the joys of discovering the transcendent and timeless truths of faith. Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director, Human Genome Project, author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
  • 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. Publishers Weekly (Starred)
  • In the twenty-first century few, if any, Christians truly attempt to follow the Bible in its literal entirety, even us evangelicals. In this yearlong experiment A.J. Jacobs attempts just that, with disarming 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. J. Jacobs has written about the Bible in a manner that is brilliantly funny but unerringly respectful, learned but goofy, deeply personal yet highly relevant. I am covetous and wish him smited. Mary Roach, Bestselling author of Spook and Stiff
  • Impressive and often tremendously amusing.... 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. While debunking biblical literalism -- with dinner party-ready scriptural quotes -- Jacobs simultaneously finds his spirituality renewed. ...A biblical travelogue -- and far funnier than your standard King James. Kirkus Reviews
  • As a man incapable of developing any facial hair aside from a really amazingly cruddy moustache, I would have bought this book for the astonishing big beard chronicle alone. That The Year of Living Biblically grows, beardlike, into a long, hilarious, tangled, and ultimately moving story of spiritual growth is all the more astonishing. But why should I continue to be surprised at what springs from A. J.'s head? He is a brilliantly hilarious writer who truly lives up to that oft-misused adverb/adjective combination and then some. Plus: HE IS GOING TO HEAVEN. So how can you not afford to tithe your salary to his cause and buy this book? John Hodgman, Daily Show correspondent and author of Areas of My Expertise
  • Seeing that most people violate at least three of the ten commandments on their way to work -- even people who work from home -- says a lot about the scale of A. J.'s feat. The fact that you need to buy six copies of this book to unlock the code to save all humanity...well, that's just pure genius. Ben Karlin, cocreator of The Colbert Report and coauthor of America: The Book
  • “Witty and entertaining.” 

    Daily Mail (London)

  • A.J. Jacobs is so funny he can make watching his beard grow hilarious. The Year of Living Biblically is the most unexpectedly delightful - and consistently charming - book I've read in a long time. It will have you laughing out loud, nodding in disbelief, and rethinking what you believe about the Bible. It will also have you tallying your sins: I coveted his humor and envied his facial hair. And that's no lie. Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born
  • 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.' And let me suggest that readers, whether they know their Bible or not, get to know A.J. Jacobs. But not in a biblical sense, please. P.J. O'Rourke
  • The Year of Living Biblically is an extremely compelling book, appropriately irreverent and highly entertaining. More significantly, it is a tale of an intense and intelligent spiritual search that will speak powerfully and instructively to a generation of seekers. Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College
  • “Engaging…comical…full of curious lore.” 

    Independent on Sunday (London)

  • “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.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “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. He may not be, he may never become, a moral giant, but he certainly seems to be a nicer guy.” 

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Wilcox | 2/20/2014

    " I couldn't put this one down. Fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah Buccleugh | 2/7/2014

    " So funny. Made me want to read the Old Testament. I am lost somewhere in exodus. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James Courtney | 1/31/2014

    " I liked this book, honestly. I was more amused though, than entertained. This is probably due to my religious upbringing. But I will say that I still learned more about the old testament than I ever thought I would. Once I got passed my own prejudice about the idea of living biblically, literally, I enjoyed it very much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda Talbert | 1/21/2014

    " Very interesting. The author is an agnostic who decides to live an entire year by following every Biblical "law" literally. Yes, this even means researching animal sacrifices, female impurity laws, and loving your neighbor. I learned many things about the different religious sects that are tied to Judaism and Christianity... some give Christianity a bad reputation in my opinion, but I appreciate being informed. It was an easy read and intriguing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne Colley | 1/21/2014

    " Although Jacobs created his topic rather artificially rather than from a sense of trying to please God and live according to the Bible, his story is still an appealing one. He clearly did his research when he was trying to to follow the Bible. His family history of Judaism was interesting, too, despite his protestations that he was an agnostic. I enjoyed exploring the variation pieces of the Bible that he selected, although he presents each topic rather randomly as opposed to chronologically as presented in the Bible. Some of his musings require more than glancing thoughts on the part of the reader (which I enjoyed). Jacobs divulges quite a bit about his family, and not all of it was flattering. I appreciated his in depth research, too. I was also intrigued by his accounts of the different people he visited (the Amish, the snake handler, Jerry Falwell, etc.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 kelly | 1/4/2014

    " Read it like a year ago and i still remember parts that make me laugh out loud. I want to read it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Battaglia | 1/1/2014

    " Funny, educational and a little shocking. Religion really is whacko!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penny | 1/1/2014

    " Very much enjoyed this refreshing approach to a book I try and read daily and live by. Honest and amusing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ninian | 12/27/2013

    " Well-written, funny, and entertaining. However all the way through I kept thinking "Yes, but what is the point?" "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristy Hill | 12/24/2013

    " Very funny and witty. Memoir of a man that decides to follow the Bible literally for an entire year. Not sure I could have stayed married to him so kudos to his wife. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Collin | 12/23/2013

    " Truly enjoyed this book. It was entertaining to read and well thought out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie Coates | 12/20/2013

    " Amusing and thought provoking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn Capern | 12/17/2013

    " One of my favorite books of all time. It doesn't get funnier, or more profound, than this. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristen | 12/4/2013

    " I did not find this book to be particularly funny or insightful. Overall it was pretty disappointing and not a book I would recommend others read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 12/2/2013

    " Really insightful and funny, but dragged quite a bit. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 11/29/2013

    " Entertaining read, but a lttle slow. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Casie | 11/29/2013

    " Less snarky than I expected, but honest and amusing and a little inspiring too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lilly Marie | 10/25/2013

    " UHHHHH-MAAAAYYY-ZEEEENG "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 9/20/2013

    " Very interesting. Really gives you food for thought. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kendra Beewings | 1/15/2013

    " This book was hilarious, often ridiculous, and sometimes excessive, but highly enjoyable overall. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Justina | 9/10/2012

    " Well-written and clever read where A.J. Jacobs attempts to live out all of the rules written into scripture. Unfortunately, there is a big hole in his understanding of grace and the gospel of Jesus and at times mocks the Christian faith. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe Moffa | 8/19/2012

    " Very thought provoking and immensely entertaining. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 7/24/2012

    " Good book, enjoyed reading it...funny, did not enlighten me like I hoped it would, but did make me think a little. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adventure_chick | 1/3/2012

    " Really enjoyed this walk down Religion Lane. I find the book in no way irreverent, but an honest look at religion from the point of view of an agnostic trying to find his way through the Bible. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nanette | 11/24/2011

    " I laughed and cried. Although the author doesn't believe in the Bible the way I do (he's an agnostic Jew), his approach is respectful and I was surprised to discover that his understanding of the text was consistently similar to my own and that he provided insights I hadn't thought of before. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Frazier | 8/19/2011

    " Excellent. I never laughed so much and learned so much about the Bible at the same time. Loved it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison Smith | 8/15/2011

    " I read this curious book with great interest; I think his wife deserves a medal ! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 6/24/2011

    " I loved it. Funny and interesting. I should say more, but I'm running behind today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/22/2011

    " This book was fairly funny and made me think about how "biblically" I am living. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 6/21/2011

    " Good book. Could have been about 50-100 pages shorter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Taylor | 6/20/2011

    " This was a really fun, funny, and beautiful read. The bible is so strange, so old, so disturbing, and yet so inspiring. I thought Jacobs insights into religion, fundamentalism, and ritual were very insightful and moving. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 6/18/2011

    " What a fascinating idea! Some of his ways to fulfill things like stoning adulterers are interesting. I especially like that one of his advisors is a Lutheran pastor out to pasture, Elton Richards, former minister at St. John's Lutheran in Des Moines and father of my friend, David. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dinah34134 | 6/17/2011

    " for me the books started out strong...but fizzled by the end.

    i'm sorry AJ. & i'm sorry AJ's dad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krathje | 6/14/2011

    " Very interesting journey in thinking about Bible. Humorous and heart-warming. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyson | 6/10/2011

    " Read it twice. extremely funny AND insightful. Big fan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 6/10/2011

    " Definitely an entertaining read. I laughed out loud constantly. But I feel like he wimped out on engaging with the New Testament books - they didnt get any of the heart or wacky enthusiasm he gave to the OT. Too bad! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 6/5/2011

    " Very funny and entertaining book! A quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Booksthailand | 6/2/2011

    " Not bad, not as profound as it wants to be though. Blessed be the Cheesemakers! "

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About the Author

A. J. Jacobs is the editor of What It Feels Like and the author of a series of experiential journalism books including bestsellers The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically. He is the senior editor of Esquire and has written for the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, New York magazine, New York Observer, and other publications. He lives in New York with his wife and children.