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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Taking the testaments word for word

    A.J. Jacobs is one of a few Americans who have read the Bible all the way through.

    For his book, “”The Year of Living Biblically,”” Jacobs took it upon himself to spend a year following the Bible as literally as possible. Jacobs, a rather apathetic agnostic, grew up Jewish in the sense that his family celebrated Hanukkah by putting a Star of David on the top of their Christmas tree. More or less a stranger to religion, and having discovered that a whopping 55 percent of Americans take the Bible literally, Jacobs wanted to know what that really meant.

    He began by reading the Bible in record time and creating a list of more than 700 rules ranging from the popular “”be fruitful and multiply”” to the lesser known “”blow a horn on the first day of the new month.”” He let his beard grow wild and hired a man to help him tell whether or not his clothing was made of mixed fibers, which became irrelevant as he began wearing all white as suggested in Ecclesiastes, tassels included. He doesn’t lie, doesn’t sin, doesn’t take the Lord’s name in vain and he tithes. Well, he tries, anyway. And some things are just a little too outdated: though the Bible says to stone adulterers, Jacobs agrees to just pick up a pebble for each one he encounters.

    It may sound like Jacobs is making fun, but it’s more like he’s having fun. In this book he makes an honest, sincere effort to be open-minded and to understand religion; it just happens to be funny along the way. He has spiritual advisors who help explain the reasoning behind some weird laws in the Bible and he makes trips to visit an Amish settlement, a Creation museum and Israel.

    In his life-changing year, Jacobs learns the errors of stereotyping the evangelicals, the beauty of the Sabbath and the reasonable way to pick and choose which parts of the Bible are worth following.

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