As preparation for my foray into Spiritual Discipline, I read A Year’s (plus) of Memoirs from A.J. Jacobs, entitled The Year of Living Biblically. I was very I happy that I did.
Let my paint a picture:
A.J. Jacobs is an Obsessive-Compulsive, Germophobic, Secular Jew who works at Esquire magazine. In an effort to follow up from his book about reading the Encyclopedia Britannica, Jacobs decides to follow the Bible as literally as possible. From the sounds of it, he does an admiral job.
Now Jacobs, being Jewish, devotes four fifths of the book to the Old Testament and one fifth to the New Testament, despite spending two thirds learning the Old versus the one third learning the New Testament in his year of living biblically. Frankly, I don’t see that as a problem, since there are considerably more rules in the Old vs. the New.
What I love about this book is that it really goes into the beauty of discipline. Over and over, while observing even the craziest of laws (e.g. not wearing clothes of mixed fibre) Jacobs learns how one can see joy in freedom from choice just as much as in freedom of choice. By submitting himself to a world of hardcore rules (most of which can easily be seen as ridiculous in our day and age), Jacobs discovers a world of tradition, of history, of mysticism.
I feel like this book can really help both believers (Christian and Jewish – heck, probably Muslim too) as well as agnostics/atheists see the benefit of discipline in life. Its just that cool.
Next book: Tony Jones’ The Sacred Way.
This entry was written by Spiritual Disciplines, books and tagged A.j. Jacobs, Book Review, Christianity, Judaism, Literalism, Year of Living Biblically. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink., posted on May 2, 2008 at 11:45 pm, filed under