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September 29, 2007

The Year of Living Biblically

A New York City journalist attempts to observe every rule in the Bible in modern-day Manhattan for an entire year--hilarity probably ensues.

HT: Metafilter.

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Having read "The Know-It-All" and the excerpts from the new book, I'm think Jacobs is witty, light-hearted company and fine, even sometimes enlightening, entertainment. But people should be warned that part of his routine is that he's occasionally obnoxious. The only parts of "Know-It-All" that really got my eyes rolling, however, were the incessant references to his wife's pregnancy and his impending fatherhood. If Jacobs can refrain from going on and on about his new kid or something, "Living Biblically" could be even finer than "Know-It-All."

What about the part about sacrificing red heiffers and turtle doves? What about mixing fibers?

Ned Flanders: "Lord, I've followed all your rules! Even the rules that contradict the other rules!"

Read the excerpt about stoning. That's kinda the standard way he handles the serious knotty issues. He was astute in "The Know-It-All" in dealing early and often with the issue that the Encyclopedia Britannica does not contain all knowledge, wisdom or even crucial facts. He admits it's kinda a stunt, metaphor, like that. You have to accept that it's a fun project in and of itself. And he goes easy on the pretensions.

Hope he has bail money.

Bail money? Have we so lost our sense of right and wrong that we won't pardon a man for murdering his disobedient children?

I sure feel sorry for his gay friends.

Probably? I'd replace "probably" with "inevitably" . . .

Probably? I'd replace "probably" with "inevitably" . . .

I don’t think he should stop with the Bible. How about:

1) The year of living scientifically— He can not assert or rely upon any fact without first proving its validity by repeated, controlled experiments and publication of the results in a peer reviewed journal. (So much for “I love you, dear”).

2) The year of living rationally— Starting from presuppositions that are necessarily true, he must be able to give a logically coherent account of the ethical basis for any action before he acts. (Ham, or pastrami? Hmm. Cogito, ergo sum. . . .)

3) The year of living romantically—He must express his true self by acting on any impulse that enters his mind, without regard to social convention or likely consequence.

Think of the enlightening results!

If you'd like to hear A.J. Jacobs talk about his new book, "The Year of Living Biblically," check out this audio interview link.

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