Jacobs chose to follow the laws of the Bible (mostly) literally for a year. He spent two-thirds of his year focused on the Old Testament laws, which led him to wear a white robe, grow a rather unkempt beard, examine the linen content of his clothes very carefully, and stone an adulterer (more or less). During the last third of the year, he focused on the New Testament, making himself forgive grudges and finding wisdom in raising his son. He also contacted and visited religious leaders on both ends of the Jewish and Christian spectra.
I have to hand it to Jacobs. Since I am a Christian, I viewed The Year of Living Biblically with a bit of trepidation. This book had the potential to be thrown across the room in frustration, but that was never necessary. Jacobs treated all sides and all interpretations with respect. He presented their views fairly, even when he didn’t agree with them. For the most part, he kept his balance on the very thin line that is created whenever religion is involved. And while doing that, he still managed to be amusing and interesting.
I enjoyed reading Jacobs’ journey through the Bible, and I respect the way he treated every person and idea in his book (well, minus the adulterer he stoned). This was a rather unusual way to experience the Bible, but somehow A.J. Jacobs made it work.