Item description for Walking The Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler...
Outline ReviewWalking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses is the story of Bruce Feiler's 10,000-mile trek from Mount Ararat to Mount Nebo, undertaken for reasons he did not understand at the outset and accompanied by a companion who was very nearly a stranger. In the book's first chapter, in characteristically understated style, Feiler suggests a viable parallel to his journey:
Abraham was not originally the man he became. He was not an Israelite, he was not a Jew. He was not even a believer in God--at least initially. He was a traveler, called by some voice not entirely clear that said: Go, head to this land, walk along this route, and trust what you will find.
Feiler, a fifth-generation American Jew from the South, had felt no particular attachment to the Holy Land. Yet during his journey, Feiler's previously abstract faith grew more grounded. ("I began to feel a certain pull from the landscape.... It was a feeling of gravity. A feeling that I wanted to take off all my clothes and lie facedown in the soil.") Feiler's attentiveness, intelligence, and adventurousness enliven every page of this book. And the lessons he learned about the relationship between place and the spirit will be useful for readers of every religious tradition that finds its origins in the Bible. --Michael Joseph Gross
One part adventure story, one part archaeological detective work, one part spiritual exploration, Walking The Bible vividly recounts an inspiring personal odyssey -- by foot, jeep, rowboat, and camel -- through the greatest stories ever told.
Feeling a desire to reconnect to the Bible, award-winning author Bruce Feiler set out on a perilous, 10,000 mile journey retracing the Five Books of Moses through the desert. Traveling over Lee continents, through five countries, and four war zones, Feiler is the first person to complete such a historic expedition. He crosses the Red Sea, climbs Mt. Sinai, and interviews bedouin and pilgrims alike, as he attempts to answer the question: Is the Bible just an abstraction, or is it a living, breathing entity?
Both a pulse-pounding adventure and an uplifting spiritual quest, Bruce Feiler's Walking the Bible is a stunning and elevating work of courage, scholarship, and heart that revisits the inscrutable desert landscape where the world's great religions were born and uncovers fresh answers to the most profound questions of the human spirit.
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Bruce Feiler writes the -This Life- column for the Sunday New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham and The Secrets of Happy Families. He's also the writer/presenter of the PBS series -Walking the Bible- and -Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler.-
Bruce Feiler currently resides in Brooklyn, in the state of New York.
Reviews - What do customers think about Walking The Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses?
Walking the Bible - Lite May 14, 2008
I started the book with enthusiasm and debated whether I'd give it four or five stars. Finishing the last page, the question was whether to give it three or four. Now that I've had a couple of weeks' for digestion, it's with generousity I give it three. The book should be titled Walking the Bible - Lite. Feiler says he read a room of books in preparation for his trek. Maybe so, but what he passes along is superficial. The book has a great premise. Many of the people he meets along the way and their cultures are fascinating. But, he never gets below the surface. Feiler's breezy writing style is easy to read, but sometimes less is more. Not everything needs a simile. Comparing a jagged mountain range to the edge of his just opened tuna can? Yikes! Much of the book deals with Feiler's gee whiz moments of spiritual awakening, connecting to his roots. I'm sure for him the experiences were profound. For me they're neither profound nor interesting.
Taking Steps Apr 27, 2008
Feiler, Bruce. "Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses", Harper Perennial, 2001.
"Walking the Bible" is a guide to the places mentioned in the Pentateuch and is written basically, as I can see it, from the Jewish perspective. Reading the book gives a new appreciation for the tales from the Torah. Feiler shows us how to walk where our ancestors walked. The book is absorbing as it informs and Feiler gives a new perspective on the Bible as he changed from an almost secular Jew to one who after exploration of the land became quite a believer. He seems to have found a path of understanding as well as a realization of the meaning of the holy books. The book works on many levels. It is a travel guide first and foremost but it also looks at history and faith. Feiler adds scholarly interpretation as we "walk the Bible" and his guide, Avner Goren, has a great deal of information and knowledge of Biblical archeology. Unfortunately, however, the writing style leaves a lot to be desired Feiler also has a knack for making a story longer than it needs to be. What is valuable is the amount of information in the book and there is even some interesting Torah commentary.
Take a walk on the Bible side Apr 27, 2008
Back in my junior high and high school days, the standard way to do a book report focused on some very broad categories, particularly plot, characters, setting and theme. Of these, setting often gets the least attention, but it is often essential. Take the Bible, for instance, as Bruce Feiler does in his book Walking the Bible: the tales would be quite different if they had taken place in the relatively lush greenness of Great Britain instead of the semi-arid lands of the Fertile Crescent and Egypt.
Actually, despite the title, Feiler's book covers only one portion of the Bible, namely the Five Books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch or Torah. Just as the Torah has five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, so is Walking the Bible divided into five "books", though Feiler's sections do not fully correspond to the Biblical ones.
The idea is to visit the sites that were recorded in these stories, starting with the location of Noah's Ark, then following the nomadic travels of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; we then go to Joseph leading his family to Egypt and Moses taking those descendants out generations later. Finally, after wandering the desert like the Israelites (though in far less time), Feiler ends his narrative at Mt. Nebo, where Moses's tale also ended.
Several key ideas are developed throughout Walking the Bible, chief of which is the importance of setting. As I stated earlier, these tales could not have taken place in a different climate. In particular, the scarceness of water would dictate where people would wind up and the types of lives they would lead (in particular, nomadic herding over agriculture). Another theme deals with the relationship of fact and legend; many of these sites can only be guessed at, and different traditions may place the same stories in different places. What prevails, however, is that belief often trumps fact, and just because archaeology proves or disproves something doesn't end the belief.
Informative and engagingly well-written, Walking the Bible is worth reading. Whether you think the Bible is myth, history, a crock or literal fact, it is undoubtedly the single most influential piece of literature ever. Therefore, whether you're an atheist or a fundamentalist (or like most people, somewhere in the broad middle), it is worth knowing about the Bible, and Walking the Bible provides the sort of insights that can appeal to that broad range of believers and non-believers.
Walking the Bible Apr 7, 2008
I bought both the book and the video made for PBS. Bruce Feiler has made the first five books of the Bible come alive with his archelogical visits to every place referred to in those first 5 books. His companion, an authority on the digs and finds, gave credibility and deeper insight into important archelogical locations referred to in Biblical History. The trip inside Egypt was so wonderful. The companion photo book is wonderful with full page color pictures. I found reading the book was enlightening to the culture and lifestyle of that B.C,historical period. Easily a 5 star rating.
Walking The Bible - Maybe Feb 24, 2008
I finished "Walking the Bible" this morning. To me this book reads more like a text book than anything - not saying its good or bad in that way. I lived in the Sinai for a year and travelled extensively throughout the land both by land and by helicopter. I also traveled in Israel and Egypt, but not Jordan. I admit up front that a year is not long enough to live in this region and appreciate all its many facets and nuances. Having read this book, I think the thing I find the most disappointing is that I can see the author's faith in God is lacking although I got the feeling that he describes it as stronger after his journey. I am amazed that the author feels his faith is stronger after his journey, having made the comments he did and having put them in print. I often wanted to shout, "Noooooo! You have it wrong, you don't understand at all." One of the things that dominate his text is that he states that he does not necessarily believe that the stories of the Bible are actually true in that they are exaggerated or made up to make a moral point. He does not think that 2 million people made the exodus from Egypt at once and may have been many groups of people over a number of years. He fails to recognize the evidence found in the deserts of both the Sinai and in Saudi Arabia that support a crossing at the Gulf of Aquaba. He seemingly contradicts himself by saying that Mt. Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula may not be the place where Moses received the law then in other places he reflects back to the events that he then infers did happen there such as his experience sitting next to the "burning bush" and his feelings once he was on the traditional Mt. Sinai. The author often goes off on a tangent on Judaism or politics that I found had little to nothing to do with the story he was writing. I found these tangents to border on a personal agenda which I was not interested in reading. I did find his perspective on why the Jewish people feel the Holy Land is still meant for them and why the Arabs feel as they do about it. I appreciated the author's insight to the divergent points of view regarding Judaism and Islam on the land and the religious perspectives of each. I am a Christian who has very strong faith in The Holy Bible, God, and Christianity and I am not prejudiced against the Jewish people or Israel, in fact I have great admiration for both, but had I known before I read it that the book was going to be based on a Jewish perspective and that the author was going to approach his journey using a "Hebrew Bible" perspective when I read the title "Walking the Bible" the first five books of Moses then I probably would not have read the book. Having said all of that I enjoyed the archaeology, the journey and the insights, I was disappointed by the author's limited faith in God and His abilities to do all things. Lastly, at the end when the author was up on Mt. Nebo and he was describing God giving Moses a virtual tour of the promised land he makes the comment that it is a scientific fact that there is no way Moses could have possibly seen all that the Bible describes that God showed him. I must say that from a humanistic perspective based on science and the physicality of the earth and man's physical limits I'd agree but there is more - God was involved and I believe that God could have and did make it possible Moses to have seen all of the Promised Land as described in the biblical text.
Review by M.E. Grant, author of Blood of Scotland.