“An instant classic. . . . A pure joy to read.” —Washington Post Book World
Both a heart-racing adventure and an uplifting quest, Walking the Bible presents one man’s epic journey- by foot, jeep, rowboat, and camel- through the greatest stories ever told. From crossing the Red Sea to climbing Mount Sinai to touching the burning bush, Bruce Feiler’s inspiring odyssey will forever change your view of history’s most legendary events.
The stories in the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Torah, come alive as Feiler searches across three continents for the stories and heroes shared by Christians and Jews. You’ll visit the slopes of Mount Ararat, where Noah’s ark landed, trek to the desert outpost where Abraham first heard the words of God, and scale the summit where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Using the latest archeological research, Feiler explores how physical location affects the larger narrative of the Bible and ultimately realizes how much these places, as well as his experience, have affected his faith. A once-in-a-lifetime journey, Walking the Bible offers new insights into the roots of our common faith and uncovers fresh answers to the most profound questions of the human spirit.
“Smart and savvy, insightful and illuminating.” —Los Angeles Times
“An exciting, well-told story informed by Feiler’s boundless intellectual curiosity . . . [and] sense of adventure.” —Miami Herald
Walking 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
From Publishers Weekly
Prolific author Feiler has turned from his earlier subject (clowning, in Under the Big Top) to more serious fare: the Bible and the Middle East. Jewish author Feiler offers himself here as a pilgrim, walking through biblical lands and interviewing individuals from many religious traditions and walks of life. He reads the stories of the Pentateuch in the places they are thought to have happened, he records the latest archaeological understandings of the Bible, and he wrestles with his own faith. Of course, contemporary politics sneaks into the story, too; Arab-Israeli conflicts are hard to avoid when one is writing about the biblical Canaan. Feiler is an accomplished wordsmith. When he describes the "smells of dawn cinnamon, cardamom, a whiff of burnt sugar," the reader is transported to Turkey. He has the rare talent of being able to write in the second person, a gift he uses sparingly here: "Light. The first thing you notice about the desert is the light." In the sections of the book where his content is banal (readers can only take so many descriptions of dusty museums, bustling streets and breathtaking sunsets), Feiler''s prose carries the narrative through. This book belongs on the shelves next to classics such as Wendy Orange''s Coming Home to Jerusalem. Readers who find Westerners'' encounters with the Holy Land enchanting will cherish this book.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
A journalist and contributor to National Public Radio''s All Things Considered, Feiler (Dreaming Out Loud, LJ 4/15/98) traveled over 10,000 miles on three continents and five countries to retrace the route of the Hebrew patriarchs throughout the Middle East. His "objective was less to prove the Bible and more to witness its atmosphere and lingering appeal." To investigate the latest archaeological findings, he teamed up with Avner Goren, former chief archaeologist and preserver of antiquities in the Sinai region and currently one of Israel''s most eloquent authorities on life in the ancient world. For the two men, reading the biblical accounts within their natural surroundings turned into a two-year journey throughout Turkey, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, and Jordan to such famous sites as Mt. Ararat, Jerusalem, St. Catherine''s Monastery, Mt. Sinai, and the Dead Sea. At the end of their pilgrimage, both men came away with a deeper faith and a better appreciation of the Bible as a living, breathing testimony to man''s relationship to the divine. Essential for anyone interested in religion, archaeology, or travel, this is highly recommended for most collections.
-DMichael W. Ellis, Ellenville P.L., NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Determined to connect more deeply with his religious roots, Feiler joined archaeologist Avner Goren in a trek through the Middle East, visiting the sites mentioned in the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Weaving together archaeological evidence, historical theory, orthodox theology, and religious myth, Feiler here explores each of the stories in the Pentateuch whose settings he visited. In addition to trekking, Feiler communed with other pilgrims, Islamic, Judaic, and Christian alike. He consulted local historians and scholars, and he interviewed local residents about their understanding of the various sites'' significance. Full of wonder and awe, yet written from a perspective of reasoned inquiry,
Walking the Bible delightfully proves that the rational and the mystical can exist side by side, each contributing to the understanding of personal and cultural religious heritage. Feiler''s own spiritual journey was strengthened by his inspection of the historical and archaeological evidence relevant to the stories of the Mosaic scriptures, so as to place them firmly into a context that illumines their origins and evolution.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“An instant classic. . . . A pure joy to read.” -- Washington Post Book World
“Smart and savvy, insightful and illuminating.” -- Los Angeles Times
“An exciting, well-told story informed by Feiler’s boundless intellectual curiosity...[and] sense of adventure.” -- Miami Herald
“An eloquently spiritual pilgrimage.” -- Entertainment Weekly
“Feiler’s accomplishment, and it’s a profound one, is to confront his idea of God...” -- San Francisco Chronicle
“An inspirational oasis. . . . From the barren land, Feiler emerges, like those whose paths he traces, renewed and transformed.” -- People
“An enthusiastic travelogue…Feiler delivers a wealth of information in an accessible and entertaining format.” -- New York Times Book Review
“[Feiler] is an excellent guide...He has...invested [this book] with a keen intellectual curiosity.” -- New York Times
“Bruce Feiler went looking for proof. He learned that proof doesn’t matter.” -- USA Today
“Evocative, descriptive, emotionally honest, and often funny.” -- Christian Science Monitor
“Feiler, not unlike Mark Twain, brings a sharp sense of humor to the whole endeavor.” --
Los Angeles Times
“A powerful and spiritual pilgrimage…in every way, marvelous if not indispensable reading for anyone remotely interested in the Torah.” -- Chicago Sun-Times
“Feiler’s accomplishment, and it’s a profound one, is to confront his idea of God as spoken to him by the Bible...His trek through biblical history evolves into something far more fundamental, an intellectual and spiritual crusade to find common bond with the lands of his forebears.” -- San Francisco Chronicle
“[Feiler] is an excellent guide and a worthy wrestler. He has put an enormous amount of information into this book and has invested it with a keen intellectaul curiosity.” -- New York Times
“Evocative, descriptive, emotionally honest, and often funny...Feiler’s most compelling writing is by far about the desert. For anyone wanting to know something of its terrifying strangeness, haunting beauty, and stark spirituality, as well as its possibilities for the future of Israel and the region.” -- Christian Science Monitor
“Ranks among the great spiritual autobiographies...Feiler, a superb narrartor and storyteller with a gentle, ironic sense of humor, also possesses a potent intellect that at moments blazes forth, illuminating everything in its path.” --
Washington Post Book World
“The perfect read for people who are interested in the Bible and the Middle East.” -- Jerusalem Post
“Anyone who cares about the Bible or history or mankind should be grateful to bruce Feiler. His curiosity is prodigious, his intellect sharp, his legs willing to climb and climb.” -- Stephen J. Dubner, author of Turbulent Souls
“An engrossing story...Anyone planning to visit the Middle East should definitely take at least two books with them-the Bible and this one.” -- Calgary Herald
“A work of magic...[succeeds] in making the Bible exciting.” -- Angelican Herald
“Goren and Feiler make for two of the most entertaining traveling buddies since Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.” -- San Francisco Jewish Bulletin
“Walking The Bible is armchair reading with a spiritual bent...Feiler writes with a sense of poetry about the land.” -- The Jewish Week
“This book belongs on the shelves next to the classics.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Anyone planning to visit the Middle East should take two books with them--the Bible and this one.” -- Calgary Herald
“How on earth did Bruce Feiler come up with so many new, insightful, witty, and touching things to say...?” -- Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock
“Full of wonder and awe, yet written from a perspective of reasoned inquiry.” -- Booklist (*starred review)
From the Back Cover
Both a heart-racing adventure and an uplifting quest, Walking the Bible describes one man''s epic odyssey—by foot, jeep, rowboat, and camel—through the greatest stories every told. From crossing the Red Sea to climbing Mount Sinai to touching the burning bush, Bruce Feiler''s inspiring journey will forever change your view of some of history''s most storied events.
About the Author
Bruce Feiler is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Abraham, Where God Was Born, America''s Prophet, The Council of Dads, and The Secrets of Happy Families. He is a columnist for the New York Times, a popular lecturer, and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin daughters.