Cover image for Walking the Bible : a journey by land through the five books of Moses
Title:
Walking the Bible : a journey by land through the five books of Moses
Author:
Feiler, Bruce S.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, [2001]

©2001
Physical Description:
451 pages : maps ; 25 cm
General Note:
Maps on lining papers.

Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780380977758
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Clearfield Library DS49.7 .F45 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Eden Library DS49.7 .F45 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Orchard Park Library DS49.7 .F45 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Bruce Feiler (born October 25, 1964) is a writer on social issues and, particularly more recently, on religion. Feiler is a native of Savannah, Georgia, and now lives in New York City with his wife and children. His wife sometimes appears as a traveling companion in his books.

Feiler completed his undergraduate degree at Yale University. His latest book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me, describes how after recieving a diagnosis of cancer, he asked six men from all phases of his life to be present through the phases of his young daughters¿ lives. (Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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. --Bonnie Johnston


Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Feiler tracks the sources of the Bible on a 10,000-mile trek across the Middle East. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Walking the Bible A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses Chapter One In the Land of Canaan The guard eyed me squarely as we approached his post, moving one hand from his belt to his walkie-talkie. His other arm rested on a rifle. He had gel in his hair and three stripes on his sleeve. "Yes?" he said, arching his eyebrows. It was 9:35 on a late-autumn morning when Avner and I strode toward the security checkpoint at the Damia Bridge, an Israeli-Jordanian border crossing about thirty miles north of Jericho. We had driven up from Jerusalem that morning to start the next phase of our journey, visiting sites in the Promised Land associated with Abraham, his son Isaac, and his son Jacob. Together they form the holy triumvirate of biblical forefathers, the patriarchs, from the Greek words patria, meaning family or clan, and arche, meaning ruler. The Five Books describe several forefathers who preceded these men, notably Adam and Noah, as well as many who follow. But the three patriarchs receive special distinction because it's to them--of all humanity--whom God grants his sacred covenant of territory, and through them that the relationship between the people of Israel and the Promised Land is forged. The story of the patriarchs takes up the final thirty-nine chapters of Genesis and covers the entire geographical spectrum of the ancient Near East, from Mesopotamia to Egypt, and back again, all within several verses. For Avner and me, this scope posed a challenge. Soon after our return from Turkey, we huddled in the living room of his home in Jerusalem and set about devising an itinerary. It was a sunny, comfortable room, with whitewashed walls, bedouin rugs from the Sinai, and pictures of his two children, as well as the two daughters of his second wife, Edie, a Canadian who served as office manager for the Jerusalem bureau of the New York Times. Avner sat at the table with his computer, online Bible, countless topographical maps, dozens of archaeological texts, and the handheld GPS device, while I paced the floor. Our most immediate problem was that with no archaeological evidence to relate any of the events in the Five Books to specific places, we were left to the often-contradictory claims of history, myth, legend, archaeobiology, paleozoology, and faith. There are nearly two dozen candidates for Mount Sinai, for example, and nearly half a dozen for the Red Sea. There are countless theories about which path the Israelites took through the Sinai. In addition, we faced the competing constraints of religious wars, political wars, terrorism, climate, budget, and health, as well as the desire to have fun. Ultimately we settled on a guiding principle: Our goal was to place the biblical stories in the historical and cultural context of the ancient Near East. Time and again, rather than focus on every story in the text, or even every interesting story in the text, we decided to concentrate on stories that could be enhanced by being in the places themselves. The story of Jacob and his brother Esau wrestling in Rebekah's womb, for example, while fascinating on many levels, struck us as not likely to be enriched by traveling to a specific location. The stories of Sodom and Gomorrah, by contrast, and the crossing of the Red Sea might easily take on new meanings by visiting their settings. In Judaism, the traditional process of analyzing scripture is called midrash, from the Hebrew term meaning search out or investigate; in Christianity, this process is referred to as exegesis, from the Latin word meaning the same thing. In effect, what Avner and I undertook was topographical midrash, a geographical exegesis of the Bible. In that spirit, we decided to begin our travels in Israel with a bit of a long shot. Our destination this morning was Shechem, the first place Abraham stops in Canaan and the next place the Bible mentions after Harran. The text makes no mention of what route Abraham, his wife, Sarah (she's actually called Sarai at the moment, as he is still called Abram), and his nephew Lot took to Canaan. Based on road patterns in the ancient world, one of the most logical places for him to cross into the Promised Land would have been a natural ford in the Jordan River just south of the Sea of Galilee, where the Damia Bridge is located today. Though we were already in the Promised Land, we decided to ask if the Israeli Army would let us walk across the bridge to the Jordanian side, then walk back, seeing what Abraham might have seen. Avner explained this idea to the sergeant, who remained at attention. After hearing the explanation, the officer removed his walkie-talkie and relayed our request. The border post was astir that morning. It was a small crossing--the Jordan here is narrow enough for a horse to jump--but tidy, decorated with cacti, olive trees, and oleanders. The gate was blue and white. Every few minutes a Palestinian truck would approach, ferrying oranges, honeydew, or polished limestone. The driver would dismount and hand over his papers, which the guards would stamp and return. Then the guards would roll open the gate, the truck would pass, and the whole process would start again. We were just becoming lulled by the routine, when suddenly we heard static on the walkie-talkie. The sergeant removed it and held it for us to hear: "I don't care if they write a book about the Bible," the voice said. "I don't care if they rewrite the Bible itself. But they're not going to do it in a military zone, and they're not going to do it on my bridge." The sergeant replaced his walkie-talkie and shrugged. "Sorry," he said, "only Palestinians." We returned to the highway and turned west toward the mountains. Shechem is located at the northern edge of the central spine of mountains that traverse much of Israel and the West Bank... Walking the Bible A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses . Copyright © by Bruce Feiler. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce S. Feiler All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introduction: And God Said
Go Forthp. 3
Book I God of Our Fathers
1. In the Land of Canaanp. 39
2. Take Now Thy Sonp. 63
3. A Pillow of Stonesp. 93
Book II A Coat of Many Colors
1. On the Banks of the Nilep. 123
2. And They Made Their Lives Bitterp. 147
3. A Wall of Waterp. 165
Book III The Great And Terrible Wilderness
1. A Land of Fiery Snakes and Scorpionsp. 199
2. On Holy Groundp. 227
3. The God-Trodden Mountainp. 249
Book IV The Land That Devours Its People
1. Wanderingp. 277
2. And the Earth Opened Its Mouthp. 304
3. The Land of Milk and Honeyp. 328
Book V Toward the Promised Land
1. The Wars of the Lordp. 351
2. Half as Old as Timep. 373
3. Sunrise in the Palm of the Lordp. 394
And the People Believedp. 429
Take These Wordsp. 431
Indexp. 437

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