Saturday, September 23, 2006

Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler

Walking the Bible- A Journey By Land Through the Five Books of Moses

This is such a classic. I really enjoyed reading this book. It took me all summer but I finally finished it last night, all 450 pages! Whew.

This is a book written by a Jewish man that wasn't really a practicing Jew but had questions about God and the Bible. He takes a journey to the Middle East to find some answers and in the process has a great adventure and a spiritual awakening in his life. He reconnects with the bible by actually seeing, feeling, experiencing the Bible in a new way.

He wrote the book in 2002. He actually retraced the steps Moses and Abraham took in the bible. He is using the Torah, English translation. It was a 10,000-mile journey and archaeological odyssey. He visited the places like, The Red Sea and Mt. Sinai, the burning bush, The pyramids, Turkey, Israel, Palestinian territories, Egypt, and Jordan. Sometimes he traveled by foot, sometimes by jeep and he even had to ride a camel in a few places.

He talks to so many interesting people on the way. His friend Avner Goren was by far the most interesting person in the book. He is an Israeli archaeologist. He really knew the bible but also knew a lot about traveling, the people and diplomacy. He was also very wise but also funny. He takes the journey with Bruce F. just for fun.

Somehow the book helped me understand how to connect myself with the abstract parts of the Bible I always just skipped over. I feel closer to my God after reading about Bruce Feiler's experiences. I learned about the land, geography, the people, their history and a little bit more about why there is so much fighting down there still.

I would like to travel to the Middle East and experience the dessert. I think the Bible is somehow deeper then faith or science. I'm not sure how to explain that.

The funniest part was when they are visiting Mt. Sinai and it is a very isolated spot. The monk they are chatting with mentioned that he sometimes has problems getting connected to email when people send really big files to them that take days to download. This is what Bruce F. is thinking, "I was stunned: downloading problems at Mount Sinai, the place of the most famous download in history. The irony was too rich to contemplate."

So I don't know a lot about Egypt but I found this part the most fascinating. I always just thought of Pharaoh as a Pharaoh, like in the Hollywood movie about Moses escaping with the Israelites. But, duh, there were lots of Pharaohs over history and they don't actually know which Pharaoh it was that chased after Moses. Was it Rameses or a Thutmose or a Merenptah. The book suggests that maybe the name isn't important or maybe it is important so you would have the conversation and relive the Exodus. Advar says, "We need to understand Egypt. We should understand that the Israelites lived here, they were part of this culture, but that they left here, hoping to find a better life."

This is a Whole and Healing book. I will consider it now a classic in our family. I really liked reading it, even if I didn't understand a lot of it because of my limited understanding of the Bible and the Middle East and History. At least it is a start. Now I want to know more!

1 comment:

Maryanne said...

This book sounds really interesting! I'll have to check it out!