Living Biblically

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I am really delighted to have had the chance to watch the first three episodes of the brand new CBS series “Living Biblically” and then to talk with the show’s executive producer Patrick Walsh about it. Readers of this blog will know that I am a big fan of A. J. Jacobs’ book The Year of Living Biblically. This series is indeed an attempt to turn that non-fiction diary, an attempt by the author to follow the Bible literally over the course of year, into a TV series in the sitcom genre. The result will air on CBS starting this coming Monday, February 26th, at 9:30pm EST. While my initial glimpses via the promotional clips had me skeptical, watching the first three episodes in their entirety poises me to encourage readers of the blog to watch the show, regardless whether the promotional clips have caused you to respond with eagerness to watch it or have made you wonder whether it is worth your time. It is – and in this blog post I’ll seek to explain why.

The fictional world of the show has direct connections not only with Jacobs’ book, but with the experience of the producers, who brought in a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi as consultants much as Chip, the main character, does on his journey. And their reaction to the idea of someone trying to live “100% literally” by the Bible is not unlike that of their parallel characters in the world of the show: the idea is laughable, but not in a harsh mocking way, but in the politely amused manner that those of us who study the Bible academically for a living might also scoff at the suggestion, because we know just how many points of disconnect there are between our modern life and...
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