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Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,215 ratings  ·  405 reviews
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. ...more
Paperback, 451 pages
Published August 2nd 2005 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2001)
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Ensiform
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
As the subtitle suggests, the author retraces the Pentateuch as best he can, Bible in hand and affable expert in tow. Mostly a disappointing book, I’m afraid. First, Feiler is a rather laborious writer – the 424 pages are packed with rather stilted purple prose at times (his imagery is wild and uninformative: mountains resemble pies, “a drip castle,” “sweet potatoes,” “rancid hamburger meat,” or bizarrely, “melting dinosaurs” [!]). Second, Feiler is one of those travel writers who feels the need ...more
Mitch
Sep 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographical, fantasy
I read this book because the topic- wandering through the Middle East and connecting to sites/events mentioned in the first five books of the Bible- seemed interesting. Also, I knew that the author would be mentioning some places I visited last year.

The author's motivation for his trip was twofold: first, he felt the same longing that many people feel to experience the Bible more fully by visiting its home turf. Secondly, he wanted to write a book. His trip was work, basically. So here you have
...more
Pamela
Jul 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought I might go to Israel and almost did...twice. Once I had my passport ready and had nearly signed up to go with my pastor's tour, but had to stay to help move the family. And this time...walking through the bible with Bruce Feiler.

This author (who I have heard comment on All Things Considered (NPR) started at Tigris/Euphrates and up to Mount Ararat and migrated to Canaan then traveled to the Nubian Nile up to the pyramids of Giza then through the Sinai peninsula on to Petra and then to
...more
Joan
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I had been waiting a while to start reading this book, after a study trip in 2013 to Israel to study Hebrew and the Bible. My final graduate class was an in-depth study of the Pentateuch, which turned out to be so intense and stressful, it required a more relaxed state of mind to return to the subject.

Thankfully, Feiler’s book turned out to be a fascinating exploration of the five Books of Moses, from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. I was captivated by Feiler’s descriptive
...more
Jim
Nov 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, middle-east

I donned my hiking shoes and backpack and expected a lengthy traipse through the Middle East, but no. Yes, there was plenty of walking, often up a hill here or there, but mostly it was a trip via vehicles (and some camels) to various places highlighted in the Bible. That fact did not diminish the enjoyment of the tale though, as Feiler weaves a nice account that blends travelogue, history, theology, and commentary. Although I have read some travel accounts of trips to Egypt, I was happy to follo
...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Large coffee table book with color photos of different sites in Israel and Jordan where Biblical historical events happened.
Tyler Collins
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bruce Feiler, with his travelling partner and esteemed archaeologist Avner Goren, takes you on a journey where he explores the historical and spiritual significance of the land in the first five books of the Bible. He travels from Turkey, where the Ark may have landed on Mt. Ararat; to Israel, where God first called Abraham; to Egypt, where God brought Joseph and the descendants of Jacob; to the Sinai, where the people wandered after the Exodus; and finally to Jordan, where the Israelites prepar ...more
Kathy
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is so much more than a travel essay as the author describes his adventures following the land through which the Israelites traveled and lived through the five books of Moses. As a Jew, Bruce Feiler begins his journey with interest in the history, the topography and the archaeology of these lands. However, as Mr. Feiler admits on pagew 182, "...I was strenuously--at times acrobatically--avoiding showing interest in the central character of the entire book." It was impossible to leave Go ...more
Jenna Leigh
Jun 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
I deeply disliked this book. I'm not even sure why I finished it - probably because the perfectionist in me would hate to leave it unfinished. It was so filled with prose and epiphanies that it came off as a floaty recounting of a journey of personal enlightenment, rather than a quest for the historicity of the Pentateuch. Maybe that's what he was going for, I don't know. Feiler often made sweeping statements on the authenticity of the five books that he presented as hard facts, but he never pro ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
Oct 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, non-fiction
When Bruce Feiler begins his journey, he has no particular attachment to the Biblical lands. He is not even sure of what he hopes to find. With the help of an Israeli anthropologist, he visit the places mentioned in the Bible, or those that are traditionally believed to be the place where certain events took place and he finds his tie to land and his faith are growing deeper and deeper. The reader can’t help but to be carried along by his vivid descriptions and powerful narrative. I found that t ...more
Sarah
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book several times now. I am pulled in to his story as it changes from being an attempt to write a travelogue to an immensely personal reconnection with his beliefs.
Eden
2020 bk 372. I'm taking a college class on the Hebrew Bible. I wanted something that could let me see and feel the region and the time and ran across this title just as I was beginning the class. Bruce Feiler, his archaeological friend, and the reader are whisked to the middle east, the lands of Moses life and travels in this well written and well researched book. I was pleasantly pleased to find that some of the books in the bibliography are among my coursework texts. It has taken me since Augu ...more
Nathan Albright
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge2017
As someone who is only slightly acquainted with the author's work as a whole, but someone who has traveled to at least some of the lands of the Bible [1], I found the photography of this book far more of interest than the author's text.  This is, perhaps, to be expected.  Fortunately, the photography for this book is excellent, which covers a lot of sins, including the fact that the author has a bit too much of the higher critic about him.  Even so, if you are looking to read this book to get a ...more
William Schram
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
As I have repeated many times in previous reviews I have done, I went to a Parochial School when I was a child. I went for eight years and starting from the second grade, I went to church every morning. I went so often that I could recite the mass from memory. It was part of the reason that I lost my faith in the first place, though I do admit that most of my problems come from things that could be human inventions.

Bruce Feiler has a similar story in that he lost his way. On the other hand, Feil
...more
Matthew
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author is pretty open throughout the book about his purpose. In the beginning of the project, he was emphatically not on a spiritual quest. His goal was to visit the places mentioned in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, interview biblical scholars, and spend time with the current-day residents of these biblical locations. As he reflects later in the book, his initial impulse was to test the facts of each story.

But of course as the project continues, the inevitable happens. The Bible
...more
Jef Sneider
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book recently while traveling in Israel. A great book to read when you are traveling in Israel!
Bruce Feiler takes his assignment seriously as he tries to find the real places where biblical events took place, starting with the garden of Eden and the mountain that Noah finally landed on. He hikes and climbs and suffers bad weather and bad guides, friendly locals and a series of experts to dig up information and then travel to far off places like the pyramids and Sinai in Egypt, mounta
...more
Linda
I was excited to read this book. I love history and archeology, and I know that I will not get the chance to go to the Holy Land anytime soon. However, my interest laid in experiencing this story from the perspective of a believer. Although I knew that the author began the journey as a secular Jew, I thought that this was about his journey of spiritual growth. The author says that his faith grew from his experience, but, from what I could tell, it didn’t. He doesn’t believe that the Torah is any ...more
Trista
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: judaism
This book really focuses on the reality of bible stories - that they are the local stories of indigenous peoples and their invaders. Something I would say as Westerners we tend to lose sight of. Living, working, dying all in the shadow and vicinities of famous biblical locations like Mt. Sinai gives the people there a very intimate relationship to the stories of Moses, Abraham and Noah in a way I'm not sure as Westerners we can appreciate or understand.

A glorious book that incorporates the spir
...more
Myrna
This is a time-consuming book. I find myself reading scriptures along with it, which is a good thing. I suppose it will take me the rest of the year to finish but I am enjoying it now.
Kelli
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
I would label this way more a travel log about being in areas where biblical things happened way more than a journey of faith. The writing is engaging and it does make you want to take the journey to the areas in the Bible, to experience it all. Which, I think, is why the author wrote this book. This seems historial for the author rather than a love for the things of God. I would say read for the history or from the perspective of a traveler.
Alarra
May 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A reading of the first 5 books of the Bible (the Pentateuch, the Torah) by retracing the path of the Israelites and pilgramage to noted 'holy sites'. Feiler sums up his approach towards the end of the book as: "We asked everybody basically the same question: "What does the Bible mean to you?" And everybody had an answer." (p. 408)

And what he ends up with is part travel book, part religious meditation on faith, and part biblical academia. I really enjoyed this, but I think it depends on your fami
...more
Betty
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
reading of the first 5 books of the Bible (the Pentateuch, the Torah) by retracing the path of the Israelites and pilgramage to noted 'holy sites'. Feiler sums up his approach towards the end of the book as: "We asked everybody basically the same question: "What does the Bible mean to you?" And everybody had an answer." (p. 408)

And what he ends up with is part travel book, part religious meditation on faith, and part biblical academia. I really enjoyed this, but I think it depends on your famili
...more
Kathy
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: far-away-places
I wasn't sure how much I would like this book, but I ended up loving it. At first I was afraid it was going to be all about searching for physical proofs to the biblical stories which is not that interesting to me. But the author spends very little of his time on questions about physical proof. Most of the book is spent describing the land and the people Feiler meets and reading the bible passages in their settings. I felt like I understood the text much better after seeing how people live in th ...more
Nancy Bandusky
Jul 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is slow, repetitive and poorly documented (no footnotes, just some source notes at the end.) The author continually states how he feels a connection to the different areas of land he travels to; this becomes so repetitive that it loses any significance and instead provides support for the view that one reason people can't agree on the exact locations of places is because if they could then people would probably worship the place instead of the Creator - God.

The book was a major disappo
...more
Nicole Jacob
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
As I have grown up, I have moved away from the Bible. I still have the religion and beliefs in me; but the Bible became more of like a "story" to me than anything else. I had always believed as a child that these places were imaginary and far from existent. Reading Feiler's book reminded me that it really happened; and I have a new found faith for what happened in the Old Testament. Reading his book wasn't like reading another memoir and it wasn't preachy... instead his book read like a true acc ...more
Alyssa Lamers
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I'll start with the good: I was really interested in this book. I enjoyed the stories of his journey and the relation of the physical places and experiences to the books of the Bible. I was eager to continue reading throughout the story, which made for an overall good reading experience. The book offered me some food for thought about my own beliefs. Here's the bad: the writing is somewhat difficult to wade through. Fieler employs analogy after analogy and metaphor after metaphor, most of who ha ...more
Nina
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent travelogue, and what I loved about it especially is that, though it follows the routes depicted in the Old Testament, it is not about religion. It is about the land, its history, and its people, their relationships with their neighbors, their challenges and achievements. The author provides great anecdotes and illustrates the complicated relations between Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and the bedouins. There is no preaching and no overly emotional, sentimental asides. The book is a ...more
Stefan
May 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Walking the Bible was an inspiring, readable, thought provoking, and interesting book that used an unorthodox method to cover much of the old testament (the five books of Moses.)Feiler's exploration and journey of many of the key ideas, personalities and places of the first five books of the Bible was extremely enlightening on many points because he combined so many different sources and narrative s into his own personal journey. The vast amount and variety of sources Feiler used combined with h ...more
Libbydale
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this about 10 years ago and it's been on my to-buy list ever since. (I don't quickly spend money, period). I picked it up off the New Books shelf at my library, and really loved it. It gives a first hand modern day perspective on the places in the Torah I believe. Feiler is Jewish, but admits that the faith part of his life was never important, but on his "walk" it comes to life a bit. I love that he integrates theownership of all three major faiths to the places he visits and tells the s ...more
Lianne
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Bruce Feiler is a well-established author of creative non-fiction. In this adventure, he tries to visit all the places mentioned in the first five books of the Bible--from Genesis to Numbers. With the help of Avner, an archeologist, he travels from the Nile to the land of milk and honey tracing the routes of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses to sites corresponding to the ones in those Biblical stories. He also interweaves insights of modern social and political reality in Egypt, the Sinai and Jord ...more
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BRUCE FEILER is one of America’s most popular voices on contemporary life. He is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers; the presenter of two prime-time series on PBS; and the inspiration for the drama COUNCIL OF DADS on NBC. Bruce’s two TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times. Employing a firsthand approach to his work, Bruce is known for living the experiences he ...more

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“Joseph predicted the Exodus, which meant that he knew his descendants would be enslaved by the pharaoh and then freed by God, was the most powerful expression of optimism—and faith—I had ever encountered. It was also, at that moment, an overpowering challenge that I sensed I could no longer continue to avoid. Would I place such credence in a generations-old promise I never actually heard? Could I meet this standard of commitment—to anything? Would I have such faith? Here, at the end of Genesis, was a stirring new prototype of dedication.” 0 likes
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