Get Access to Print and Digital for $23.99 per year..
Subscribe for Full Access
Creation in Genesis

A woodblock illumination of the fourth day of creation, by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, from the Nuremberg Chronicle, fifteenth century

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

There was a day when a human hand first wrote those words. This sentence is a masterpiece of compression. It approximates as closely as words allow the instantaneous realization of an intent, the bringing into being of the diversity of things that make up the world of fundamental human experience. It describes an act and characterizes the Actor.

The Babylonian epic the Enuma Elish begins with…

Subscribe or to continue reading.

’s most recent article for Harper’s Magazine, “One Manner of Law,”
appeared in the August 2022 issue. Her book Reading Genesis, from which this excerpt is taken,
will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March.

More from

| View All Issues |

October 2017

“An unexpectedly excellent magazine that stands out amid a homogenized media landscape.” —the New York Times
Subscribe now