Reading Genesis

Buy now!

Deuteronomy 32:47 says the Pentateuch should not be ‘an empty matter.’ This new anthology from Beth Kissileff fills Genesis with meaning, gathering intellectuals and thinkers who use their professional knowledge to illuminate the Biblical text. These writers use insights from psychology, law, political science, literature, and other scholarly fields, to create an original constellation of modern Biblical readings, and receptions of Genesis: A scientist of appetite on Eve’s eating behavior; law professors on contracts in Genesis, and on collective punishment; an anthropologist on the nature of human strife in the Cain and Abel story; political scientists on the nature of Biblical games, Abraham’s resistance, and collective action.

The highly distinguished contributors include Alan Dershowitz and Ruth Westheimer, the novelists Rebecca Newberger Goldstein and Dara Horn, critics Ilan Stavans and Sander Gilman, historian Russell Jacoby, poets Alicia Suskin Ostriker and Jacqueline Osherow, and food writer Joan Nathan.


“A marvelous collection of insights, provocations and apercus on the founding book of the human family.”

—Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, LA, USA

“If you think you already understand the Book of Genesis, think again. Reading Genesis offers wondrous new approaches to this ancient text penned by some of the world’s most interesting minds. Sure to be a classic.”

—Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University, USA

“This is a stimulating collection of essays on the Bible, bringing diverse fields of expertise to bear on the text. The results are often intriguing and eloquent, yielding fresh insights.”

—Avivah Zornberg

Press Coverage and Reviews



Upcoming Events

  • Check back for updates!

Past Events

  • Book Launch at the Jewish Community Center, Pittsburgh, PA (February 11, 2016)
  • Current events group at Pittsburgh JCC (February 18, 2016)
  • Sisterhood, New Light Congregation, Pittsburgh, PA (February 21, 2016)
  • University of Pennsylvania Alumni club, Pittsburgh, PA (March 2, 2016)
  • Two presentations at the Siegel Center for Lifelong Jewish Learning, Case Western Reserve University, Beachwood, OH (March 14, 2016)
  • Congregation Shaarei Tzedek in Southfield, MI, (August 4, 2016)
  • Columbia University Seminar for teachers of Literature Humanities, session on Genesis (September 26, 2016)
  • Skirball Center at Temple Emanu El, NY, NY (September 27, 2016)
  • Beth Shalom Sisterhood, Teaneck, NJ (October 31, 2016)
  • Jewish Theological Seminary Library, NY, NY (November 2, 2016)
  • Beth David Synagogue, Toronto (TBA)
  • Midtown Manhattan New York Public Library panel with other authors (December 28, 2016)