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In the Beginnings
In the Beginnings

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Discovering the Two Worldviews Hidden Within Genesis 1-11
Author: David Harbater
Publisher: Gefen Publishing House

Price: $29.95 
Special Price: $26.10
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN 10: 9657801206
ISBN 13: 9789657801208
Catalog Number: 7801-20
Number of Pages: 280
Year Published: 2024

Just when it seemed that nothing substantially new can be said or written about the first part of Genesis, In the Beginnings presents it in a dramatic new light. Through a close and careful reading of the first eleven chapters of Genesis, this book shows convincingly that hidden beneath the surface of the text, there is not one beginning, but rather two beginnings. Two accounts of creation are followed by two parallel narratives that reflect two distinct and at times competing worldviews regarding the nature of God, of human beings, of our role in the world, of the relationship between the man and the woman, and much more.

Whether one accepts the traditional or the critical view of the Torah’s origins, In the Beginnings is a vivid and powerful testimony to the Torah’s depth, richness, and multivocality, with profound implications for the ways it is to be understood and lived in our day.


David Harbater has written an astounding book; in many ways, it is one of a kind.… He dissolves the binary absolute clash between the religious Jewish Bible reader and the non-religious reader. I urge all readers to suspend their standard assumptions and convictions, to ignore standing party lines, and open up to learn Genesis 1–11 with a master teacher, one who is an inspired reader with a thousand theological insights. You will be rewarded with new insight after new insight that will inspire and dazzle and drive you to read the Torah with fresh eyes.
Yitz Greenberg
Leading American theologian and rabbi; author of The Jewish Way, For the Sake of Heaven and Earth, and Th e Triumph of Life (Jewish Publication Society, 2024)

You may have studied the first chapters of Genesis many times before, but once you have read David Harbater’s groundbreaking and captivating book In the Beginnings, it will seem as though you are studying them for the very first time.
Micah Goodman
Best-selling author of Catch-67 and The Wondering Jew

Whether you come to this book from a traditional view of the Bible’s origins or a more critical one, you will emerge enriched by Harbater’s central argument of a multifaceted text and often delighted by his abundant insight into the text’s nuances and its complex messages. Ultimately, In the Beginnings is a work of faith – in the depth and sophistication of the biblical word and in the Torah’s timeless relevance.
Judy Klitsner
International lecturer, author of the National Jewish Book Award–winning Subversive Sequels in the Bible

With surgical precision, Harbater splits the integrated story into its two component parts, which are now vividly presented to us as they stand juxtaposed with one another. Th is intriguing disentanglement of the text will enrich the spiritual world of the readers and their appreciation that “these and those are the words of the living God.”
Avigdor Shinan
Professor emeritus of Hebrew literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; author of over twenty books on the Bible and ancient Judaism

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