Date: 5th Century B.C.E. (Final composition)
Genesis is indeed a book about be
ginnings-the beginning of the natural world, the beginning of human culture, and the
beginning of the people Israel, whose story occupies most of this book and will dominate
the rest of the Torah. In the ancient Near Eastern world in which Israel emerged, begin
nings were deemed to be crucial, for the origins of things were thought to disclose their
character and purpose.