Despite predictions of its demise, the book of Genesis is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. From political and religious debates to consumer culture, Genesis is all around us. One has only to glance at the headlines to find controversies that take their heat and light from Genesis. The question of whether the contents of Genesis I should be taught in science classes— under the names “creationism” or “intelligent design”— preoccupies school boards and political candidates. Proponents and opponents of gay marriage and gay clergy appeal to the testimony of Genesis. The “new atheist” writers criticize the irrationality of Genesis, much as the old atheists, like Thomas Paine, did more than two centuries ago. Evangelical scholars argue whether Adam and Eve were historical figures.
In our popular and commercial culture, references to Genesis pop up regularly. “Jacobs Ladder” is an upscale exercise machine, priced around$3,000. “Am I My Brother s Keeper” is the name of an album by the hip-hop group Kane and Abel. The Methuselah Foun