Books critic Adam Kirsch kicks off his new column, “Scripture,” today in Tablet Magazine. Finding storytelling to be the modern birther and vehicle of Jewishness, each month he will examine different 20th-century stories and storytellers and see how they have made Jewishness into this thing that we all have today.

Up for consideration this week are two books about the promise of the land of Israel and, arguably, the gap between that promise and the reality: Leon Uris’ Exodus and S.Y. Agnon’s Only Yesterday.

Pilgrim’s Progress