Transcriptional reprogramming forms a major part of a plant’s response to pathogen infection. Many individual components and pathways operating during plant defense have been identified, but our knowledge of how these different components interact is still rudimentary. We generated a high-resolution time series of gene expression profiles from a single Arabidopsis thaliana leaf during infection by the necrotrophic fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Approximately one-third of the Arabidopsis genome is differentially expressed during the first 48 h after infection, with the majority of changes in gene expression occurring before significant lesion development. We used computational tools to obtain a detailed chronology of the defense response against B. cinerea, highlighting the times at which signaling and metabolic processes change, and identify transcription factor families operating at different times after infection. Motif enrichment and network inference predicted regulatory interactions, and testing of one such prediction identified a role for TGA3 in defense against necrotrophic pathogens. These data provide an unprecedented level of detail about transcriptional changes during a defense response and are suited to systems biology analyses to generate predictive models of the gene regulatory networks mediating the Arabidopsis response to B. cinerea.