Cover image for Rav Hisda's daughter. book I, Apprentice : a novel of love, the Talmud, and sorcery
Title:
Rav Hisda's daughter. book I, Apprentice : a novel of love, the Talmud, and sorcery
Author:
Anton, Maggie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Plume, 2012.
Physical Description:
xxvi, 452 pages : illustrations, map ; 22 cm
Summary:
"Hisdadukh, blessed to be beautiful and learned, is the youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. The world around her is full of conflict. Rome, fast becoming Christian, battles Zoroastrian Persia for dominance while Rav Hisda and his colleagues struggle to establish new Jewish traditions after the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple. Against this backdrop Hisdadukh embarks on the tortuous path to become an enchantress in the very land where the word 'magic' originated. But the conflict affecting Hisdadukh most intimately arises when her father brings his two best students before her, a mere child, and asks her which one she will marry. Astonishingly, the girl replies, "Both of them." Soon she marries the older student, although it becomes clear that the younger one has not lost interest in her. When her new-found happiness is derailed by a series of tragedies, a grieving Hisdadukh must decide if she does, indeed, wish to become a sorceress."--P. [4] of cover.
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780452298095
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

"A lushly detailed look into a fascinatingly unknown time and culture--a tale of Talmud, sorcery, and a most engaging heroine!"-- Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series

Hisdadukh, blessed to be beautiful and learned, is the youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. The world around her is full of conflict. Rome, fast becoming Christian, battles Zoroastrian Persia for dominance while Rav Hisda and his colleagues struggle to establish new Jewish traditions after the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple. Against this backdrop Hisdadukh embarks on the tortuous path to become an enchantress in the very land where the word 'magic' originated.

But the conflict affecting Hisdadukh most intimately arises when her father brings his two best students before her, a mere child, and asks her which one she will marry. Astonishingly, the girl replies, "Both of them." Soon she marries the older student, although it becomes clear that the younger one has not lost interest in her. When her new-found happiness is derailed by a series of tragedies, a grieving Hisdadukh must decide if she does, indeed, wish to become a sorceress. Based on actual Talmud texts and populated with its rabbis and their families, Rav Hisda's Daughter: Book I - Apprentice brings the world of the Talmud to life--from a woman's perspective.


Author Notes

Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. In the early 1990's, Anton began studying Talmud in a class for women taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Legend has it that Rashi's daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a book about them was born.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Anton, the author of the acclaimed "Rashi's Daughters" trilogy, has penned her best book to date. Using her extensive knowledge of the Talmud and other historical Jewish writings, she immersed herself in the tractates to uncover a marvelous heroine for this historical novel. Hisdadukh, daughter of the rabbi Hisda, was born in the third century CE in Babylonia, where many Jews fled to escape persecution after the Romans conquered Israel and destroyed the temple. Growing up absorbing her father's teachings intended for his male rabbinical students, Hisdadukh developed a great love of the Talmud and the Mishna, Jewish oral law. This first book of two begins when Hisdadukh- is eight and follows her from her marriage to her first love, Rami, when she's 14 through the death of her young husband and the loss of her children, to her transformation into an independent woman. In a time when women were prized for their beauty and their ability to bear children, Hisdadukh was an anomaly, a woman who loved learning and spirited debate. Complex discussions of Jewish law and tradition as well as detailed description of the culture and customs of the times enhance truly wonderful storytelling. VERDICT This absorbing novel should be on everyone's historical fiction reading list.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.