Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery

Maggie Anton (Author)
Available

Description

"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.

Product Details

Price
$18.00
Publisher
Plume Books
Publish Date
July 31, 2012
Pages
452
Dimensions
5.4 X 1.2 X 8.3 inches | 0.95 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9780452298095

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About the Author

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

"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

"[Anton's] 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... 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."--Library Journal (starred review)

"Fascinating reading await those who dive into the vividly depicted world of Babylonian Jewry ... Anton succeeds brilliantly in drawing us into the formative period leading up to the Talmud ... what we have is the work of a master craftswoman set upon repairing a major gap in Jewish literature --Philadelphia Jewish Voice

"Provides a wealth of historical detail about Jewish life in Babylon and Israel in the 3rd century CE. It depicts the daily life and coming of age of a prominent rabbi's daughter rather than propelling its reader through a traditional arc of action with a crisis and resolution. Its interest lies in its portrayal of the sorcery, incantations, and women's customs in this exotic, faraway period of time and place, sometimes against the backdrop of war."--Historical Novel Society

Praise for the Rashi's Daughters trilogy

"Anton delivers a tour de force . . . [Readers] will fly through the pages and come away wishing for more."--Library Journal (starred review)

"A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance."--Lilith magazine