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Rav Hisda's Daughter, Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery

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Overview

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 ...

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Rav Hisda's Daughter, Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery

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Overview

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.

Praise for the Rashi’s Daughters trilogy:

“Anton delivers a tour de force.” —Library Journal

“A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance.” —Lilith magazine

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452298095
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 212,432
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Maggie Anton

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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Recommened

    Anton's novels are always well researched. The characters arewell drawn.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    Excellent Book. Very enjoyable and thought provoking

    I enjoyed this book very much, and am looking forward to the next installment. I hope the next installment maintains the current balance of Talmud-history-romance. The second book of the previous series lost that balance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    excellent-could not stop reading

    Intriqued by the mix between fiction & documented facts from the history........ Want to read more from this author

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2012

    A great read!

    I have always looked forward to Maggie Anton's books. She is able to blend fact and weave her story around and you don't feel like you're reading something "dry and boring." She brings it all to life and I don't want her book to end!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Could not put it down!

    You can tell when an author has a passion for what they are writing and Maggie Anton has a strong passion for Judism, Torah and a history of the Jewis people from Persia to Israel. Just as good and even bettter than Rashi's Daughter.

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  • Posted August 30, 2012

    Rav Hisda¿s Daughter, by Maggie Anton, is groundbreaking just a


    Rav Hisda’s Daughter, by Maggie Anton, is groundbreaking just as Johebed was in the trilogy of Rashi’s Daughters. Her grasp of social history of the 3rd and 4th century Babylonian is extraordinary. Social history is difficult to find, much less that of medieval and pre-medieval ages. For that reason alone, this book is an eye-opener for a historian as well as a layperson.

    Her knowledge of the subject matter, the Babylonian Talmud is also extraordinary in that she presents arcane ideas in an
    understandable format.

    If Joheved was a masterpiece, Rav Hisda’s Daughter is a tour de force.

    Arthur L. Finkle

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    Posted August 2, 2014

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    Posted August 16, 2012

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    Posted July 31, 2013

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