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Apprentice: A Novel of...
 
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Maggie Anton
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Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery (Rav Hisda's Daughter #1)

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  280 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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 e...more
ebook, 480 pages
Published July 1st 2012 by Plume Books
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(showing 1-30 of 911)
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Shomeret
This novel deals with the daughter of a Talmudic figure who lived in Persia. The main character, Hisdadukh, is mentioned in the Talmud. It actually means Hisda's daughter in Persian. Since relatively few names of women have come down to us from ancient Jewish sources, I would have assumed that the redactors of the Talmud had left her name out. Maggie Anton decided that Hisdadukh actually was her given name. I had a problem with this idea. She portrays Rav Hisda as a man who taught his daughter t...more
Maggie Anton
Sep 24, 2012 Maggie Anton rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Hisdadukh, blessed to be both beautiful and learned, is the youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. The series about her unfolds in third-century Babylonia, in the household of her father, one of a handful of beleaguered rabbis struggling to establish new Jewish traditions after the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple.
The world around her is full of conflict. Rome, fast becoming Christian, battles Zoroastrian Persia for dominance while Rav Hisda and his colleagues face defiance by those J...more
Maggie Anton
Sep 24, 2012 Maggie Anton rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Hisdadukh, blessed to be both beautiful and learned, is the youngest child of Talmudic sage Rav Hisda. The series about her unfolds in third-century Babylonia, in the household of her father, one of a handful of beleaguered rabbis struggling to establish new Jewish traditions after the destruction of Jerusalem's Holy Temple.

The world around her is full of conflict. Rome, fast becoming Christian, battles Zoroastrian Persia for dominance while Rav Hisda and his colleagues face defiance by those Je...more
Barbara
I had never heard of Rav Hisda, but had so loved Maggie Anton's "Rashi's Daughters" my expectations were very high. At first I was disappointed.... All seemed too esoteric, too much of the hair-splitting arguments that bore me, but then I did finally get into the story. I know little to nothing, really, about this period of Jewish history during the Babylonian exile, and the story did bring the period to life. I was quite surprised at all the talk of incantations, amulets, demons and spells conn...more
Carmen
I like the exposure to this period in history. Specially the discussions about the law. I could have used less talk of romance and descriptions of the sort. It took way from the overall theme of the book. I would have liked more descriptions as far as the particulars of the time period (clothing, etc.) I found I had to look these things up to get an overall feel for the times. Complexity of theme and writing was fine, but a bit over simplified at certain points. Would recommend if you have time...more
Amy
I enjoyed this book. It was good historical fiction, though a little dense with Talmud. Sometimes I just wanted to get back to the storyline. About 3/4 through I thought I wouldn't read the next one - but she left the ending hanging just enough that I want to find out what happened ...
Batsheva
Based on a person mentioned only as "Rav Hisda's daughter" in the Talmud, Anton constructs an interesting portrait of life in a Rabbinic Jewish family in 3rd century Babylonia/Persia. I love the descriptions of daily life, such as farming or weaving cloth, as well as the status of women and the practice of magic. Many of the discussions in the book are based on Talmudic texts, as are many of characters. The research must have been considerable to create such a realistic and believable setting. R...more
Sandy Edidin
I so enjoy Maggie Anton! Her historical fiction brings the story alive. So interesting about the history of the whole region,
Christian religion trying to gain a foothold, the Jewish background and how it interweaves around each other, daily life
Trying to fit into the time period. You identify with her characters as she gets into their heads, works out the challenges of
moment. Have read all her books. Each one a gem.
Debby
Aug 18, 2014 Debby rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debby by: J Weekly
Rav Hisda's daughter is a fictional story of the daughter of an historical rabbi in Babylonia at the end of the 3rd century AD. Although it sometimes felt like the author had done a lot of research on the period and was trying to tell us everything she knew about the period (which was interesting), for the most part it also read as an entertaining story.
Jennifer
This book reminds me somewhat of the Red Tent. It is based on a jewish woman's perspective in Persia/Israel during the time of Roman occupation and after Jesus' death and the rise of the "Nazarenes". She is of a rabbinic family and thus has learned much of the Torah and rabbinic law from her father, grandfather and brothers. It is a story of love and love lost, life, faith and magic. Throughout the book she practices to become a Charesheta (sorcerer/enchantress). A Charesheta in this book is a w...more
Pamela
I really liked the book. It was very much like the style of her previous books. I enjoy reading about the time period, and how the characters interacted. It seems as if she devotes a lot of time into studying the period, and making the characters appear realistic.
Vicki
Not being familiar with many of the Jewish terms in the book, I appreciated the glossary. It was a very good read and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the trilogy.
Margaret Klein
Maggie Anton writes wonderful works of fiction. Her first series, Rashi's Daughters, has an impact on all Jewish women today. In this newer series, we watch the main character grow up the daughter of a famous rabbi in 3rd century Babylon. She is allowed to listen into her father's text classes and learns mishnah with her grandfather. She is asked an important question by her father about matrimony, which of two scholars would she choose to answer. Her answer might surprise you! It surprised her!...more
Diann
It was such an adventure to read historical fiction placed in the Jewish community in 3rd century AD Babylon. I'd never thought about what happened to the Jews who decided not to return to Israel, so it felt as though a whole new world was opening. The author presents Rabbinical Judaism with such interest and respect that I could feel its appeal for believers at the same time feeling gratitude for my own religious beliefs and practices. It gave me more context and understanding for the New Testa...more
Sharyn
This new series takes us farther back in history to the Babalonian exhile of the Jews and the beginning of the Rabbinic era. Anton's reasearch is so amazing! It is fscinating to see how the Persians and the Jews lived. The descriptions of the journeys back and forth between Babylonia and Palestina are particularly fascinating. The background is the wars between Rome and Persia, the beginning of Christanity, explantions of Zororastrianism, but most of all the Talmud. Took a little time to get int...more
Megan Pokorny
While I enjoyed Rashi's Daughters, I felt like the plots revolved too much around sex and I was pleased that Rav Hisda's daughter improved on this. While medieval fiction is fairly common, I can't even name another book that takes place in ancient Babylon under the Persian empire. Maggie Anton does an excellent job of transporting her readers to this exotic setting.

I thought the author had dug herself a hole regarding Abba bar Joseph, but she redeems him in an amazing mystical scene.

This is a...more
Betty
I loved this book! It is set in ancient Babylonia, one of my favorite places to read about. Hisdadukh is the daughter of a Talmudic Sage. Two of her father's students are trying to win her hand. When her father asks her kiddingly which she wants to marry, she replies "Both." Lots of history in this book -- Babylonia, Sepphoris, Tiberius. Hisdadukh learns how to write incantations for bowls and amulets. Lots of ancient superstitions in the book. Very, very interesting.
Joan
Another excellent story. This time the setting is ~300 CE in what is now modern Iraq. It is told by Hisdadukh the daughter of a leading rabbi and the sister of 5 others. The time period is her childhood with reflections back to her parents' stories to provide context, until her adulthood. The story is largely historical fiction with extra details that 'teach' along the way. I'm looking forward to Book II.
Mike
Intriguing, researched and a flowing historical novel. As other Maggie Anton books, it is an excellent read grounded in Talmudic tracts. The book takes place in the third century on the shores of Babylon and Palestina subjects of Persia and Rome. Central character is an independent woman of will, means, intelligence, business acumen, and no less adventurous. It is a compelling story. I couldn't put it down.
Sylvia Abrams
Maggie Anton has again tried to feature a little known woman from the Jewish past and has only partially succeeded. I found this novel too didactic, the same issue I had with her previous books. Anton tries to do too much. Hisdakikh comes off as wooden and rigid, while the other characters need more development. The author flood us with Mishna in the same awkward manner she used for texts in her earlier books.
Pascale
From the get go this had me completely enthralled. The writing was terrific and as far as I can tell the research Mrs. Anton must have performed was quite an awesome feat. I am not Jewish myself but have enjoyed several titles with heroines belonging to the belief and have always been captivated by these strong, intelligent and most holy woman. Looking forward to the next book!
Birte
Enjoyable. I love how Maggie Anton is able to create a fascinating story around women. As a woman I like looking at history through the eyes of women. It is all too clear how our world was and is male influenced. Hisdadukh is portrayed like this. I wonder if young women were as independent as she is being portrayed, or if this is the influence of our times and way of thinking?
Lee Anne
Oct 24, 2012 Lee Anne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Lee Anne by: saw it at Costco
Shelves: fiction
Did not care for this one. More than I cared to know about endless discussions of rabbinic minutiae, women's menses, & demons! Some of the content was a bit interesting regarding customs of Persia & Judaism in the 300's (?). Can't recommend as an engaging book; more of an endurance contest if one cares to finish it; I finished, but never really connected.
Lisa
This is a dense book, filled with an excessive amount of midrash and scholarly arguments. Many times throughout, I felt like it was a written lecture on this time period. Anton does a good job of illustrating life then. My book club had a great discussion (after we re-learned our definitions of midrash vs talmud) about women in oppressive societies like this one.
Susan
Maggie transports me to a time about which I know so little. All my senses are alive when I read her novels. Her heroines are strong, admirable women who manage to live outside the boundaries of their time while retaining their Jewish hearts and souls. She is a magnificent writer whom I admire greatly. Another superb read by Maggie Anton!!!
Sara
I was transported to a different time and place through Hisdaduhk's story, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The writing was a tiny bit dry, but because of the attention to detail by the author, I was able to visualize everything from the villa, to the food, to the mosaics, and even the clothes. I finished Book I wanting to read the second.
Nina Snyder
Fascinating look into the lives of Babylonian Jews after the fall of Jerusalem. A lot of Talmudic arguments are woven into the story, which centers on the youngest daughter of a prominent Rabbi. The only thing I disliked about the book is that it ends in the middle of the story, but it looks like the author is planning a second book.
Dragonlady-sci-fi-fantasy
As usual, a wonderful read with well-developed characters. Another beautifully rendered slice of history.
Mariah Ornstein
This was a really good historical fiction read. Maybe a little to much history and a few to many names to start the book off with, my head was spinning with fact overload. But after the path was laid, I found the story interesting and enjoyable.
Sarah
Unfortunately, this is the first time I am giving a poor review here on Goodreads. I had high expectations for this novel because I am so interested in history. However, this book was extremely dry, and I had a hard time keeping straight all the different character names. It made for a tiresome read.
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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. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual...more
More about Maggie Anton...
Rashi's Daughters: Joheved Rashi's Daughters, Book II: Miriam: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France Rashi's Daughters, Book III: Rachel: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France Rashi's Daughter, Secret Scholar Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter

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“Rav Hisda nodded. “Despite the dangers, people continue to travel, often for long distances. This is what you would inscribe on an amulet for your brother to protect him on a journey.

“May it be Your will, Adonai Savaot, that You conduct Tachlifa bar Haviva in peace, direct his footsteps in peace, and uphold him in peace. Deliver him from the hand of every foe and ambush along the way. Send blessing on his handiwork and grant him grace, loving-kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who behold Tachlifa bar Haviva. Blessed are You, Adonai, who harkens unto prayer. Amen. Amen. Selah.”
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