Ms. Anton, the novelist who wrote the “Rashi’s Daughters” trilogy and the more recent “Rav Hisda’s Daughter” (and who has a wide-ranging intellect — she also is a clinical chemist and worked in that field for three decades), has been entranced by the Talmud since she first encountered it 25 years ago. She’s studied it seriously ever since — in fact, and non-coincidentally, one of her teachers, first in class settings and then in chavruta, was Rabbi Aaron Katz, at whose shul she will be speaking next week — and used much of what she’s learned in her books.There follows an extended quotation from Ms. Anton about the writing of the book, about its content, and about the origin of its cover. A brief excerpt:
“At first, it was so surprising to me, how progressive the rabbis were,” Ms. Anton said. “We are talking about guys who lived more than 1,500 years ago, more or less.” (The Mishna, the Talmud’s inner section, was compiled about 200 CE, and the Gemara, which surrounds, explicates, and dances its ideas into wild intellectual and fanciful flourishes, was compiled around 500 CE.)Background here and links.
“So I thought that I really could write ‘Fifty Shades of Talmud,’” she said.
And the ideas came flying at her.