Talmudic Heroines

Faculty: Gila Fine

Level: Open to All

Description: The female characters of the Talmud often come across as anti-feminine stereotypes, disparaging descriptions of bad women: the shrew, the femme fatale, the prima donna, and the whore. Yet a careful reading of their stories reveals that there’s a lot more to them than initially meets the eye; that the women are far more complex than they first appear; and that the rabbis had rather surprising – so as not to say proto-feminist – views of marriage, childbirth, female power, and sex. In working to unmask the heroines of the Talmud, there’s a great deal we can learn – about how to read the characters of a text and, ultimately, how to treat the characters in our lives.

This course serves as an introduction to Aggada (Talmudic stories) and requires no prior knowledge.