The next volume of Maggie Anton's trilogy, Rashi's Daughters
, is supposed to appear soon. Meanwhile, an annotated version of part of it is available here
. I've heard that the first book is fun reading, but it isn't available through the NYPL
system yet. I did read her article in Judaism
, but found it shallow. Looking through the annotated version mentioned above, it is clear that Anton is well read. But most of her Jewish sources are painfully old - Israel Abrahams
, Irving Agus
(scroll down for the comment about his taste in cars) and Joshua Trachtenberg
. The primary source she seems to use the most, Israel Elfenbein's Teshuvot Rashi
, is also notoriously problematic. Just to give you an example that I happen to be looking at this morning - number 52 (p. 46). In the sources he cites, the responsum is ascribed to R. Yitzhak ben Yehudah, Rashi's teacher. In Sefer ha-Niyar (an interesting book in its own right - the title reflects its appearance at the time when France was moving from parchment to paper, a transition which was apparently very speedy and decisive), it is attributed to Rav Sar Shalom Gaon. But nowhere is Rashi named as the respondent.
In any case, it is nice that Rashi is arousing popular interest
. By the way, apropo Anton's speech at JTS, for which she produced the annotated chapters - I just noticed, and have not yet listened to, a recording
of Beth Berkowitz
speaking there about her book on capital punishment
. Her claim, that Hazal's approach to capital punishment was not as humane as it is sometimes made out to be (and as I am still inclined to think), sounds interesting.