Jewish Studies

Tal Ilan

Massekhet Ta'anit

Volume II/9: Text, Translation, and Commentary

[Eine feministische Auslegung des babylonischen Talmud. Einleitung und Studien.]

2008. X, 340 pages.
114,00 €
including VAT
ISBN 978-3-16-149524-3
Published in English.
The purpose of this feminist commentary on Seder Moed is to outline gender differences as they are reflected in the mishnaic and talmudic texts. In this introductory volume, various world-renown scholars discuss women's participation in Jewish festivals on a general and theoretic level.
Tal Ilan discusses tractate Ta'anit of the Babylonian Talmud, which deals with ritual fasting, usually in the case of rain failure. In this commentary, the author presents and discusses texts from the tractate which are relevant to women and gender. These include legal proclamations on the participation of women in public fasts, stories on pious men, whose proper conduct toward women make them ideal intermediaries for bringing rain and discussions of gendered rabbinic terms such as Bat Qol, usually translated as 'heavenly voice' but which literally translated means 'a daughter's voice'. The overall impression of this tractate is that it emphasizes the way the relationship between rainfall and the dry ground was imagined by the rabbis in a gendered metaphor of sexual relations in which rain is male and the land is female. This theme repeats itself in the tractate throughout.

Tal Ilan Born 1956; 1991 PhD on Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Palestine at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem; 2003–22 Professor for Jewish Studies at the Freie Universität, Berlin; 2022 retired; since 2008 she is the editor of the Feminist Commentary on the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud (FCBT).


The following reviews are known:

In: Journal of Ancient Judaism — 1 (2010), S. 117–118
In: New Testament Abstracts — 53 (2009), S. 208
In: Revue des Etudes Juives — 169 (2010), S. 231–234 (José Costa)
In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 136 (2011), S. 218–234 (Catherine Hezser)