I had the weirdest dream last night. ( I know those of you who read this blog are not used to reading the personal fluffy stuff- but I promise it’s related.) So I had uncovered the truth, that in ancient Hebrew society powerful women, queen like, goddess like women, were in charge. These women, in their collaborative spirit were the first to come up with the idea of the Talmud a way to pool brain power. Different women would remember different pieces of information different Mishnayot. Each woman was like an individual server and together they could recreate all the learning that was being forgotten.
This is clearly a mixture of a couple things I’m reading right now. Tikvah Frymer Kensky’s book on Goddesses traces the decline of the Goddess in Ancient Summerian and Assyrian lore. Male Gods slowly took over the roles women had played, just as in my dream the Rabbis were actually replacing an early group of women. Also on my desk is Albeck’s Overview on the Mishnah, which discusses the theories of how it was organized and finalized by Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi. This fused with Halivni who describes certain student’s whose responsibility it was to remember the official version of Mishnayot and Braiytot, so he like a computer could repeat it back to those who needed it. And servers….well my computer is my closest companion theses days.