UPDATED 5/9/19: removing outdated links; hope to add newer ones in their place sometime soon
Some basic info about specific women whose learning is acknowledged in the Talmud (vs., e.g. texts about women or women’s learning or, more generally, the status of women).
Below are some print resources and a few more links, but here are some basics regarding some of the most prominent women of learning in the Talmud:
Period of the Tannaim, Palestine, around 70-200 CE
[Aramaic, like the Hebrew “shana,” to repeat, as in “Mishnah”]
Imma (or Ima) Shalom
Wife of Eliezer ben Hyrcanus.
Imma Shalom, unlike Beruriah (below), is never cited as a legal authority in her own right. She does appear, however, in a number of stories involving halachic (legal) rulings. In one — the aftermath of the “snake oven” (Akhnai) story — she cites a teaching from her grandfather’s house concerning prayer and the “gate of wounded feelings.” She is considered by some scholars to be a “literary construct” and was adopted by feminists of the late 20th Century CE as proof that women could — and did — learn and play important roles in ancient Jewish culture.
—–An older on-line source and a recent midrash:
Like Imma Shalom, Beruriah is sometimes believed to be a “literary construct,” rather than a historical or semi-historical character. Several Talmudic passages in which she appears to best a male colleague made her a heroine of mid-20th Century CE feminism; this served to diminish, in some ways, her teachings themselves, according to Dalia Hoshen, author of Beruria the Tannait University Press of America). Hoshen argues that rather than being either heretical (like Aher, see below) or subversive as a woman (as in the “construct” view), Beruriah is solidly of the Tanna mold.
—–On-line references spanning a century —
(1901-1906, note that Henrietta Szold is a co-author of this article)
Daughter of Acher
When Rabbi learns the identity of Acher’s daughter he refuses her request, but she presents an argument based on the merit of Torah learning: “Remember his Torah and do not remember his deeds.” Fire then comes down, nearly burning Rabbi (a student, by the way, of Meir and Meir’s teacher, Elisha ben Abuya), and Rabbi realizes his mistake.
Period of the Amora, roughly 200 – 500 CE
[Aramaic, “those who say”]
Rachel Adler discusses a story about Yalta, Nachman and a traveling rabbi named ‘Ulla in her book Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics, parts of which can be read on-line through GoogleBooks. (Type in “Engendering Judaism,” and search for Yalta.)
Materials on Talmud in general and women in Talmud, from the November 2008 Kol Isha session at Temple Micah are Women and Talmud