David Patterson, pioneer of Hebrew studies at Oxford, dies

london (jps) | Professor David Patterson, who established the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies in 1972 and subsequently served as its president and honorary founding president, died in Oxford on Dec. 10. He was 83.

Born in Liverpool in 1922, Patterson would often recall his first attachment to the Zionist youth movement as the turning point that gave purpose to his life.

On his release from national service in the United Kingdom during World War II, he chose to study Semitic languages at the University of Manchester. He made aliyah in 1951, and a short stint at Kfar Hanassi was followed by a couple of teaching posts.

He was invited in 1953 by his former professor at Manchester to return and take up a university teaching post in Hebrew studies. Three years later, Patterson found himself in Oxford. After World War II, Patterson envisaged the creation of a center at Oxford for their revival and reconstruction.

By 1972, he had mobilized university support, as well as a distinguished group of governors and financial sponsors, and the Oxford Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, later to become the Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.