Menachem Mansoor

picture of Menachem Mansoor  

Menachem Mansoor was born in Port Said, Egypt, in 1911. He was sent as a teenager to British Mandate Palestine, to learn Hebrew at the Herzliya High School in Tel Aviv. He continued his studies at Trinity College in Dublin and at the University of London where he earned a PhD in Biblical Studies and Semitic Languages in 1944. During World War II, Mansoor served in British Ministry of Information on the Middle East, and later as Education Officer in Jerusalem.

Mansoor served as Chief Interpretator for the British Embassy in Tel Aviv after the establishment of the State of Israel and liased between the embassy and the Israeli government. He married Claire D. Kramer in 1951.

In 1954, Menachem Mansoor was awarded a Fullbright Fellowship to pursue research into ancient Hebrew manuscripts at John Hopkins University. He also taught at Baltimore Hebrew College. For 22 years from 1955, Mansoor served as the chair of the UW-Madison Department of Hebrew and Semetic Studies. He developed the deparment into one of the country's leading Hebrew studies centers. Throughout his tenure, Mansoor created the US' first correspondence courses in Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic and Jewish Cultural History for UW-extension.

Mansoor was involved in making important contributions to Dead Sea Scroll research, being one of the first scholars associated with them. He published the first translation of the Thanksgiving Hymns found therein, and in 1964 published one of the earliest books on the subject.

Menachem Mansoor initiated and led 26 University of Wisconsin Study Travel Seminars in the Lands of the Bible. These seminars took participants to Israel, Egypt and Greece. In 1967, Mansoor established the Madison Biblical Archaelogical Society, with a group of past participants. He also created two major Biblical Archaelogical exhibits on university campus The success of these exhibits inspired a third.

Edgewood College in Madison as well as Hebrew Union College Cincinnati both awarded Mansoor honorary doctorates. He also received the Friedman Prize from the Association of Hebrew Language and Culture in America for his contribution to Hebrew culture. He served as President of the Midwest Branch of the American Oriental Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. He was Vice President of Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Literatures.

Menachem Mansoor passed away in October 2001.