Oxford loses scholar

Philip Alexander, president of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, rocked in recent months by a row over Yiddish studies, has resigned to return to Manchester University.

Professor Alexander, who moved to Oxford from Manchester two years ago, denies that the row, which has led to the suspension of leading Yiddish scholar Dovid Katz and continuing litigation, is the decisive factor in his departure. He also rejects suggestions that he has fallen out with governors.

He said: "The Yiddish matter certainly has not helped, it has been extremely time-consuming and stressful. But it is not the fundamental reason for my decision."

Professor Alexander said he had hoped to continue his own research in Oxford, but found that the weight of administration made this impossible. "I was increasingly concerned that my research was suffering. Oxford has some wonderful libraries, but that is not much use if you have no time to use them."

He said Manchester had offered him "a very attractive package offering ample time for research". His appointment follows that of David Cesarani to Manchester's new chair of Judaism in Modern Times.

He leaves the Oxford post at the end of the current academic year. Professor Alexander, the only paid governor of the OCHJS received Pounds 47,998 in 1993/94. In 1992/93 he and previous director David Patterson shared Pounds 113,157 -- one receiving Pounds 74,664.

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