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- Magdalen College School, Oxford
- St. Catharine's College, Cambridge. Jarrett Scholar, 1932; John Stewart of Rannoch Scholar in Hebrew, 1933; 1st Class Oriental Langs Tripos, 1935; Tyrwhitt Scholar and Mason Prizeman, 1936. BA (Cambridge), 1935, MA 1938; DPhil (Oxford) 1939.
- Colours, Cambridge University Boxing Club, 1935, 1936.
- Mansel Research Exhibitioner, St. John's College, Oxford, 1936–39; James Mew Scholar, 1937.
- Deputy Assistant Director, Public Security, Sudan Government, 1939–41
- Served in World War II, GHQ, MEF, 1942–44, Captain; Education Officer, British Military Administration, Tripolitania, 1945-46. He was awarded a Military Cross in 1942.
- School of Oriental and African Studies from 1946; Head of Department of Near and Middle East, 1961–68; Professor 1961-79, then Emeritus Professor; Honorary Fellow 1983.
- Visiting Lecturer, Ain Shams University, Cairo, 1979
- Research Fellow, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1980
- Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship, South India, 1981
Involvement in Jewish community
- Principal, Leo Baeck College, 1982–85; President, 1985-2003
- Member, Council of Christians and Jews
- President: North Western Reform Synagogue
- President: British Association for Jewish Studies, 1980
- Vice-President, Reform Synagogues of Great Britain, 1985–91
- Fellow of the British Academy, 1968
- Freedom, City of Urfa, Turkey, 1973
- The Diacritical Point and the Accents in Syriac, 1953
- The Hebrew Passover, 1963
- The Sabian Mysteries. The planet cult of ancient Harran, Vanished Civilizations, 1963
- Edessa, 'the blessed city', 1970
- Aramaic Texts From North Saqqara, 1983
- A History of the Jews of Cochin, 1993
- Aramaic and Mandaic Incantation Bowls in the British Museum, 2000
- Whisper Awhile, 2000
- Articles in learned periodicals.
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