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Mazar (Maisler), Benjamin

MAZAR (Maisler), BENJAMIN (1906–1995), Israeli archaeologist and historian. Born in Ciechanowiec in Poland, he studied at the universities of Berlin and Giessen. In 1929 he settled in Palestine, becoming the secretary of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society (1929–43). Mazar joined the staff of the Hebrew University in 1943 and in 1951 he was appointed professor of the history of the Jewish people in the biblical period and the archaeology of Palestine. He was appointed rector of the university in 1952 and president in 1953, holding both positions until 1961. In 1959 he became president of the Israel Exploration Society. He was also chairman of the Archaeological Board of Israel and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In 1968 he received the Israel Prize for Jewish Studies. Mazar directed archaeological excavations at *Ramat Raḥel (1931), *Bet She'arim (1936–40), Tell Qasile (1949ff.), and *En-Gedi (1957–66). He conducted the historic excavation along the outside of the southern and western sections of the Temple enclosure in Jerusalem and the Tyropoeon Valley (1967ff.). Besides over 300 articles, including excavation reports, Mazar has published Untersuchungen zur alten Geschichte und Ethnographie Syriens und Palästinas (1930); Toledot ha-Meḥkar ha-Arkheologi be-Ereẓ Yisrael ("History of Palestine Exploration," 1935); Toledot Ereẓ Yisrael ("History of Palestine" part I, 1937); Israel in Biblical Times – a Historical Atlas (1941); and the first volume of Beth Shearim (1944, 19572). He headed the editorial board of the biblical encyclopedia Enẓiklopedyah Mikra'it (1950–89). An important collection of Mazar's articles was assembled in S. Ahituv and B. Levine (eds.), The Early Biblical Period: Historical Studies (1986). Over a period of two generations Mazar trained most of the Israeli archaeologists and Bible scholars.


H. Beinart, in: Eretz Israel, 5 (1958), 1–8. ADD.BIBLIOGRAPHY:W. Dever, in: DBI, 2:141.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.