Elias Saba, 2013–2014 CAORC Pre-Doctoral Fellow
Elias Saba is an ACOR-CAORC Pre-Doctorate Fellow pursuing his research in Jordan between January and May of 2014. He is currently researching the development in Islamic legal-theoretical thinking during the 12th-15th centuries, specifically looking at the genres of lexical and legal distinctions. Lexical distinctions refer to the lexical differences between synonyms and often relate to theological views of the Arabic language as ‘perfect.’ Legal distinctions refer to the literature exploring how apparently contradictory laws are actually harmonious based on the situations in which they are applied. By studying the manuscripts of these texts, he plans to study if they were originally used as handbooks for judges or simply works displaying legal erudition and to show how jurists of that time period were able to foster change and dynamism in the law while still maintaining the outward appearance of continuity.
Elias is a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He received an M.A. from that department in May 2013 after receiving a B.A. in the same field at Cornell University. He has extensive training in Arabic, Modern Standard, Classical, and colloquial; his studies of the language have brought him to Yemen, Syria, and Jordan, as well as many programs in America. Elias first discovered ACOR while visiting friends in Amman, and became aware of the fellowships offered after speaking with Theodore Van Loan, an ACOR-CAORC Fellow in 2012.