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Curriculum Vitae

Elias G. Saba

Assistant Professor
Department chair of Studies in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia

Elias G. Saba received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. He was awarded the British Association of Islamic Studies – De Gruyter Prize in the Study of Islam and the Muslim World 2018 for his dissertation. His first monograph, Harmonizing Similarities: A History of Distinctions Literature in Islamic Law (De Gruyter, 2019) is a study of the legal distinctions literature in Islamic law and its role in the development of the Islamic legal heritage. His primary research focus is on the classical Islamic heritage, its interpretations, and epistemological problems in the study of pre-modern Islam. He is currently at work on several projects. Together with Matthew L. Keegan, he is currently completing an edition and translation of Khalīl al-Khūrī's novella Oh, No! I'm not European. This project is under contract with NYU Press. He is also working on two other projects. The first is a kind of phenomenological study of Islamic legal thought in fourteenth century Cairo. This project is interested in seeing how scholars understood Islamic law, how they put legal knowledge into conversation with other scholarly disciplines, and what kinds of legal knowledge scholars produced. Saba is also working on a longer history of Arabic prosody (ʿurūḍ) and the purposes that scholarly pursuit of prosody had in the premodern and early modern period. He teaches course on religion in the Middle East. the history of Islam and Islamic societies, and theory and method in religion.

Education and Degrees

Ph. D. University of Pennsylvania, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

A. M. University of Pennsylvania, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

A. B. Cornell University, Near Eastern Studies

Selected Publications

Elias G. Saba, Harmonizing Similarities: A History of Distinctions Literature in Islamic Law. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.


Thomas Levi Thompson, Emily Drumsta, and Elias G. Saba, “Translating Tahrir: From Praxis to Theory with Tahrir Documents” in Routledge Handbook of Arabic Translation, edited by Sameh F. Hanna, Hanem El-Farahaty and Abdel Wahab Khalifa. New York: Routledge, 2019.

Elias G. Saba (trans.), "The Book of Claims for Buildings, Roads, and Waterways (selections)" by ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Ṣadr al-Shahīd in Art in Translation 11.3: 265–85.

Elias G. Saba and Thomas Levi Thompson (trans.), “Al-Azhar Draft Constitution of 1979,” in Constitutionalism, Human Rights, and Islam after the Arab Spring. Edited by Rainer Grote and Tilmann J. Röder, 113–119. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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