Liberal Arts' Aaron Rubin named Guggenheim Fellow

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Aaron Rubin, Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Professor of Jewish Studies, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, and Linguistics at Penn State, has been named a 2016 Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Guggenheim Fellows are selected each year based on their prior accomplishments and demonstration of exceptional promise. The 178 scholars, artists and scientists selected as 2016 Fellows were chosen from more than 3,000 candidates. Since its establishment in 1925, the foundation has granted more than $334 million in fellowships to more than 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and other important, internationally recognized honors.

“It’s exciting to name 178 new Guggenheim Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch Guggenheim Foundation president. “These artists and writers, scholars and scientists represent the best of the best. Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

Rubin has taught Biblical Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, and Yiddish at Penn State, as well as courses on biblical literature and comparative Semitic linguistics. His research focuses on all periods of Hebrew, modern South Arabian, Ethiopic, comparative Semitic linguistics, Judeo-Italian, and Judeo-Urdu.

Rubin has published numerous articles and five monographs, including: "A Brief Introduction to the Semitic Languages" (2010), "The Mehri Language of Oman" (2010), and "The Jibbali (Shahri) Language of Oman: Grammar and Texts" (2014). He has also edited or co-edited four books, including "Epigraphy, Philology, and the Hebrew Bible" (2015); the "Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics" (2013); and "Studies in Classical Linguistics in Honor of Philip Baldi" (2010).

Rubin’s most recent book — the "Handbook of Jewish Languages" (2016), co-edited with Lily Kahn, lecturer at University College in London — is the first reference to be published on ancient and modern Jewish languages. The handbook includes chapters on more than two-dozen Jewish languages, some of which were previously undescribed.

Rubin’s Guggenheim Fellowship will allow him to conduct further research on Mehri and Jibbali, two unwritten Semitic languages spoken in the Dhofar region of Oman. In addition to a revised edition of his Mehri grammar, he plans to work more on comparative and historical issues relating to these languages and related languages in Oman and Yemen.

Media Contacts: 

William Hessert

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College of the Liberal Arts

Last Updated April 11, 2016