Dr. Jonathan Loopstra

Professor of History

Phone: (905) 648-2131   Ext:4287

Email: jloopstra@redeemer.ca

Office: 208D

Programs: History


Ph.D. (2009), Early Christian Studies, The Catholic University of America

MSt. (2003), Syriac Studies, Oxford University

M.A. (2002), Christian Thought (Church History, Theology), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

B.S. (History), Northwestern College, St. Paul


  • Classical History (HIS-210)
  • Islamic Encounters (HIS-458)
  • Western Culture & Tradition I (HUM-110)
  • Western Culture & Tradition II (HUM-120)
  • Church History I (HIS-216)
  • Gods and Thrones: The World to 1914 (HIS-106)
  • Historical Theory & Perspectives (HIS-307/407)
  • History of the US: From Colony to Superpower (HIS-233)
  • Irenaeus to Grotius: Christian Political Thought (HIS-310)
  • Islamic World to 1683 (HIS-256)
  • Modern Middle East (HIS-357)
  • Tudor-Stuart England (HIS-343)
  • Medieval Europe (HIS-340)


Before coming to Redeemer, Dr. Jonathan Loopstra has served as Professor of History at the University of Northwestern-St Paul and as tenured Associate Professor at Capital University in Ohio.  He has also taught for Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), Reformed Theological Seminary, and The American University of Iraq-Sulaimania.  Dr. Loopstra holds master’s degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Oxford University and a doctorate from The Catholic University of America. In addition, he has received research fellowships from a number of organizations, including the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library at St. John’s University.

As a university professor, Dr. Loopstra writes and speaks about Church History, Biblical Languages, Islam, and Middle Eastern History for both academic and lay audiences.  He has helped his students to understand topics ranging from ancient Sumer (3000 BC), to the Reformation (AD 1517), to the Gulf War (AD 2003). 

Much of Dr. Loopstra’s research focuses on the Bible and its reception across the centuries.  In particular, he has published books and articles about the discipline of reading and preaching the Scriptures in the multicultural and multilinguistic world of the late-Antique and Medieval Middle East.

While Dr. Loopstra works in the literature of the Greek- and Latin-speaking churches, he is particularly interested in the vast body of literature in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic), the language used by Christians living from modern Turkey and Syria to China and Southern India. In addition to research on Christian education in Antiquity, Dr. Loopstra is also interested in the history of preaching, spirituality, and cross-cultural relations.  Among his forthcoming books is a commentary on the Theological Orations of Gregory of Nazianzus, a fourth-century preacher known to posterity simply as “The Theologian.”  Moreover, his newest book will be the first general introduction to a little-known genre of teaching handbooks, used by Syriac-speaking Christians to help them pronounce and interpret the Bible, as well as works of theology, grammar, and the Church Fathers.  Dr. Loopstra has also published a number of articles, including research into the history of nineteenth-century American Presbyterian missions.

Research Interests

  • Non-Western Christianity in late Antiquity and the Medieval Near East
  • Preaching, rhetoric, and the spoken word in Antiquity
  • The intersections between biblical reading, grammar, exegesis, and theology
  • The translation and transmission of the Bible, specifically ‘masoretic’ scribal movements
  • The history of Christian spirituality
  • Christian manuscripts, papyrology, and codicology
  • Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, and Aramaic Lexicography and biblical reading traditions
  • Pedagogy and liberal arts education

Selected Publications

Jacob of Serug’s Homily on Edessa and Jerusalem.  Texts from Christian Late Antiquity 64; Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2021.

The Patristic “Masora”: A Study of Patristic Collections in Syriac Handbooks from the Near East.  Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium (CSCO) 689; Scriptores Syri, Tomus 265. Lovanii, Belgium: In aedibus Peeters, 2020.

Job According to the Peshitta Version with English Translation. The Antioch Bible.  Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2017.

An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac ‘Masora’ Dated to 899 CE. Introduction, Lists of Samples, and Indices to Marginal Notes.  Manuscript Studies Series.  Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2015.

An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac ‘Masora’ Dated to 899 CE. A Facsimile Reproduction.  Manuscript Studies Series. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2014.