Jonathan Loopstra Faculty Profile page | Capital University


  • Jonathan Loopstra, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of History


    Renner Hall


    • Biography

      Dr. Jonathan Loopstra teaches courses in the history of the Mediterranean and Middle East from antiquity through the middle ages. As a specialist in the history of Christianity in the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, Dr. Loopstra is able to help students better understand the complex history of these regions.

      His research interests include work with ancient manuscripts in many Middle Eastern languages. In particular, he works frequently with texts in the Syriac language, a dialect of Aramaic used by Christians in the Middle East for well over a millennium. These texts are a largely untapped resource for our knowledge of the history of this part of the world.

      Much of Dr. Loopstra’s current work is focused on preserving the heritage of Middle-Eastern Christianity in the face of the present violence in the region. His most recent book is An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac ‘Masora’ Dated to 899 CE (Georgias Press, 2014, 2015), a two-volume reproduction and study of a ninth-century manuscript kept in the British Library. This is the only surviving copy of a textbook used to teach students how to recite and interpret the Bible in Syriac. He also has a forthcoming translation of the Syriac version of the biblical book of Job, a version that is quite different from either the Hebrew or Greek.

      Prior to coming to Capital, Dr. Loopstra taught at Reformed Theological Seminary as well as overseas in Granada, Spain and in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and is regularly invited to speak at continuing education events and in churches. In his classes at Capital, Dr. Loopstra seeks to challenge his students to develop and improve their understanding of history and the contemporary world around them.

    • Teaches

      Global Awareness (General Education class)
      Religious Foundations and the Bible (General Education class)
      World Civilization I: Antiquity to the Renaissance
      Age of the Renaissance
      Ancient World
      Medieval Mediterranean
      Middle Eastern History
      History of Islam

    • Degrees

      Ph.D., The Catholic University of America, Washington DC
      Master of Studies in Syriac, Oxford University
      Master of Arts, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
      Bachelor of Science in History, Northwestern College