Dr. Joel Elowsky

Elowsky, Joel

  • Professor of Historical Theology, Historical Theology
  • Director of the Center for the Study of Early Christian Texts, Historical Theology
  • Coordinator of International Seminary Exchange Programs, Ministerial Formation

Dr. Joel Elowsky is a professor of Historical Theology and coordinator of the International Seminary Exchange Programs at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Elowsky has been a faculty member since 2014. He is the director of the Seminary’s Center for the Study of Early Christian Texts and also is a researcher for the Center for Early African Christianity at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

His interests and areas of expertise include early church studies, history of exegesis, mission work and African Christianity.

He earned a Master of Philosophy (2008) and Ph.D. (2009) from Drew University in Madison, N.J. After studying at Westfield House in Cambridge, England, and Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, he transferred to Concordia Seminary, where he received a Master of Divinity (1990) and Master of Sacred Theology (1992). He received a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich. (1985).

He served as associate professor of theology at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon (2010-14), as an adjunct professor of religion at Drew University (2000-04); and later as research director of The Center for Early African Christianity at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa. (2009-14).

Elowsky’s first call was with The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod SELC District as a mission developer in Galloway Township, N.J. (1992-2000). He served as operations manager/research director for Thomas Oden’s 29-volume Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (IVP) from 2000-10, which has been translated into at least seven languages. While serving in that capacity he also served vacancies at Trinity Lutheran Church in Morris Plains, N.J.; Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Montville, N.J.; and Our Savior Lutheran Church in Fairlawn, N.J.

Since 2004 he has been part of the ecumenical group, Evangelicals and Catholics Together. He also has served as a participant in dialogs between evangelicals and the Vatican, delivering a paper there on Scripture and tradition in 2010. He also is a board member of the Chinese Academic Consortium and a member of the International Patristics Society and the Society for Biblical Literature (SBL). He serves as the president of the Institute for Classical Christian Studies, which has ties with Yale University. He also has lectured extensively in Africa as a researcher and lecturer for the Center for Early African Christianity formerly housed at Eastern University and now located at Yale, where he continues to lecture in Africa on behalf of Concordia Seminary.

He initiated two other publication series: the five-volume Ancient Christian Doctrine and the 14-volume Ancient Christian Texts, as well as the Ancient Christian Devotional.

He has edited or authored numerous books and articles including:

  • John 1-10 in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Vol IVa  (InterVarsity Press, 2007)
  • John 11-21 in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Vol IVb (InterVarsity Press, 2007)
  • We Believe in the Holy Spirit in Ancient Christian Doctrine Series, Vol. 4 (InterVarsity Press, 2009)
  • Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity, 3 Volumes, 5000 pages. Eds. Angelo DiBerardino, Thomas C. Oden, Joel C. Elowsky, James Hoover (InterVarsity Press, 2014)
  • Cyril of Alexandria:  Commentary on John, Vol II. trans. David Maxwell, ed. Joel Elowsky, Ancient Christian Texts Series (InterVarsity Press, 2012 and 2015)
  • “Exodus in the Fathers” in The Book of Exodus: Composition, Reception and Interpretation. Thomas B. Dozeman, Craig A. Evans and Joel N. Lohr, eds. Part of the Formation and Interpretation of Old Testament Literature Series  (Brill, 2014) “Alexandrian Theology and Contemporary African Thought” in A New History of African Christian Thought: From Cape to Cairo, edited by David Ngong (Routledge, 2016)

Elowsky has finished working on a translation of Athanasius’ Letter to Marcellinus, which is published as an e-book with ICCS Press, and also was used in the Africa Study Bible. He is currently working on an Encyclopedia of Early African Christianity to be published by the same publisher, which will be a condensation and selective editing of the larger Encyclopedia of the Early Church with new articles germaine to the African church.

Elowsky’s wife, Joy, plays organ for Seminary chapel services and also assists in conducting the Seminary Chorus. She is an organist at Glendale Lutheran Church in St. Louis. The Elowskys have two sons and a dog named Hubert. When not traveling or teaching, Elowsky likes to spend time sailing in northern Michigan.


Early church studies
History of exegesis
Mission work
African Christianity


Ph D Drew University Madison, NJ History of Exegesis
MPhil Drew University Madison, NJ Early and Late Antiquity/Reformation
STM Concordia Seminary, St. Louis St. Louis, MO Exegesis
MDIV Concordia Seminary, St. Louis St. Louis, MO Exegesis
Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Catharines, ONT St. Catharines, Ontario
Cambridge University, Westfield House Cambridge, England
BA Concordia College Ann Arbor, MI Biblical Languages