headshot of Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith

Associate Professor (On leave through to June 30, 2024)
Historical Studies - History of Religions
  • Room:
    MN 4288
  • Office Hours:
    Please refer to the syllabus and/or contact via email.
  • Mailing Address:

    3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th Floor
    Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6


Kyle Smith, winner of the University of Toronto’s inaugural Early Career Teaching Award, is associate professor of Christianity in the History of Religions program. His undergraduate teaching includes courses on martyrdom and asceticism in the ancient world, women and gender in early and medieval Christianity, and the religious and cultural history of Christmas. 

On the UTSG campus, Smith holds graduate appointments in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Medieval Studies. He regularly offers graduate seminars on martyrdom and asceticism in early Christianity and the history of Christianity in the late antique Middle East. 

Smith's research focuses primarily on the history of Christianity in Roman Mesopotamia and Sasanian Persia, with a particular emphasis on the fourth through sixth centuries. He has edited and translated several Christian martyrdom narratives from Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic) and published a detailed study of the Roman emperor Constantine and the Christians of Persia.

His most recent book, Cult of the Dead: A Brief History of Christianity, ranges from Roman antiquity to medieval England, through the Protestant Reformation and up to the present, to tell the story of how the world’s most widespread religion is steeped in the memory of its martyrs. 

Currently, Smith is working on a cultural biography of Saint Nicholas.


PhD (Duke University)
MA (University of Notre Dame)
BA (University of Notre Dame)


  • Cult of the Dead: A Brief History of Christianity. University of California Press, 2022.
  • The History of Mar Behnam and Sarah: Martyrdom and Monasticism in Medieval Iraq (with J.-N. Mellon Saint-Laurent). Gorgias Press, 2018.
  • Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia: Martyrdom and Religious Identity in Late Antiquity. University of California Press, 2016. 
  • Syriac Encounters: Papers from the Sixth North American Syriac Symposium (co-edited with M. Doerfler and E. Fiano). Peeters Publishers, 2015. 
  • The Martyrdom and the History of Blessed Simeon bar Sabba’e. Gorgias Press, 2014. 
  • The History of the Great Deeds of Bishop Paul of Qentos and Priest John of Edessa (with H. Arneson, E. Fiano, and C. L. Marquis). Gorgias Press, 2010.