Fellows Society Current Graduate Fellow: Joshua Matson

750(w)x600(h), preferred ratio 5:4

Joshua Matson

Hometown: Chubbuck, Idaho, USA 

Fall 2015 - present

PhD in Religion

Israel Council for Higher Education International Fellow for PhD Research

Orion Center for Dead Sea Scrolls Research Fellow

FSU Graduate Student International Dissertation Research Award


Leadership Position in The Fellows Society

Co-Coordinator of Development

I love being a part of the FSU Fellows Society and eagerly look forward to serving as a co-coordinator for the development committee on the Fellows Board. Some of the best relationships that I have developed as a graduate student at FSU have been within the Fellows Society and my primary aim is to assist in cultivating similar relationships between every Fellow. To accomplish this task, I am focused on continuing to innovate existing programs that fulfill our mission to promote exchange and interactions among fellows from multiple disciplines like Research Sharing Luncheons and encourage service events that connect Fellows with the broader FSU and Tallahassee communities. Additionally, I am particularly devoted to creating a new program called Fellows from Abroad that will cultivate mentoring and provide opportunities for Fellows to share research related to obtaining funding and participating in travel abroad


Educational/Professional Background

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Religions of Western Antiquity at Florida State University, a teacher at the Tallahassee Institute of Religion, and a research associate with the Scripta Qumranica Electronica project at the University of Haifa. I hold an MA in Biblical Studies from Trinity Western University and a BA in Ancient Near Eastern Studies with University Honors from Brigham Young University.


Research and Teaching Interests, or Professional Field

My primary research focus is on the Dead Sea Scrolls specializing in materially and textually reconstructing fragmentary manuscripts. Additionally, I study Judaism from 300 BCE-100 CE as well as 19th century American religious movements. My most recent publications include, “Between the Testaments: the History of Judea between the Testaments of the Bible,” in New Testament History, Culture, and Society; “The Fourth Gospel and Expectations of the Jewish Messiah,” in Thou Art the Christ: 47th Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium and “Where the World, Babel, and Zion Meet: Re-Defining the Mormon People at the 1964–65 Mormon Pavilion,” in the Journal of Mormon History.


Experience as A Graduate Student at FSU

I am most proud of the fact that I was able to obtain sufficient funding to spend a year abroad, studying in Israel, handling Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts, walking where the authors of the texts walked, and working with some of the brightest and most talented minds in Dead Sea Scrolls research.


Experience as A Member of The Fellows Society

While attending events hosted by the FSU Fellows Society has been one of the highlights of my FSU experience and a great benefit to my research and personal development, I have found that as I have strived to actively contribute to the mission of the society through regular service, the society has transformed me. As I have taken on participated in the society, each component of the Mission of the FSU Fellows Society has enhanced my own academic journey on campus and in the Tallahassee community.


Future Plans/Aspirations

My greatest career aspiration is to share the knowledge I have acquired with others. While my dream has always been to become a university professor, teaching in a classroom and sharing my research findings in scholarly publications, I have come to the realization that I can live out my career goal away from my dream job, if necessary. As I reach the end of my PhD program, I will put all my energies into obtaining a tenure track professorship at a recognized university. However, I am driven more by my aspiration to share knowledge with others than the professional position I eventually occupy. With this realization, I am motivated to also explore fulfilling my dream through other career paths, such as administrative or advisory roles at universities. Within these capacities I would be able to interact on a regular basis with students and aid them in seeking knowledge in their own fields of study, while at the same time continuing to use the experiences I accumulated for the benefit of the rising generation. Additionally, I am excited by the prospect that I can continue to share knowledge through written and print mediums as a writer, researcher, or editor in a host of private and public positions. Furthermore, I see exciting prospects in utilizing my acquired research skills in professions related to libraries and museums. Intertwined with all these potential careers, I have a strong determination to share my acquired knowledge by leading tours to historic sites around the world. Leading individuals on tours of prominent historical sites, specifically in Israel and Palestine where I have spent the past year living and my entire academic career researching, would allow me to share my acquired knowledge in a unique and impactful way.

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