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Matthew Goff

Professor of Religion
Director of Graduate Studies

for more on the department's graduate program, see here

Departmental Area: Religions of Western Antiquities
Research Areas : Wisdom Literature; Apocalypticism; The Dead Sea Scrolls; Second Temple Judaism

Address: Department of Religion
641 University Way / P.O. Box 3061520
The Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1520
Office: M06 Dodd Hall
Email: mgoff@fsu.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays 4-5 (Fall 2016)

Curriculum Vitae


I joined the faculty of the FSU Religion Department in Fall 2005. I offer courses in Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism. I completed an M.T.S degree in 1997 at Harvard Divinity School and I finished my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 2002. I studied under John Collins and wrote a dissertation on 4QInstruction, the longest wisdom text of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This document is the best example available of a sapiential text with an apocalyptic worldview. Working on this composition developed my interest in the intersections between the wisdom and apocalyptic traditions in early Judaism.

I was awarded a grant from the Humboldt Foundation (Forschungsstipendium für erfahrene Wissenschaftler) and spent the 2013-14 academic year at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, working on a book on giants in ancient Judaism.

Recent Books

Recent Articles

Research and Teaching Specializations

  • Wisdom Literature
  • Apocalypticism
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Second Temple Judaism


Recent Courses

Fall 2016

REL 3209       The Dead Sea Scrolls 
In this course, students will analyze key manuscripts of the Qumran corpus, with a focus on issues such as the history, beliefs and praxis of the Jewish sectarian movement that is associated with the scrolls, the archaeology of the Qumran site and the significance of the scrolls for understanding Second Temple Judaism and the origins of Christianity.  Meets LS Cultural Practice (LS-CUL) and Scholarship-in-Practice (SIP).

REL4214        The Book of Genesis 
This course offers a close and critical reading of the Book of Genesis in terms of its composition, history of its interpretations, its Near Eastern context, its narrative artistry, as well as its relevance for ethics and theology. Please Contact Instructor for Permission.   

Spring 2016

IFS 2039         Noah’s Flood Through the Ages
Noah’s Flood has been a topic of enduring interest for over 2,000 years.  It sparks the imagination with issues such as the rise of evil in the world and God’s re-creation of the earth.  In this class we will examine the biblical flood story in a broad context.  We will examine other flood stories from the ancient Near East that influenced how the biblical story of the flood was written.  We will look at how the flood story in the Bible was interpreted, from antiquity up until today.  We will also examine how the flood story had been a locus for contemporary debates involving religion and science since the 1600s.  Students will engage in broad and creative thinking about the biblical text and the variety of ways the flood had been interpreted over the centuries.  They will gain knowledge and critical thinking skills that will assist them in the interpretation of biblical texts in a range of ethical, scientific, theological and historical discourses.  This course will impact how students understand the Bible and the nature of the world, particularly its distant past. Meets the LS humanities requirement.

REL3936-01   Special Topics in Religion: Readings in

RLG6298-01  SEM: Scriptures/Inte: Hebrew Bible
This class is a graduate seminar that will examine fundamental issues in the study of the Hebrew Bible.  Topics that will be addressed include the history of scholarship, leading critical approaches towards the study of the text, and major topics of debate in the field.  It is required for RWA graduate students.