Preacher - photograph by Simon J. Joseph


Simon J. Joseph, Ph.D. - scholar of religion, author, photographer, filmmaker

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by religion.

This fascination ultimately led me to the academic study of religion and the pursuit of a Master’s degree in Religious Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

As a professor of religion at UCLA, I teach a variety of courses including the History of Early Christians, Jesus in Film and History, Religion and Violence, Religion in Los Angeles, and the History of Religion in the United States.

As a scholar of religion, I am a specialist in early Judaism and Christian origins.  

As an author, I have published numerous books and over thirty peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from the emergence of the early Jesus tradition and its relationship to the Dead Sea Scrolls to the rise of new religious movements and Indigenous Religion in America.

As an award-winning documentary filmmaker, I explore the role of religion in contemporary society, culture, and politics.




Film poster for Finding God in the City of Angels

Finding God in the City of Angels

Finding God in the City of Angels (2009) explores how different religious communities in Los Angeles engage their sacred texts or “scriptures.”

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poster for the movie HOLY MAN by Simon J. Joseph

Holy Man: The USA vs. Douglas White

Holy Man: The USA v. Douglas White (2011), narrated by Martin Sheen, investigates the wrongful conviction and incarceration of Lakota healer Douglas White.

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still from film Before We Were Horsemen

Before We Were Horsemen

“Before We Were Horsemen” is currently in post-production.

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