Raphael Golb is handcuffed and led from a Manhattan State Supreme courtroom in New York to prison after being sentenced to 6 months in jail and 5 years probation. Golb, son of University of Chicago Oriental Institute historian Dr. Norman Golb, was convicted on 30 felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer. Photo: Steven Hirsch

There were no winners in downtown Manhattan on Thursday. The reputations of Dead Sea Scrolls scholars were tarnished, and the son of one scholar is headed to jail for online fraud and academic bullying. Raphael Haim Golb, 50, an attorney specializing in non-Qumran real estate, is the son of University of Chicago scholar Professor Norman Golb. The younger Golb was convicted on 30 of 31 counts of impersonating NYU Dead Sea Scroll scholar Lawrence H. Schiffman, sending NYU officials email messages that pretended to admit to plagiarism, sending bullying e-mail messages, and aggravated harassment. Professors Schiffman and Golb are both esteemed for their studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but have some opposing hypotheses. Raphael Golb maintains that Schiffman plagiarized from Norman Golb. He also attacked the reputation of Robert R. Cargill, an adjunct assistant professor at UCLA. The court sentenced Golb to six months of incarceration and five years of probation. Also, he may not, for five years, enter any online discussion about the Dead Sea Scrolls using a name other than his own or “anonymous.” He has been disbarred. Golb testified that what he was doing was merely satire. The prosecutors stated that Golb, who received a doctorate from Harvard, showed no remorse and did not think that he had violated the law.

Norman Golb has theorized that the scrolls were written near Jerusalem and later were smuggled from to Qumran by fleeing Jews. Schiffman has held that the scrolls were written at Qumran by the Essenes Saducee priests. In related news, three weeks ago, Google.com and the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that they are planning to place copies of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments online.

What would the Essenes have done? Who knows. Pliny the Elder says they were celibate and had no children. They did not have to contend with a son trying to destroy others to aid a father’s reputation.

Previous Jewlicious Article on this topic.

(photo by Steven Hirsch via Robert Cargill’s blog)

About the author



  • This is such a Jewish story isn’t it?

    Two academics squabbling like school boys (the pencil neck geek brand of school boy)over a bunch of musty old scrolls.


    Go feed the homeless!

  • Mike, did you read the story? It’s the son of one scholar squabbling like crazy and other scholars on the receiving end of his attacks.

  • Hi,

    In your earlier article you ask a key question (emphasis added) “.

    “So ***** even if he didn’t break the law ***** and merely created many characters and blogs to attack others, why was he wasting his time on this? ”

    And really, despite the injustice system, everybody familiar with the internet, satire, impersonation, plagiarism, knows that no law, in a sound understanding was broken.

    And you point out how you simply increased your own diligence in post moderation, you didn’t go running to try to make a criminal case out of internet annoyance. And if some one is accused improperly, “you are a sludge, etc” .. that is sound cause for a libel action, which is CIVIL, not criminal.

    This travesty of prosecutorial extravagance only occurred because some aggrieved of dubious motives, especially Robert Cargill, hope to see civil $$ at the end of the prosecutorial rainbow.

    And especially because Lawerence Schiffman was able to use “home court advantage”, being nicely connected in NY society. Read the full trial history if you think this is questionable.

    Incidentally, personally I have liked Schiffman every time I have heard him speak, and talked to him. And I take no direct stance on the plagiarism issue, I believe that Raphael and likely Norman truly felt wronged, and Schiffman and company truly felt no wrong was done. A perfectly fair SCHOLASTIC disagreement, but not criminal on either side.

    (Remember, in a sense all scholars are plagiarists, the question is one of degree, and this is one reason why plagiarism is not criminal, it is of civil and ethical and cultural interest..)

    I posted a few additional thoughts and links on a Bible textual forum.

    [TC-Alternate-list] the Brave Net World, #2 – the DSS case of Raphael Golb
    Steven Avery – Jan 29, 2012

    And I do sympathize that Jewlicious probably went through hassles at the time, yet from what I could tell, you handled it quite well. At this point you would do well to raise your voice against this prosecution travesty. It is time for some voices to speak clearly, even if you felt “annoyed” by Raphael. This prosecution is an absolute disaster, a bad case that can make horrid, and chilling, law.

    Steven Avery

Leave a Comment