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 â€œanonymous.â€ 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)