Dead Sea Scrolls scholar's son harasses rival

Raphael Golb scheduled to be arraigned on charges of identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment.

March 6, 2009 01:11
1 minute read.
Dead Sea Scrolls scholar's son harasses rival

dead sea scrolls 248.88. (photo credit: The Israel Museum)

An intellectual conflict about the Dead Sea Scrolls became a criminal matter on Thursday when the Manhattan District Attorney's Office charged the son of a scrolls scholar with impersonating and harassing a scholar with opposing views. Raphael Haim Golb, 49, was scheduled to be arraigned on charges of identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment, according to a statement from District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Golb, the son of Norman Golb, a Dead Seas Scrolls scholar from the University of Chicago, is accused of using the Internet to impersonate and harass Lawrence Schiffman, a professor at New York University and a scrolls scholar. Last summer, according to Morgenthau's office, Golb opened an e-mail account in Schiffman's name and sent 11 messages to multiple recipients at NYU, in which he pretended to be Schiffman admitting to plagiarism. Golb also allegedly used other Internet aliases to sent messages to NYU personnel and created Internet blogs accusing Schiffman of plagiarism. There is considerable academic scholarship as well as conflicting views - and conspiracy theories - about the Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered in the caves of Qumran beginning in 1947. Many scholars believe the scrolls were assembled by the Essenes, an ancient sect that lived in Qumran. Norman Golb believes that the scrolls were not produced by the Essenes, but by different Jewish sects and communities of ancient Israel, who hid them in the caves after fleeing from Jerusalem. Through Internet aliases, Raphael Golb promoted his father's theories, criticized those of others, frequently criticized the exhibitions of the Dead Sea Scrolls for not giving sufficient attention to the theories of his father, Morgenthau's office said. The investigation is continuing.

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