Biblical Archaeology Review 35:6, November/December 2009

Strata: Scroll Scholar’s Son Indicted for Identity Theft to Support Father’s Views

University of Chicago professor Norman Golb holds a distinctively minority view of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to Professor Golb, Qumran was a military fortress, rather than an Essene religious settlement, and the scrolls deposited in nearby caves came from various groups in Jerusalem, including the Temple. He has long protested that museum exhibits of the scrolls fail to offer viewers dissenting interpretations, such as his own, of Qumran and the origin of the scrolls.

Professor Golb’s son Raphael, a 49-year-old New York lawyer, agrees: His father’s views have been short-changed by the academic community.

According to an indictment handed down last summer by a Manhattan grand jury, son Raphael adopted some unorthodox methods to support his father’s views. The indictment charges Raphael Golb with assuming the identity of prominent Dead Sea Scroll scholar Lawrence Schiffman of New York University; the indictment charges Raphael Golb with creating more than 50 e-mail accounts and dozens of internet blogs, in which Raphael Golb (posing as Schiffman) espoused the views of Norman Golb and (again, as Schiffman) confessed to plagiarizing from Norman Golb.

Raphael Golb also allegedly opened other e-mail accounts in the names of Dead Sea Scroll scholars Jonathan Seidel and Stephen Goranson.

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