Biblical Archaeology Review 40:5, September/October 2014

Strata: Is He Headed to Jail?

The Dead Sea Scrolls continue to breed conflict. In this case Raphael Golb, a New York lawyer and son of Norman Golb, a well-known Dead Sea Scroll scholar from the University of Chicago, was convicted of criminal conduct for sending emails impersonating prominent Dead Sea Scroll scholars who supposedly agreed with his father’s minority views.a In one instance the younger Golb, impersonating prominent Dead Sea Scholar Lawrence Schiffman, confessed to having plagiarized the elder Golb’s ideas and presented them as Schiffman’s own.

In its lengthy opinion, New York’s highest court described two scholarly views of the origins of the scrolls. One it denominated the Qumran-Sectarian theory, according to which the scrolls originated with a Jewish sect living at Qumran, generally believed to be the Essenes. The other view, championed by the elder Golb, the court called the Jerusalem-Libraries theory. According to the Jerusalem-Libraries theory, the scrolls were brought to the caves near Qumran from various libraries in Jerusalem in an effort to rescue them from the impending Roman attack on Jerusalem, which culminated in 70 C.E. with the burning of the city and destruction of the Temple.

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