Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dark Side of Academic Disagreements

See this fellow. His name is Raphael Golb.

Raph's father is
Norman Golb and he is the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor in Jewish History and Civilization at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Dr. Golb holds to the theory that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not written by the Essenes (a small Jewish tribe) as is 'popularly' held, but by another group (or groups). In fact he wrote Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Search For The Secret Of Qumran in which he summed up his ideas.

Well, last Thursday Raphael Golb, an attorney, was convicted of some pretty outrageous behavior. Everything from identity theft to criminal impersonation, forgery, harassment and unauthorized use of a computer. USAToday explains the basic motivation and subsequent actions:

Golb's father, 83-year-old University of Chicago Professor Norman Golb, said nearly a decade ago that Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, chairman of New York University's Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, had plagiarized his research. But he has never had to answer for it, and that so angered Golb that he broke the law, prosecutors said.

Golb created an e-mail account under Schiffman's name, then sent a message from it to Schiffman's colleagues admitting plagiarizing Norman Golb's work. Golb says his actions were not criminal. Rather, he said he was engaging in a spirited debate about the history of the texts and trying to highlight the fact that his father, a longtime scholar of the scrolls, was plagiarized by a rival professor.

Historically speaking, regardless of the academic outcome, the jail-time and the swirl of newspaper coverage about these incidents are bound to make this an interesting footnote in the story of these historical documents.

Google News

1 comment:

  1. The appeal brief in the Raphael Golb case can be read here:

    Raphael Golb's personal account of his trial and its background is here:

    And the trial transcripts are here:


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