The arrest of Raphael Haim Golb

I was getting ready to post this story from the Chronicle [mfn]The CHE is a subscription but this link will be good for a week.[/mfn] when I realized I should check Jim West’s blog first and, sure enough, Jim has a very full and consistently updated post documenting this development and with links to all the stories you could want on the matter.

The gist of the story is that Golb has been using false identities for several years to harras and attack Dead Sea Scrolls scholars such as Bob Cargill and Larry Schiffman while defending the theories of his father, Norman Golb. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The Manhattan district attorney’s office alleged in a statement released on Thursday that Raphael Haim Golb, 49, son of Norman Golb, a professor of Jewish history and civilization at the University of Chicago, used dozens of Internet aliases to “influence and affect debate on the Dead Sea Scrolls” and “harass Dead Sea Scrolls scholars who disagree with his viewpoint.”…

Raphael Golb is charged with one felony count of second-degree identity theft, plus four misdemeanor charges. If convicted of the felony count, he could face up to four years in prison. According to news reports, he did not have a lawyer as of Thursday evening and had not yet responded to the charges. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for today in Manhattan.

The NYTimes has this amazing quote from Prof. Golb:

Professor Golb said that opposing scholars had tried to quash his views over the years through tactics like barring him from Dead Sea Scrolls exhibitions. He said he saw the criminal charges as another attack on his work.

“Don’t you see how there was kind of a setup?” he said. “This was to hit me harder.”

The courts will of course be the ones to determine guilt, but who in their right mind would think that anyone would care enough about our pretty little academic theories that the would (or could) enlist the aid of the NY District Attorney?!

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