Truth is Stranger

. . . and far more interesting than anything by Dan Brown.

Interesting article from Jewish World Review:

Ancient scrolls at center of modern, technological plot

The storyline sounds like a fictional thriller: The son of a scholar of ancient religions is charged with using intricate Internet scams to discredit his father’s critics.

But this is no made-up story. New York City authorities charged the son of University of Chicago professor Norman Golb with identity theft, criminal impersonation and harassment in connection with a campaign to smear opponents of his father’s scholarly theories.

The academic discipline at the center of the controversy is the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls, religiously significant documents that have provoked controversy since they were discovered six decades ago.

The Manhattan District Attorney contends that Raphael Golb, 49, used dozens of Internet aliases during a six-month period last year to sway debate about the scrolls.

In one instance, the 49-year-old attorney allegedly opened an e-mail account in the name of Lawrence Schiffman, a New York University professor and one of his father’s chief critics. Then, using NYU computers, Golb allegedly posed as Schiffman and sent e-mails to Schiffman’s colleagues admitting plagiarism.

. . .

[S]ince their discovery six decades ago, the Dead Sea Scrolls have not only shed light on the ancient world but also ignited contemporary conflicts. Scholars view the ancient manuscripts, which include texts from the Hebrew Bible, as a missing link between Judaism and Christianity.

Norman Golb, the author of “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?: The Search for the Secret of Qumran,” has played a leading role in the squabbles and is known for criticizing museum exhibits about the scrolls that do not include his views.

Golb holds a minority view that the scrolls, hidden away during the time of Jesus, were a sort of library of writings by several Jewish sects that were moved to one site to protect them from Roman invaders. Most scholars believe the scrolls are the work of a single Jewish sect, the Essenes, who wrote the documents in a monastery where they were found in the 1940s and 1950s.

Ironically, in trying to discredit his father’s critics, the younger Golb’s actions do greater disservice to his father’s cause.

Whatever happened to academic freedom and the free and vigorous exchange of ideas in an environment characterized by openness, tolerance and civility?

Full story here.

The Isaiah Scroll portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Isaiah Scroll portion of the Dead Sea Scrolls


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