Raphael Golb Guilty of Impersonating Dead Sea Scrolls Scholar


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Explore below coverage of the Raphael Golb trial.

In 2010, a New York jury returned a verdict of guilty on 30 of 31 counts against 50-year-old Raphael Golb, son of University of Chicago Dead Sea Scroll scholar Norman Golb. Thus ended Raphael Golb’s three week trial in which he admitted to originating hundreds of emails and blogs, in some of which he used fake accounts to impersonate prominent scroll scholar Lawrence Schiffman of New York University.

Some weeks later, Golb was sentenced to six months of prison time.

Signing his name as Schiffman, Raphael Golb made it appear that Schiffman was confessing to having plagiarized from Raphael Golb’s father, Norman, whose offbeat views on the scrolls differ markedly from Schiffman’s. The prosecution charged the younger Golb with identity theft, forgery and harassment. Four additional scholars were also victims of Golb’s impersonation.

The targeted scholars disagree with Golb’s father about the origin of the scrolls. Norman Golb contends that Qumran, near the caves where the scrolls were found, was a military fortress, not the communal home of a group of Essenes, as most scholars believe, and that the scrolls originated not with the Essenes but from several libraries in Jerusalem.

Golb’s Sentencing (Oct 1, 2010)

Golb’s Conviction (Nov 18, 2010)

Dead Sea Scrolls Scholar’s Son Off to Jail (Jan 30, 2013)

Raphael Golb’s Dead Sea Scroll Conviction Affirmed By New York’s Highest Court (May 16, 2014)

SCOTUS Declines Dead Sea Scroll Case (Feb 26, 2018)

Interested in the history and meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls? In the free eBook Dead Sea Scrolls, learn what the Dead Sea Scrolls are and why are they important. Find out what they tell us about the Bible, Christianity and Judaism.


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