The New York Court of Appeals will hear the case of a man who seeks to overturn his conviction of Internet impersonation of a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Tuesday. Raphael Golb, a lawyer and writer, wrote e-mails and blog posts as Lawrence Schiffman, the New York University Judaic studies chairman. Golb claims his actions were protected under the first amendment.
“This has nothing to do with scholarly debate,” Schiffman told the New York Times in 2013. “It has to do with criminal activity. Fraud, impersonation and harassment are criminal matters. This was actually designed to literally end my career.”
Golb wrote on behalf of his father, Doctor Norman Golb, to institutions across the country as Schiffman. The emails attempt to discredit his father’s rivals. “It is true that I should have cited Dr. Golb’s articles when using his arguments, and it is true that I misrepresented his ideas,” Tablet Magazine quoted from e-mail, “But this is simply the politics of Dead Sea Scrolls studies. If I had given credit to this man I would have been banned from conferences around the world.”
The Associated Press reported that Golb hopes to base his case on the fact that the messages were “satire, irony, parody.”
Meanwhile, lost Dead Sea Scroll documents have been reported to be recovered in Israel. “These parchment slips, folded and placed in capsules, are understood to be the ‘frontlets between your eyes.’ mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy (6:8). The texts are in principle the same as those required by later Rabbinic Halakha and those in use today,” IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Projects Pnina Shor told The Huffington Post, “Since these tefillin – phylacteries from the Judean Desert caves are the only examples we have from the Second Temple period, we do not know whether their distinctive features reflect the traditions of a specific community or whether they represent a more widespread tradition. Perhaps these ‘new’ ones will shed more light on this matter.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons