Monthly Archives: September 2010

The New York Post Report of the Verdict

In the trial of Raphael Golb-

A Manhattan jury tonight threw the good book at an Internet bully who stole identities of his dad’s scholarly rivals and waged a cyber crusade against them. The panel deliberated for less than five hours before convicting Raphael Golb, 50, on 31 of 32 counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation, forgery and harassment in targeting academic adversaries of his pop, noted Dead Sea Scrolls researcher Norman Golb.  Jurors rejected Golb’s argument that he was only exercising First Amendment rights. Defense lawyer Ron Kuby slammed the decision, saying that prosecutors had made a mockery of intellectual freedom.

It’s actually Kuby and Golb who made a mockery of intellectual freedom, and integrity!

Sentencing is set for Nov. 18.

Read more:

Robert Cargill Responds to the Raphael Golb Verdict

And he does it in good Cargill-ian style.  Don’t miss a word of it.

Raphael Golb Has Been Convicted!!!!

Raphael Golb has been convicted!

A New York lawyer has been convicted of using online aliases to influence scholarly debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls. A Manhattan jury convicted Raphael Golb Thursday of 30 of 31 counts against him. Golb was acquitted on one charge of criminal impersonation.

I’m happy too!  (Though this older picture of R.G. doubtless does not at all reflect his present mood).

Hooray for the vindication of Lawrence Schiffman and Robert Cargill.

UPDATE:  Here’s a longer report on the verdict.  And here’s my ongoing coverage of the entire episode.

The Trial of Raphael Golb: The Washington Post Report

The WP reports this afternoon

Jurors in a Manhattan case are trying to decide whether a son posing online as a Judaic studies professor to avenge his father’s scholarly work was guilty of identity theft. … Assistant District Attorney John Bandler asked jurors Thursday to set aside the drama behind the case and focus on the evidence. He told them regardless of the details, impersonation is a crime. The case has exposed a world of bitter academic squabbling about the creators of ancient texts and dealt with contemporary notions of Internet privacy and online etiquette.

That last sentence sort of trivializes the issue. It isn’t mere squabbling over academic issues- it’s about pretending to be one person in order to persuade other people that the very person one pretends to be is a liar and a plagiarist. And that’s not trivial academic squabbling. Squabbling is what goes on at the SBL. This is quite different.

The End(s) Of Historical Criticism?

Want to decide for yourself the state of the discipline?  Legaspi’s new essay at Bible and Interpretation lends a hand. It commences

The term “historical criticism” is problematic. On the one hand, it designates a very specific set of practices for ascertaining the date and origin of a text or document—practices closely associated with Renaissance humanism and the study of law, classics, and literature. But when we refer to “historical criticism” in the context of theology and biblical scholarship, we usually mean something else. We use the term “historical criticism” as an umbrella term, one that is synonymous with modern biblical criticism or the dominant mode of academic biblical scholarship in the West over the past two hundred years. The reasons for this are not hard to surmise. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the historical backgrounds of the Bible, whether accessed through philology, textual criticism, archaeology, or source criticism, stood at the center of scholarly efforts to make sense of the Bible. Nevertheless, it is a mistake to identify modern biblical criticism with historical criticism because this equation misrepresents biblical scholarship and derails effective discussion of its connections to non-academic interpretive modes.

The End of the Trial of Raphael Golb and The Impending Verdict

A Manhattan prosecutor has asked jurors to set aside the history and drama behind a forgery case involving the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, and focus on evidence that shows a lawyer and writer is guilty of identity theft. … Assistant District Attorney John Bandler said in closing statements Thursday the case could’ve involved anyone — two women fighting over a man or two co-workers who don’t get along. But no matter what, he said, impersonation is a crime.

Now the matter is in the hands of the jury. They will do the right thing and find him guilty.

Colloquium Announcement: Maurice Casey’s ‘Jesus of Nazareth’

Not necessarily the actual cover

On the 11th of October and running through the 18th of the month the Biblical Studies List will host Prof. Maurice Casey who will be discussing with us his very soon to be published volume Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teachings. The official publication date is 30th September in the UK, and 30th December in the States (to allow time for shipping from the UK to the US). But they will have advance copies for sale at the booth at SBL.

In the meantime, I’ve been granted permission to excerpt segments of the volume and they will be posted on the Discussion List and blogged here as well in what I’m calling a ‘Different Kind of (P)review: Segments and Slices’.

If you’d like to discuss the excerpts (which will doubtless lead to many interesting questions) just sign up to take part.

We’re exceedingly pleased that Prof. Casey will be our guest and we know the discussion will be lively!

Lawrence Schiffman’s Thoughts on Raphael Golb

Yesterday in an interview with NYU Local, Lawrence Schiffman offered a few thoughts on the doings of Raphael Golb.

“The case has nothing to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls,” said Professor Schiffman in an interview. “Obviously it’s in the background, but the guy committed crimes in which he substantially hurt or had potential to hurt people.”


“Sometimes people are mean to each other,” said his [Golb’s] attorney in closing statements on Tuesday. “I submit that’s not a crime.” Professor Schiffman disagrees. He says the situation, which stretches back to August 2008, gave him non-clinical depression in which he couldn’t work for a month. “I was a victim of crimes,” he said, contending that the emails could have threatened his tenure at NYU and his reputation in the field of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. The Times quoted Golb as saying that the debate was not about money but about the greater good of academia. He also said that “you can’t get the truth unless you have free and open debate between scholars who have different opinions about things.” Professor Schiffman countered that maybe Golb should take his own advice. “He’s arguing theory instead of writing in the academic field,” he said. “He got caught up in this thing and I guess it really got to him.”

Oh it got to him alright. In the same way that Jeffrey Gibson got to Geoff Hudson (who now believes that nearly everyone online is Jeffrey Gibson).

The NYU Local report concludes

For juicier details on Golb’s aliases and emails, read Bob Cargill’s extensive “Bobst Libraries Theory.”

The Oxford Psalms Conference…

May become an annual event? Possibly. Viv Rowett has written

The Oxford psalms conference, though now a past event, continues to attract interest, and SOTS members can be assured that there are plans to make the proceedings accessible. The conference website is to be kept live, so do keep an eye on it. It is: and if and when there is a publication as is hoped, SOTS members will be among the first to know. It is good to think that the conference could be, as planned, the start of a renewed tradition of psalms study based in the UK.

It is a grand idea and I hope they do it regularly.

It Was Self Defense

And she was right to protect herself from the brick-hurling thugs.

A South Side woman shot and wounded a 12-year-old boy Tuesday after weeks of being “terrorized” by the child and his friends, who threw bricks at her home, set her garbage can on fire and destroyed her grill. The woman, who is in her late 60s or early 70s and known as “Miss Margaret” by neighbors, returned to her home in the 7600 block of South Coles Avenue Tuesday afternoon to find her windows broken, the Chicago Tribune reports. From the Tribune: The woman called police and was putting away her groceries when the boys showed up again, authorities said. The woman walked out onto the porch and the boys began shouting obscenities and throwing bricks at her, authorities said. The woman then pulled out a gun and opened fire, striking one of the boys in the shoulder, authorities said.

Miss Margaret had taken all the abuse and mistreatment she was going to. It was self defense.

People Can Be So Very Cruel: Consider, Before you Act, the Law of Unintended Consequences

Tyler Clementi

And sometimes their cruelty has astonishingly unfortunate and negative effects.

A Rutgers University freshman took his own life last week shortly after he was broadcast engaging in sexual activity with another man. According to WPIX, … 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, jumped from the George Washington Bridge last week. His car was found nearby with his computer and cell phone inside. The Clementi family’s lawyer, Paul Minardi, has released a statement confirming that Tyler committed suicide: “Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words. They respectfully request that they be given time to grieve their great loss and that their privacy at this painful time be respected by all.” ABC also reports that Clementi posted an update to his Facebook page on Sept. 22 at 8:42 p.m. that read “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”


WPIX reports that the Clementi’s alleged roommate, Dharun Ravi, and another first-year student, Molly Wei, were charged with invasion of privacy for secretly leaving a camera in his bedroom on Sept. 19 and posting footage of an ensuing sexual encounter on the internet. In New Jersey, it is a fourth-degree crime to collect images showing sexual content or nudity without the subject’s consent, and it is a third-degree crime to transmit the relevant content. Ravi and Wei, both 18, have been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy for the events that transpired on Sept. 19; Ravi received two more for attempting to record another of the Clementi’s encounters on Sept. 21.

Why would anyone do such a thing to another person? These two vile and totally depraved persons should be tried for conspiracy to commit murder. Though probably not legally possible, they should still be tried and convicted and spend time in prison for manslaughter. They killed that kid as much as the person kills another who disables the brakes on their car.

It’s inconceivable that people can be so cruel. But they can be, and are, because they don’t think about the law of unintended consequences before they act stupidly.

Conference Announcement

COMMUNICATION, LANGUAGE AND POWER IN THE ACHAEMENID EMPIRE: The correspondence of the satrap Arshama, via Viv Rowett of SOTS.

Oxford: October 2010 – July 2011 — The essential aim of this project (which is funded by the AHRC Research Networking scheme) is to provide the opportunity for detailed, hands-on involvement with one of the most exciting fields in ancient history, Achaemenid Studies. The method adopted will be to push on multiple fronts: the teaching of basic language skills, the exploration of how to look at Achaemenid art, the presentation and discussion of regions or particular bodies of material — with the goal of fostering conversations between archaeologists and philologists, Classicists and Orientalists, graduates and established Achaemenid specialists.

The complete flyer is available at the link above.

Total Depravity: The Mom Who Faked Her Son’s Cancer to Raise Money


A Warren woman told her 12-year-old son he had cancer, shaved his head and eyebrows, drugged his applesauce and then held fund-raisers in his name to bilk people, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said today. Smith said in a statement that his office has authorized warrants against Carol Lynn Schnuphase, 47. She is scheduled to be arraigned in 39th District Court in Roseville on Friday, he said.

I certainly hope they take her son and give him to someone who will love and care for him and not use him as a free meal ticket (like so many welfare recipients do with their own children, Yes – some people on public assistance insist on having more children simply so they can get more money. I’ve seen it happen over and over and over- and such persons are as totally depraved as Carol Schnuphase).

But, shockingly

In the meantime, she is not in custody and plans to turn herself into police Friday morning before the arraignment, Roseville Deputy Police Chief James Berlin said. The prosecutor said the warrants are for a count of second-degree child abuse and two counts of taking money under false pretenses. The child abuse charge carries a penalty of four years in prison and the false pretenses charges are five-year felonies. The woman allegedly committed the crimes when she lived in Roseville, Smith said.

She should already be in jail without any opportunity for bail.

The saddest thing of all here is that she’s just one of doubtless countless ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’ who have done the same thing and just not been caught, yet.

Conference Announcement: Creation and Chaos

The Midwest Branch of the American Oriental Society will be hosting a symposium entitled “Creation and Chaos: Reconsideration of Hermann Gunkel’s Chaos Kampf Hypothesis”. The meeting will be held from Feb. 11-13, 2011 at Olivet Nazarene University, in Bourbonnais Illinois (about 1 hour by Interstate 57 south of Chicago).

The meeting will begin Friday evening with plenary speeches by Wilfred Lambert, Wayne Pitard and Bernard Batto. The symposium will continue on Saturday with papers already committed by the following scholars: R. Averbeck, S. Holloway, G. Rubio, J.A. Scurlock, K. Sonik, B.D. Thomas and A. Tugendhaft.

The plan is to produce a volume of the conference papers and to include papers by others such as Mark Smith, who were not able to attend. We would be happy to consider other papers on Mesopotamian, Ugaritic, Israelite, and their neighbors’ beliefs concerning “Creation and/or Chaos” with or without reference to Gunkel. Please send abstracts to JoAnn Scurlock, and cc

Via Jack Sasson

Quote of the Day

It is disturbing that Abraham was willing to argue, bargain, even plead with God over the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18,23-32) but not over the sacrifice of his own son. — Moshe Reiss

If You’re About To Eat, or Have a Weak Stomach, Don’t Look

That’s what happens when Chris Tilling takes up baking!!!!  He bakes a mouse in the bread…  Let’s call it Mouse-in-a-Roll!  I’m feeling pretty peckish now…

The Theocratic Republic of Texas Strikes Again

Category:Baseball venues in the Prairies and L...

There’s too much to abstract, you’ll just have to read the whole essay, which has to do with a book fair in Texas where the author has been banned.  Yes, in Texas, they ban books and authors.  No point in letting people read and think for themselves or in letting them listen to someone who might share different ideas.  That’s the new Texas state motto I think.  It should be, anyway, if mottoes are determined by ideologies.

“Banning authors isn’t the same as banning books, but the intent is the same,” says Hopkins, whose most recent novel, Fallout, the final volume of her Crank trilogy, just debuted at number five on The New York Times series list. (The Times Bestseller Series Books list is devoted to series of three or more.) The trilogy (which also includes Crank and Glass) has been lauded by educators and reviewers alike. Its popularity among teens is rooted in her pull-no-punches storylines that tackle such issues as crystal meth addiction, teen prostitution, suicide and incest.

Yes, heavens, you don’t want all those unwed highschool pregnant prom queens across Texas reading such things like that! It might corrupt them…

I don’t get Texas.  Sometimes I wish we could forget the Alamo.

‘Love’ (Eros) Alone is No Basis for Marriage

Emil Brunner rightly asserts that

… monogamy is the only possible union of the sexes which does justice to the personal need for full community.

Hence, marriage (naturally between persons of the opposite sex) is societally significant as it serves as the foundation for all other proper communities.  Where there is no community, there is no society.

But the basis of monogamous marriage cannot be ‘love’ (Eros) as that term is usually understood.  Brunner continues a bit further on

Where marriage is based on love all is lost from the very outset.

But how can such a thing be asserted?

The lover cannot guarantee that his emotion of love will be either permanent or directed solely to the one person: such a marriage, because it is only possible as a hypothesis, is broken the moment it has been concluded; or rather, it never existed.

Our fascination with and addiction to ‘individualism’ is at the root of modern culture’s misunderstanding of the purpose and strength of marriage.

It is this subjective individualism, more than anything else, which has caused the present crisis in marriage.

Marriage, theologically understood, is community and the foundation-stone of all community.  That is why it’s important, and that’s why it matters.  Marriages based on commitment to the other are marriages that are biblical.  Marriages entered into for the sake of self fulfillment or self satisfaction (or lust) are doomed and no marriage at all.

In short, marriages rooted in αγαπη are true marriages (and since αγαπη is rooted in God and given by God, only those marriages established by and in God qualify as true).  Marriages, on the other hand, rooted in ερος, are rooted in self and since so, doomed to fail, doomed to be truly inauthentic.

Oh Canada: Moral Turpitude

Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Maybe Canada can replace Thailand as the go-to destination for the totally depraved. It’s on track to.

An Ontario court has struck down key provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws in a case that could set a precedent for the country. Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, but the court struck down three provisions that criminalized most aspects of it. Communicating for the purposes of prostitution, pimping and operating a brothel were decriminalized under the court’s ruling. Ontario Superior Court Justice Susan Himel ruled Tuesday that the dangers prostitutes face far outweigh any harm which may be faced by the public. Himel said the laws set up to protect prostitutes actually harm them.

Nice, huh… Well this fills me with a measure of relief since it shows that American Judges aren’t the only ones devoid of sense.

Blondes… God Help Them