Daily Archives: 28 Sep 2010

The Raphael Golb Case- Closing Arguments

The Washington Post has them in just little more than skeletal form.

A defense attorney for a man charged with impersonating a Judaic studies professor online in a debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls has told New York City jurors his client may not have been nice but his actions weren’t criminal.

But of course they were!

Lawyer David Breitbart said Tuesday in closing statements his client posted blogs and sent e-mails to highlight his dad’s point of view and alert the academic community to plagiarism of his dad’s work into the scrolls, which contain the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible.

If that’s the sum and substance of his closing, Golb’s doom is sealed.

UPDATE:  A far more thorough report is available here.

Thanks, Joel! And Roland, You Have Some Explaining to Do

Joel Watts, in an act of unexpected kindness, has sent along a copy of this gem:

Thanks man!

But that wasn’t the only thing that arrived in the mail today- I ordered (yes, I still buy books!) Roland‘s Secularism and Biblical Studies.  I’ll not be reviewing it but I’m sure I’ll have snarky comments to make about a few of the essays.  Stay tuned.

Raphael Golb Admits Lying to Authorities

Today at the trial of Raphael Golb, he admitted he’s a falsifier.  Or in plain terms, a liar.

A prosecutor today hammered the “deranged” Dead Sea Scrolls cyber-bully for lying to investigators about the defendant’s scheme to discredit his dad’s academic adversaries. During tedious and testy cross-examination, Manhattan lawyer Raphael Golb was forced to admit he lied throughout his 2009 video-taped interview with authorities, who were grilling him about fake e-mail addresses created to wage cyber war against rival scholars. “In my deranged state of mind, yes!” a frustrated Golb blurted out, admitting to his series of deceptive answers. Golb is accused of going over the line and using criminal means to target rivals of his dad, noted Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Norman Golb.


Assistant DA John Bandler meticulously went through statements Golb originally gave to investigators, when the son denied ever making up phony email addresses and blogs to attack his dad’s rivals. At one point, as Bandler went through dozens of fake e-mail addresses Golb had created, the defendant gave rapid-fire “yes” answers and gestured with his left hand for the prosecutor to speed it up.


“Yes, I lied over and over again during the interview, the interrogation,” an exasperated Golb admitted. Golb now takes full credit for making up all those phony emails. But defense lawyers claim he’s within his constitutional right to blow the whistle on the academic frauds.

Those hoping dad Norman Golb would testify will be disappointed to learn that the defense rested today.

The defense rested with Golb as its only witness and closing arguments are set for this afternoon.

It’s almost over and he stands convicted out of his own mouth. Now the jury need simply put its stamp of approval on his admission.

No Mr. President, It’s The Ineptitude of Politicians That’s Inexcusable

Admonishing his own party, President Barack Obama says it would be “inexcusable” and “irresponsible” for unenthusiastic Democratic voters to sit out the midterm elections, warning that the consequences could be a squandered agenda for years. “People need to shake off this lethargy. People need to buck up,” Obama told Rolling Stone in an interview to be published Friday. The president told Democrats that making change happen is hard and “if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.”

Apathy, Mr. President, is directly due to the lack of competence, forward movement, and lack of direction of our elected officials. Why get excited for politicians, of whatever party, when what they do is serve lobbyists, special interests, and big business? You, Mr. President, promised change. But after two years, we are still embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economy is a wreck. Are any of those things worthy of excitement?

Blame voter indifference all you wish, sir, but it isn’t voters who sit in Washington and fiddle while the country burns.  And it isn’t voters who run while speaking out of  one side of their mouth and acting out of the other.  If there’s a lack of interest in politics among the public it’s because we realize, even if you politicians don’t, that you’re just marking time and doing nothing.  You are the apathetic ones.  And the pathetic ones too.

Joke of the Day

Dot King calls it the joke of the year… but not quite.  The year’s not over yet.

Two Jewish women were sitting quietly together, minding their own business.

That’s pretty good!

Mazar’s Wrong In Her Identification of ‘David’s Palace’

She writes

The Biblical narrative, I submit, better explains the archaeology we have uncovered than any other hypothesis that has been put forward. Indeed, the archaeological remains square perfectly with the Biblical description that tells us David went down from there to the citadel. So you decide whether or not we have found King David’s palace.

Todd Bolen responds

In fact, the archaeological remains square perfectly only with a selective and tendentious reading of the biblical text. Second Samuel 5 is not presenting a chronologically-ordered account, it does not state that David went down from his palace, and it does not require that the stronghold in which David sought refuge be in Jerusalem. It is certainly possible that David’s palace was located north of the Stepped Stone Structure, and it may be that Mazar is currently excavating it. But support for that conclusion does not come from the biblical text.

See how he arrives at that conclusion in his new essay for Bible and Interpretation.

Jimmy Carter Has Been Hospitalized

I hope he’s ok.  His condition is presently unknown as is the reason for his hospitalization, though I’m sure we will learn something soon.

Ok This Is Definitely A List I Should Be On…

Traffic accident in Burton near Lincoln.

Not me, but I might have been nearby

I’m, by my own admission, an absolutely horrible driver.  I’m so bad at it that old people on their last leg and taking their last breath would rather wait for an ambulance than have me drive them to the hospital.  So I should certainly be on this list.

18- to 20-year-olds are the largest menace to roadways in almost every region and state.

Well I’m not in that category and haven’t been for 30 years.

What was more surprising: how the breakdown between states with more dangerous drivers and safer drivers fell almost completely along the lines of the 2008 McCain-Obama election, with the Republicans again coming up on the short end. Nine of the 10 worst-performing states went for McCain, while nine of the 10 best performers voted for Obama. (Delaware and Rhode Island were the respective outliers.)

That doesn’t apply to me either. I voted for myself. So once again statistics prove nothing, for I am the nation’s worst driver (or at least in the top 10. Just ask my daughter, or one of her friends, who, when asked if she wanted a ride with us said ‘I choose life’).

Whatever the Question, 4Q381, Fragment 104 Has the Answer

All of life’s questions are now solved.  What’s the meaning of life?  4Q381, Fg. 104 tells you.  Is there a God?  What’s your birthday?  How many children will you have?  Where will Chris Tilling next manage to do evil?  That DSS text knows.

And what does that text say?

]m[    (DJD XI)

Yes, that’s it.  Whatever the question, that’s the answer.   From now on that will be my response to any question anyone asks me about anything.  ‘What should I have, soup or salad?’   ‘Yes, well see 4Q381, fg. 104.’

With many thanks to Kasper Dalgaard of the University of Copenhagen for pointing it out on FB.

Zwingli for Today

Tyrants, unfortunately, are as numerous as fleas in August, misgoverning, extorting, oppressing. — Huldrych Zwingli

Mark Stevens Reviews BibleWorks 8

He’s got some useful observations worthy of your attention.

It's BibleWorks Week: In Summary... Parts 1, 2 and 3 I have been using the program for well over a week now. I have spent time getting to know the software and trying out some (think 2%) of its features. Here are some of the things that have impressed me: I can see why people speak so highly of this product. In the short time I have been using it I have been VERY impressed by how functional and reliable it is. I am less overwhelmed by the program than I was to begin with, especiall … Read More


Celebrity ‘Experts’ – The Oxymoron of the Decade

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at the Cannes fil...

Listen to them, they've suffered so much...

There are congressional hearings and there are comedy shows, and the twain rarely meet. So when a House panel on immigration combined them on purpose last week with testimony from Stephen Colbert and his “truthy” alter ego, debate broke out on the proper roles of the many celebrities – from Angelina Jolie to Bono to Elmo – who advocate in Washington.

Which is pure absurdity. Elmo? Angelina? Colbert? What expertise is it exactly that entertainers have in any field but entertaining? The whole phenomenon of celebrity experts demonstrates only that America’s obsession with fame has seeped into every corner of American policy. Celebrities, if they had any character at all, would reject invitations to present themselves as experts by saying ‘I’m not an expert on poverty (or immigration or whatever), I’m just an entertainer. Why don’t you contact someone who has actually devoted their life to the subject instead of someone who will only get you momentary attention.’ Why don’t they? Because they’re fame addicts, publicity whores. They are as attracted to the camera as a crack addict is to the pipe.

There’s no question that celebrities raise awareness- but as soon as they step off the stage, so does interest.  In the long run, then, they do more harm than good because, as they flit from cause to cause, serious issues which require long term solutions are forgotten and very little is actually accomplished (besides the shedding of a few tears that, as soon as dry, the cause for which are forgotten).

American policy shouldn’t be determined by who can use their celebrity to get the most attention for this or that, it should be based on reasoned presentation and lucid planning.  Neither of which celebrities are capable of.

The Testimony of Raphael Golb According to the New York Times

The Times does a great job of reporting the testimony and pointing out the irrelevancy of the bulk of it.

Mr. Golb spent much of his nearly three hours on the witness stand defending the theory of his father, Norman Golb, a professor at the University of Chicago, that the scrolls were kept in various libraries in Jerusalem until they were hidden during the Roman war of A.D. 67 to 73 in the caves where they were found more than a half-century ago. … This academic debate provided an underlying — though not extremely relevant — theme to the case, as Mr. Golb drifted into lengthy dissertations that implored the jurors, if nothing else, to agree with his father’s theory.

And that, in sum, is all that Golb is concerned with doing. Even on trial, he can’t resist promoting his dad’s viewpoint.

He criticized many in the academic community for dismissing his father’s theories and trying to silence him.

Silence him? Hardly. N. Golb teaches at the University of Chicago and has a wide readership and lofty perch from which to share his ideas. They are widely rejected because idiosyncratic and unsustainable. He’s hardly the poor marginalized nobody R. Golb is acting like he is.

Mr. Golb, who said he spoke Spanish, French and Italian, and could read Latin and German, and danced Argentine tango in his free time, told the jury that, for him, the debate was not about money. It was about the greater good of academia.

Bit of a self absorbed guy, isn’t he? What does any of that have to do with the issue at hand? Nothing. But it does show what kind of person he is.