Daily Archives: 30 Sep 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: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/jury_finds_dead_sea_scammer_found_CzKmfd6L1xONHyt84iSt9K#ixzz113dZa4dl

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: http://www.oxford-psalms-conference.co.uk/Oxford_Psalms_Conference/Home.html 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.