Monthly Archives: September 2010

Watch Raphael Golb’s Testimony

On the video here.  It speaks for itself.

The Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian

Is now online.

Der Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae ist eine Publikationsplattform, die das Akademienvorhaben Altägyptisches Wörterbuch an der Berlin-Brandenburgischen Akademie der Wissenschaften im Internet zur Verfügung stellt. Im Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae wird ein digitales Corpus von Texten in ägyptischer (auch demotischer) Sprache zur computergestützten Recherche publiziert. Die Lemmatisation und morphosyntaktische Annotation des Textmaterials erlauben die gezielte Recherche unter lexikalischen, philologischen, linguistischen und kulturhistorischen Fragestellungen. Den Texten ist stets eine fortlaufende Übersetzung beigegeben, die insbesondere Nichtspezialisten und Forscher benachbarter Disziplinen bei der Orientierung im Material unterstützen soll.

A fantastic resource!

Zwingli’s First Mass

Huldrych Zwingli was ordained to the priesthood in 1506 and celebrated his first Mass in that same year, on the 29th of September, at his home town of Wildhaus.  Less than 10 years later (in 1515), after having come to a more mature understanding of the Bible, he began his turn towards his Reformed perspective.   Here are some scenes from Wildhaus, including the house in which Zwingli was born and the environs in which he grew to maturity.

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No Surprise Here: Homosexuality on Television

Television with Antenna

“The Good Wife” is getting a gay brother; new teen TV show “Hellcats” features a lesbian cheerleader; and as for “True Blood” — TV watchers now need two hands to count the vampires who will suck the blood of either gender. The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) characters on prime time U.S. television is growing, with 58 regular LGBT roles on network and cable shows this season, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said in a report on Wednesday.

The ‘normalization’ of homosexuality in society has been an ongoing process for many years now, in spite of the fact that homosexuality is in fact not at all ‘normal’ or ‘natural’.

GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said the increase in gay and lesbian characters on TV reflects “the shift in American culture toward greater awareness and understanding of our community.” “The recent critical and commercial success of shows like ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Glee’ clearly indicate that mainstream audiences embrace gay characters and want to see well-crafted stories about our lives,” Barrios added.

It isn’t awareness and understanding that’s the goal, though, it’s acceptance of homosexuality as a lifestyle as valid as heterosexuality. Doubtless homosexuality is already viewed as ‘normal’ by a majority in America, which only demonstrates America’s distance from the clear (and it is clear) teaching of Scripture on the proper meaning of sexuality.

By the way, no modern theologian has done a better job of outlining the biblical doctrine of sexuality than Emil Brunner (in ‘The Divine Imperative‘, Book III, Section 2).  In the opening paragraphs of that section, Brunner maintains that if the Church doesn’t address the issue of the Christian concept of marriage, its entire ethic will be of no use.  That’s how centrally he viewed the issue.  It’s a shame most Christians haven’t bothered to read it.  Consequently, culture is merely reaping what our indifference has sown.

4Q381, Fragment 104 Deciphered

Courtesy of Soren Holst, via Kasper Dalgaard-

Frg. 104 likely translation: [Ji]m[ West]?

It seems that the authors of the Scrolls knew I would exist. But what did the rest of the Scroll predict of my life? I wish I knew…

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.

A More Complete Edition of the Testimony of Raphael Golb

Can be found in the Seattle Times (of all places).  It includes such testimonial gems as

Golb testified that he made up all the names he used in his Internet debates, even if they were names of real people who were tangentially involved. He said he wrote an e-mail under Schiffman’s name as a parody to highlight his outlandish and wrong-headed actions, including stealing from his father’s research without crediting him.

Uh huh. Right.  As if Schiffman’s position on the Scrolls is in any way similar to Golb’s!


“I never intended anybody to believe that these e-mails were sent by Larry Schiffman,” he testified.

He wrote in Schiffman’s name but never intended anyone to believe it was Schiffman writing. Sure, Raphy, sure. And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’m willing to sell you cheap.  Besides that, since his arrest (until now) he has asserted that he never had anything to do with any of it.  But now he’s changed his story.  Unsurprisingly (since he’s faced with the absolute Mt. Everest of evidence already proving beyond any doubt that he did write falsely using Schiffman’s name).

Golb gave a heady, lengthy testimony Monday, full of philosophical ideas about access to the scrolls and which theories have been promoted in the press and in the academic community around the world. He invoked the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire and the early 1900s Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa as inspirations for his posts. “I used methods of satire, irony, parody and any other form of verbal rhetoric that became the type of language used by philosophers during the Enlightenment to expose the irrational arguments of their opponents,” he said.

Can anyone say ‘smoke and mirrors’ all intended to confuse and sidetrack the jury from the issue? I can’t wait till he’s cross examined. The DA is going to destroy the facade.


“My purpose was to expose the pattern of unethical conduct in the field of studies in its various forms,” he said, citing exclusion of professors, plagiarism, smearing and a lack of access. Golb said his criminal prosecution is fueled by Schiffman, who’s angry about being called a plagiarist. When questioned by defense attorney David Breitbart, Golb said he didn’t initially tell police the whole truth when they arrived to arrest him because he was scared. “I asked myself whether there was some law I had violated, and I rapidly decided no,” he said. “I had accused someone of plagiarism … these are simple matters, not criminal.” Golb’s testimony was to continue Tuesday.

Unethical? Why, Raphy, look in the mirror. That’s the face of the unethical you see; for that’s a person who pretends to be someone else (in the multiples) in order to foist off dad’s ideas. But truth, Raphy, isn’t determined by majority decision, so even if you had concocted 5 million screen names and posted support for dad under all of them, the truth of the falsity of his position would still be established. You’d think a lawyer would know that. Apparently not.

But Golb remains defiant, as the closing section of the NY Post report shows-

Asked by his lawyer, David Breitbart, if he regretted going after Schiffman, Gollb said, ”No I do not.”  ”No regret for exposing his character,” he said. Schiffman was the prosecution first witness when the trial started last week, and testified that Golb’s shenanigans with his identity left him “paralyzed” for about a month.

Of course there’s no regret- he still thinks everything he did was ok and given the chance, he’ll do it again.

Now the real fun…  when will BAR bother to notice the testimony of Golb and how will they spin it…

How Long Will America Kow-Tow and Cower Before ‘Fearsome’ Israel?

I think that’s a more direct way to pose the question than that offered by the Mail Online, whose headline, Netanyahu refuses to extend freeze on building in the West Bank in a humiliating snub to Obama, seems a bit too polite. With all due respect to the Editors of the Mail O.

While the government of Israel mocks the United States and the American government is so terrified of ‘fearsome’ Israel and its lobby here in the States along with their sidekicks the Christian Zionists, the rest of the world holds us in contempt for our utter spinelessness and kow-towing.

We are an international joke and our weakness and our leadership’s unwillingness to stand up for what’s right dishonors every citizen of our country.

B. Netanyahu, lord and master of the US Congress and Whitehouse