One of the weirder cases involving paternal pride, ancient texts and the Internet has concluded (well, until the appeal): A NY lawyer was found guilty of dozens of charges, including identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment, for trying to defend his scholar-father's stance on who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. Raphael Haim Golb was reortedly in "shock" over the verdict and his lawyer Ron Kuby criticized the jury's decision, "Today what happened was the district attorney of New York County and the trial court made hurting somebody's feelings a criminal act. In New York, hurting people's feelings or being annoying is not a crime. We call that Monday."

Well, it's possible the jury felt hat Golb's impersonation of NYU Professor Lawrence Schiffman crossed the line from "hurting feelings" to "criminal impersonation" when Golb, using an email address he created to pose as Schiffman, sent an email to NYU saying "Schiffman" plagiarized his work. Golb claimed that his email was meant as "parody" and that no professor would send an email to his university confessing plagiarism.

As for the controversial disagreement about the DSS, we turn to the NY Times:

The prevailing theory on the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls, rebutted by Mr, Golb’s father, is that they were written by a Jewish sect known as the Essenes who lived near the caves where the scrolls were found.

In a statement, Mr. Schiffman expressed regret that “academic debate was replaced by cyber crime and identity theft as a means of advancing a particular scholarly point of view.”

“Let us hope,” he added, “that the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to its real business — interpreting the ancient scrolls and explaining their significance for the history of Judaism and the background of early Christianity.”


Golb could face up to four years in prison.