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Dead Sea Scrolls Go to Court
January 14, 2013 2:27 PM   Subscribe

A brilliant young Harvard Ph.D. faces jail for impersonating a Bible scholar—and rival of his father

Want to do your own research? The scanned scrolls are available online.
posted by beisny (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
For those interested in the intrigue of academic rivalries, I highly recommend the excellent movie Footnote.
posted by beisny at 2:29 PM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sayre's Law: "Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low."
posted by Blasdelb at 2:44 PM on January 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't support his false emails, but this cannot possibly be worth all this time of a judge, prosecutor, possibly a jury, and everybody else involved. Golb is on the record that he sent the emails, we all know Schiffman didn't send the emails, and that's that. Certainly any academic institution can decide whether they want to associate themselves with Golb based on the information we already have. Schiffman is free to sue Golb in civil court if there's been some unremedied harm to his reputation he wishes to seek compensation for. So why exactly is this a good use of judicial resources?
posted by zachlipton at 2:58 PM on January 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really dislike Sayre's Law. I actually think it is absolute power corrupting absolutely. Tenured profs sometimes become petty tyrants over their fiefdoms.

The politics are not small in academia. Lives are derailed, careers are destroyed and investments of time, effort and money are casually crushed by these small stakes politics. Have a bad boss? Get another job. Have a bad advisor? Find a new career.
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 PM on January 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Wow, none of the people in this story end up looking like good people.
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:08 PM on January 14, 2013


If he were all that brilliant, he would not have done this
posted by thelonius at 3:14 PM on January 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, none of the people in this story end up looking like good people.

Golb, Sr. doesn't seem all that bad.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:18 PM on January 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bah why don't we just scan them and pipe it into google translate and be done with it...
posted by sammyo at 3:55 PM on January 14, 2013


The title is kind of weird. The junior Golb is 52 years old. Hardly "young" (though, judging by his actions, perhaps "young at heart"). And though he may have a PhD from Harvard (in what? no one says), his most recent occupation was real estate attorney (he's disbarred now, of course). Here's a NY Times article with some of these details.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:05 PM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


If he were all that brilliant, he would not have done this

If Dungeons & Dragons has taught me anything in this life, it's that Intelligence and Wisdom are separate stats.
posted by Palindromedary at 4:07 PM on January 14, 2013 [45 favorites]


For those interested in the intrigue of academic rivalries, I highly recommend the excellent movie Footnote.

That was my first thought, too! Even involves a complicated Jewish-scholar father-son pair.
posted by lunasol at 4:29 PM on January 14, 2013


But when will Raphael Golb face punishment for impersonating Art Garfunkel?
posted by cloeburner at 4:31 PM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am excited that I have four years of youth left!
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:43 PM on January 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Do I understand correctly that Schiffman believes he wasn't plagiarizing Golb Sr. because Sr. was merely arguing against the Essene theory, while Schiffman was proposing a specific theory that contradicted the Essene theory? And that Golb Jr. thought Schiffman was plagiarizing because he failed to credit Sr. with some of the anti-Essene-theory details he mentions?
posted by fatbird at 10:11 PM on January 14, 2013


@Palindromedary: I'm stealing that. It's one of the most true statements I've heard in a long time.

And now after typing out your username I find myself wondering what a Sarah Palin camel would look like.
posted by jferg at 6:18 AM on January 15, 2013


Thanks. You know, for all that it's a joke, it really is one of the foundational beliefs of my world view, and I really did first figure it out from D&D (and it's why I get so annoyed at blanket terms like "smart or "intelligent", which people tend to roll far too many unrelated mental qualities into).

It's odd where knowledge comes from sometimes.
posted by Palindromedary at 9:34 AM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


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