on recent erroneous claims made by the minnesota dead sea scrolls exhibition

Science Museum of Minnesotaa point of order, mr. speaker.

i recently came across the march 13, 2010 associated press article on the kstp.com website entitled, ‘dead sea scrolls exhibit goes on display in minn.‘ the article is publicizing the latest dead sea scrolls exhibition at the science museum of minnesota in st. paul, minnesota. before i could even get a couple of paragraphs into the article, i noticed some glaring mistakes.

i must take issue with the ap’s article on two matters. first, the article claims the following incorrect statement:

By incorporating new archaeological finds and recent scholarship, the exhibit is the first to fully present two competing theories: Were the scrolls written and collected by an ultra-religious Jewish group living in the desert? Or were the manuscripts smuggled out of Jerusalem on the eve of the Roman invasion in A.D. 70 and hidden for safekeeping in the wilderness?

this statement is not only misleading, it is downright false. and not only is the statement untrue, it is guilty of the very overly-simplistic, either-or dichotomy that has plagued dead sea scrolls scholarship for the past six decades.

let’s deal with the first problem first.

as a matter of fact, previous exhibitions have indeed discussed the multiple theories concerning the origins of the dead sea scrolls and the nature of the settlement at qumran. in my ‘ancient qumran: a virtual reality tour‘ movie that was on exhibit at the san diego natural history museum in 2007, i specifically noted that some scholars argue that the dead sea scrolls came from elsewhere and that qumran was established as a hasmonean fort. in addition, i also mentioned the multiple other theories concerning the nature of qumran, including a pottery factory, a trading depot, a tannery, a pilgrimage site, all in addition to the identification as a sectarian center. likewise, i asked who the residents of the cave were and what that meant for the origin of the dead sea scrolls.

don’t believe me? here’s a clip from the movie’s trailer:

thus, the minnesota exhibit is certainly not ‘the first to fully present two competing theories.’ it was done at san diego in 2007.

likewise, there aren’t just two theories! this ‘two salient theories’ argument has been the mantra of norman golb and his indicted son, raphael, since the dead sea scrolls began touring the united states years ago. in one of raphael golb’s anonymous blogs written under the now notorious alias ‘charles gadda,’ golb points out that the language of a simple dichotomy of ‘two salient theories’ comes, in fact, from a cambridge history of judaism article (1999, vol. 3, chap. 25) on the dead sea scrolls written by none other than norman golb himself!! here we have an example of a scholar (golb in this case) writing an article about his particular theory, using an anonymous alias to promote the article and the theory while discrediting other museum exhibitions that do not talk enough about said scholar, and a museum being influenced by a student of said scholar (in this case michael wise) to frame their exhibit in the form of the very dichotomy which was set forth by the very scholar who originally wrote the article. if that sounds confusing (and self-serving), that’s because it’s supposed to be! one of the purposes of using aliases is to disguise the origins of something to make it look objective, when in reality it is nothing more than self-citation. apparently, the minnesota dead sea scrolls exhibition was circularly talked into framing its exhibit in a manner that promotes the very scholar (golb) who originally came up with the framework adopted by the museum. thus, while multiple other museums presenting other dead sea scrolls exhibits managed to see through the charade of aliases and anonymous reports that according to the new york district attorney’s office were the product of the golbs (see here and here), the administrators of the science museum of minnesota fell prey to it. and, in an attempt to justify their decision, they have claimed to be ‘the first to fully present two competing theories,’ when, as has been shown above, that is simply not the case.

this, of course, is precisely why we’ve seen no massive, negative online campaign criticizing this minnesota exhibition like we did with seattle, san diego, north carolina, and toronto. for one, norman golb, the ludwig rosenberger professor of jewish history and civilization at the university of chicago’s oriental institute, has finally been invited to speak as a part of a dead sea scrolls exhibition. that norman golb was repeatedly not invited to speak at the various exhibitions was a major point of contention for the golbs (see here and here). second, golb’s son, raphael, was arrested on 50+ felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and unauthorized use of a computer in connection with his participation in an online smear campaign that attacked various museums and administrators, their dead sea scrolls exhibitions, and the scholars that participated in them (like lawrence schiffman, jodi magness, william schniedewind, david noel freedman, risa levitt kohn, bart erhman, myself, and others) because, in part, he felt the exhibitions did not adequately represent his father, norman’s, point of view regarding the dead sea scrolls. when golb was arrested on march 5, 2009, all online hostilities immediately ceased (with the exception of a few anonymous comments on a few articles a few months later). court documents recently made available to the public have shown that raphael, his father, norman golb, and his brother, joel golb, exchanged emails regarding critiques of the exhibitions and comments made about other scholars, and demonstrate that the golbs employed numerous aliases to propagate a campaign of criticism and harassment against scholars that disagreed with norman golb’s theories. thus, the combination of norman golb being invited to speak, the science museum of minnesota following a simplistic paradigm that golb created, and the indictment of golb’s son mean that criticism of the science museum of minnesota is not surprisingly lacking.

Michael Wise

Dr. Michael Wise, student of Norman Golb, is advisor to the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Norman Golb

Dr. Norman Golb was Michael Wise's teacher at the University of Chicago.

this leads us to ask: why has the minnesota exhibition taken this ‘new’ approach, which they claim to be original? the answer may lie in the fact that one of norman golb’s former university of chicago doctoral students, michael wise, is listed as a ‘museum consultant’ and advisor to the exhibit. now, michael wise is a fine scholar and an excellent choice as an advisor for the minnesota dead sea scrolls exhibit. he has spent his career studying the scrolls and i am certain he will be an asset to the success of the minnesota exhibition. but let us not forget that michael wise was a student of norman golb at the university of chicago. it should therefore be of no surprise that norman golb has finally been invited to speak as a distinguished lecturer at the minnesota exhibition – a demand his son, raphael, has been making anonymously on his behalf for years now. at the same time, it is unfortunate that the science museum of minnesota’s administrators have apparently (at least, accorting to the associated press’ article) bought into golb’s straw man argument that there are only two theories concerning qumran: golb’s theory and the ‘traditional’ theory.

specifically, there is a third ‘salient’ theory that essentially blends the two polar opposite approaches. it is a theory that has been researched and advanced by scholars like stephen pfann (see his articles here, where i first encountered the theory). the theory works well with the research of lawrence schiffman (nyu) and john collins (yale). i adopted this approach in my recent book, qumran through (real) time. this theory is alternatively called the ‘multi-cave’ theory, the ‘cave cluster’ theory, or the ‘multi-party’ theory (or make up your own name). but in the long run, i am convinced it will be known as the dominant theory concerning the origin of the dead sea scrolls: that different groups (including essenes, priests, zadokites, sadducees, zealots, pharisees, and/or other unknown jewish groups) hid different scrolls (including the damascus rule, the serekhs (1qs, 1qsa, and 1qsb), biblical literature, and extra-biblical/pseudepigraphical literature) in different caves or cave clusters (caves 4-5 and 7-9 immediately surrounding the qumran settlement vs. cave 1 and 2 farther away vs. cave 11 vs. cave 3, etc.) near qumran. the cave cluster theory (as pfann has dubbed it) allows for a small sectarian group (perhaps the essenes or a sub-group identifying with the essenes) at qumran to have hidden scrolls in caves 4, 5, and 7-9, while a different group (like zealots) to have hidden their scrolls in cave 11, priests (of some origin) to have hidden scrolls in caves 1 and 6, while still other unknown jewish groups to have hidden completely different scrolls in cave 3 (for example, no copies or fragments from the serekhs or the damascus rule were discovered in cave 3 with the copper scroll).

it is worth noting that this multiple cave/multiple peoples theory will be the focus of a forthcoming documentary on national geographic channel in april. of course, the great irony is that one of dr. golb’s contributions to dead sea scrolls research is the suggestion that some (not all) of the dead sea scrolls may have come from outside qumran, an idea that is now widely accepted (despite the fact that golb’s son often intentionally mischaracterized the original theory for rhetorical purposes, claiming that those who believe there was a sectarian group living at the site believed that all scrolls came from qumran, which golb held up as a straw man argument to knock down). likewise, dr. golb was correct (imho) in his understanding of qumran as having initially been constructed as a fortress, a position that yuval peleg, i, and others have accepted and that many scholars and explorers prior to dr. golb also published, such as bar-adon, masterman, dalman, among others. however, some of dr. golb’s conclusions also appear to have been in err, like his suggestion that qumran was always a fort, or the suggestion that absolutely none of the dead sea scrolls came from qumran. thus, there is evidence that some of the scrolls may have come from qumran, and evidence that some (like the copper scroll) may have not.

of course, this entire argument is lost on the science museum of minnesota’s curator of archaeology, dr. ed fleming, who later states in the article:

“Really there is no serious evidence, in my mind,” he said.

Handwriting analysis suggests the manuscripts were written by several hundred people, too many to have lived in one location. And the texts represent more than one community’s point of view.

this is the analysis from the museum curator who, according to press and with all due respect:

received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. Most of his research is focused on material culture of the Late Prehistoric period in the Upper Mississippi River.

according to fleming’s analysis, there were too many different scribal hands used in writing the scrolls (which, by the way, has been one of norman golb’s central arguments for decades) for all of the authors to have lived at qumran. but this assumes all the scrolls were written by sectarians at the same time! and yet, we know that the scrolls were not all authored all at the same time, but from the late third century bce down until 68 ce – a period of nearly 300 years! and, lest we forget, there is a cemetery adjacent to qumran consisting of nearly 1000 tombs. given magen and peleg’s (and everyone else’s except magness) calculation that the site was occupied form the mid-hasmonean period until 68 ce, if there were enough time to fill a cemetery with 1000 people, then probably more than a few of them could write over these many generations, thus explaining the diversity of scribal hands. if we add to the mix the fact that inkwells were found in a site surrounded by a tannery used for making parchment, animal bones and stables located on site that provided the leather, pottery of the same chemical composition as those ceramic vessels discovered in the caves with the scrolls, and, lest we forget, a bunch of scrolls discovered in caves 7-9 in the qumran settlement’s backyard and caves 4-5 right next to the site, then i’d say, with all due respect to dr. fleming, that there is perhaps some evidence to support a claim that some of the scrolls were created at qumran. further more, if after reading the scrolls, we read about a community of initiates (that is, not born into the sect, but joining from the outside) that sought to remove itself from what it considered a corrupt temple and into the desert, pooled their assets (explaining the wealth of coins found at the site and further explaining the diversity of scrolls brought from outside the site), and obsessed with ritual purity (explaining the presence of at least two miqva’ot or rital baths), then maybe we can explain why so many scrolls from so many different time periods from so many scribal hands could be found in the caves next to qumran. some were written there, some were brought to the site over the 150-200 years of its occupation, and some had nothing to do with the site.

but to dr. fleming, ‘really there is no serious evidence.’

alex jassen, on the other hand, the fine dead sea scrolls scholar from the university of minnesota whom i had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with this past december at the association for jewish studies annual meeting in los angeles, understands that were the scrolls all from disparate libraries throughout jerusalem and none from qumran, one would have an even harder time explaining the congruency of the scrolls (especially the sectarian manscripts), and the loathing of the contemporary jerusalem temple leadership and the sanhedrin in scrolls originating from jerusalem. simply put, arguing that all the dead sea scrolls come from jerusalem creates more problems than it solves.

the article states:

Jassen subscribes to a variation on this theory – that a religious group lived and wrote at Qumran but also brought manuscripts from other groups and places. When the Romans threatened their community, they hid their library in the caves.

“I think the evidence seems to be pretty strong that this is a unified collection that represents the distinct library of a community of ancient Jews who were quite devout in their observance of Jewish law and ritual,” he said.

the conclusion is, of course, that some of the scrolls originated from or were brought to qumran by sectarians, while other scrolls, like the scrolls from cave 3 like the copper scroll were placed there by other jews. there is no reason to force a choice between two equally bad extreme choices.

in sum, the curator of the minnesota dead sea scrolls exhibition has apparently caved in to the demands of norman golb, who along with his student, michael wise (a consultant to the exhibition), has apparently convinced museum administrators that the exhibition should follow golb’s approach to the dead sea scrolls. these museum curators are either ignorant of the contents of previous dead sea scrolls exhibitions (as demonstrated above), or have knowingly turned a blind eye to the other exhibitions and have made false claims about the nature of their exhibition. the curator of the minnesota dead sea scrolls exhibit has erroneously characterized previous scrolls exhibitions as negligent of the different theories surrounding qumran (specifically of golb’s theory), a claim that has principally been made over the years by none other than norman golb himself.

enjoy the exhibit.

(for tickets visit the science museum of minnesota website.)

denied! golb case heads to trial

Raphael and Norman Golb

Raphael Golb and his father, University of Chicago historian Dr. Norman Golb. Raphael Golb is charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of forgery, identity theft, impersonation, and aggravated harassment of several Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.

the raphael golb case is headed to trial.

on wednesday, february 24, 2010, judge carol berkman rejected raphael golb’s motions to dismiss the charges against him and rejected his motion to suppress evidence collected from his home and computers during the execution of the search warrant during his arrest.

in fact, not a single one of the 51 felony and misdemeanor counts against golb was dismissed. apparently, the judge in the case did not appreciate or accept golb’s attempt to use the protected speech afforded him in his motions to dismiss the case to further attack scholars he had already smeared in previous attacks, like professor lawrence schiffman of new york university.

this means that the emails sent between raphael golb and his brother, joel golb, his mother, ruth golb, and his father, university of chicago oriental institute historian norman golb, will be on full display for all to read and hear during the trial. some of raphael golb’s email correspondence involved norman golb’s university of chicago ‘n-golb@uchicago.edu‘ work email address. likewise, the development of the entire smear campaign over the past three years can systematically revisited and the coordinated efforts of norman and raphael golb can be demonstrated during the trial.

raphael golb was arrested on march 5, 2009 on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer in a bizarre, multi-year attempt to influence an intellectual debate involving his father, norman golb, by creating multiple aliases to smear publicly and even criminally impersonate scholars that disagreed with his father.

the trial date has been set for september 13, 2010. the defense in the case did not want to try the case in march of 2010, nor in july of 2010, but requested the delayed september date. this will place the trial just before the annual meeting of all biblical and jewish studies professors at the society of biblical literature meeting in november, as well as the annual meeting of the american schools of oriental research, a professional meeting of all archaeologists dealing with the near east.

there is always the possibility that raphael golb pleads guilty prior to the trial, but as it now stands, i and several others will begin testifying in the case september 13, 2010.

chicago maroon: e-mails in dead sea scrolls case may implicate prof norman golb

ilana kowarski of the chicago maroon (the university of chicago’s newspaper) has run a new story on the raphael golb / dead sea scrolls / identity theft scandal entitled, ‘e-mails in scrolls case may implicate prof.’ university of chicago oriental institute historian, norman golb, is quoted regarding the arrest and prosecution of his son, raphael golb, on multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, the unauthorized use of a computer, and aggravated harassment.

the article states:

Raphael allegedly targeted and harassed intellectuals who disputed his father’s theory that the Dead Sea Scrolls originate in Jerusalem, rather than in Qumran, where the Scrolls were found. He allegedly harassed scholars by disseminating false accusations about them in public blogs and through e-mails to their friends and colleagues. The prosecution wrote that this allegation is supported by e-mails to other members of the family, including Dr. Golb, in a January 19 pre-trial motion.

norman golb responded with a cleverly-worded comment:

Dr. Golb wrote in a statement Friday that the evidence does not prove his involvement.

that is to say, norman golb is not denying that he was involved, but rather is saying that the evidence released in the new york district attorney’s response to his son’s motion to dismiss the charges against him does not prove his involvement.

norman golb’s response is not unlike the response he gave to canada’s national post in response to san diego natural history museum director mick hager, when hager stated:

“It seems curious at best, that untraceable e-mails were sent to the board of directors of the San Diego Natural History Museum prior to the opening of our Dead Sea scrolls exhibition, making unfounded claims and citing Norman Golb as an expert. Even more curious is that the same thing happened in Seattle, Kansas City, Charlotte and now Toronto.”

to this, golb replied via a letter to the editor of canada’s national post:

“I am unaware of any facts supporting these unusual assertions.”

that is to say, golb then did not deny involvement prior to his son’s arrest, but stated that he was ‘unaware of any facts’ to support that allegation. of course, once his son was arrested, the ‘facts supporting these unusual assertions’ were made public via indictments and other publicly available court documents. thus, golb’s statement to the chicago maroon is not a denial, but rather is his understanding of the evidence that will be presented in the coming trial of his son. he feels that the facts/evidence does not prove his involvement. a jury will decide.

likewise, according to the article, norman golb is now claiming that he is the victim in this case:

Dr. Golb suggested Cargill had taken issue with a sour turn in a scholarly debate, leading to the court case. “As the consequence of a long-standing academic dispute, a campaign of personal attacks is now being waged against me and my family. Claimed ‘evidence’ is being grossly distorted for unworthy purposes and removed from context,” Dr. Golb wrote in the statement.

so apparently, as long as one is on the offensive attacking other scholars behind a veil on anonymity, it is a legitimate endeavor. but, as soon as the curtain is pulled back and the true identity of those behind the green curtain is exposed, and the perpetrators are rightly prosecuted for their alleged crimes, this is a personal attack.  this is a victim mentality at it’s finest. go figure.

norman golb also stated:

“It is perfectly normal for any academic family to express indignation in the case of its members being silenced, excluded, and misrepresented or, to all appearances, plagiarized. In the present case, fair-minded people with knowledge of the circumstances will quite readily come to understand who the victims and the victimizers are.”

again, golb is apparently attempting to frame his son’s defense about his ongoing claim that he and his views have been unfairly ‘silenced, excluded, and misrepresented or, to all appearances, plagiarized,’ and not about the crimes allegedly committed by his son, raphael, in this specific case. it appears as if golb is either attempting to justify his and his son’s actions as just retaliation for the treatment he believes he has received over the past few decades, or, that he is attempting to divert attention from the criminal charges in the case against his son by arguing the defense one might expect in a civil suit against him, his sons, and his employer, the university of chicago.

it is also interesting to note that this is the first time (that i can recall) that norman golb himself suggests that he has been ‘to all appearances, plagiarized.’ his son accused someone of it, but this is the first time i’ve seen norman golb himself use the word in this case.

i replied in the article:

“A little professional jealousy can be a powerful motivator for scholars, encouraging them to focus on their work and produce new and better scholarship. However, when this jealousy, greed, or malice reaches a point where an individual is furtively, yet tenaciously and ubiquitously attempting to smear another scholar to the extent that Raphael Golb and perhaps members of his family are alleged to have done, it runs the danger of crossing into civilly actionable and even criminally actionable activity,” Cargill said in an e-mail interview.

the article also mentions one of the most implicating emails in the scandal:

The court documents allege Raphael sent e-mails to his brother and mother from alias accounts, including one dated July 24, 2008, that says, “By the way, if Dad has some comment on the latest Charles Gadda [an alleged alias of Raphael’s] exchange, he can send it through your e-mail, that way there would be no trace of it in his account.”

the full extent of the publicly available evidence against golb is available here and here.


interestingly, the article did not include some of the answers i gave in response to questions asked by the article’s author regarding the case.

i was asked about our notifying the oriental institute and university of chicago administrators about norman golb’s activities. specifically, i was asked about an exchange of letters between me and oi administrators and the university’s general counsel. the questions and answers were as follows:

>>When were letters sent to the Oriental Institute?

we first contacted the oi about norman golb in late in 2007. beyond that, i have no comment.

>>What did those letters say?

out of respect for the private correspondence between us and the oi, i shall not divulge the contents of the email.

>>To your knowledge, did the Oriental Institute take any action as a result of this correspondence?

i have no knowledge of whether or not the oi or the university of chicago have opened an ethical misconduct investigation or a criminal activity investigation into the actions of norman golb.

shortly after our exchange of letters in feb. 2009, the oi promptly removed a document dr. golb had written about me from the oi website. a few weeks later, raphael golb was arrested.

(the oi’s announcement noting the removal of the document is here: http://oi.uchicago.edu/pdf/san_diego_virtual_reality_2007.pdf)

>>If the allegations against Raphael Golb are true, do you think Prof. Golb or the University of Chicago are at all responsible for the alleged crimes?

no comment.

court docs detail raphael golb’s harassment of robert cargill

Raphael Golb

Raphael Golb is accused of multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of forgery, identity theft, impersonation, and aggravated harassment.

on march 5, 2009, raphael golb, son of university of chicago oriental insitute historian norman golb, was arrested on 51 felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, aggravated harassment, and the unauthorized use of a computer. golb’s arrest set in motion a bizarre and twisted path towards his trial, complete with motions to dismiss the charges, motions to suppress evidence seized during his arrest, and the use of these very motions to further attack his victims with the verbatim claims made by the very aliases he still refuses to admit being. golb claims his impersonation, forgery, and identity theft amount to nothing more than ‘satire’ and ‘free speech,’ but yet is not confident enough in his own defense to admit that he made the very ‘speech’ in question.

but for many of us, raphael golb’s arrest only marked the latest phase of a three-year old investigation into his identity and activity. the passing of time may have caused many to forget just what the golbs did that led to this point. additionally, many never really knew much of what the golbs were doing furtively, behind the scenes, to harass and intimidate their victims. everyone could read ‘charles gadda’s’ posts on the internet, but because i did not discuss the case publicly prior to golb’s arrest, many are unaware of the actions taken by raphael, joel, and norman golb behind the scenes to damage their victims, including me.

recent filings in the case of the people of the state of new york v. raphael golb have made public some disturbing emails and other communications sent by the golbs to one another detailing how they should harass and intimidate me and effectively “ruin my career.” i knew that some of this was going on, but prior to the hard evidence provided by the new york district attorney’s office in publicly available court documents, i had no idea the extent to which the golbs were determined to damage my career and me personally.

below are some excerpts from a recent court filing detailing emails sent between norman golb’s sons, raphael and joel, detailing their motives and intent to ‘harass and unsettle’ me, and to explicitly damage my career.


Excerpts from

AFFIRMATION IN RESPONSE
TO THE DEFENDANT’S
MOTIONS TO DISMISS,
MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE
RECOVERED VIA SEARCH
WARRANT, AND REQUEST FOR AN ADVISORY
OPINION
Indictment No. 2721/2009

(pdf)

66. Defendant’s animosity towards victim Dr. Cargill also bears an eerie parallel to the Wise incident. Robert Cargill was working on his Ph.D. when he was the subject of an anonymous smear campaign by the Golb/Gadda aliases that lasted over a year. Much of this smear campaign seemed designed to prevent him from getting his Ph.D. Thus, Dr. Cargill was at a crucial phase in his academic career (working on a Ph.D.), just as Dr. Wise was at a crucial phase in his career some twenty years prior, with respect to tenure. Also, defendant’s harassment of Dr. Cargill included insinuations that he had copied another’s work.

Defendant’s intent to harass Dr. Cargill is evidenced within email communications:

78. The harassment count as to Dr. Cargill differs from the harassment counts as to Drs. Schiffman and Goranson, because the defendant did not impersonate Dr. Cargill. Since the defendant did impersonate Drs. Schiffman and Goranson, it is reasonable to infer that one motivation for the impersonation was to harass them. With respect to defendant’s actions towards Dr. Cargill, email evidence assists in showing the defendant’s intent to harass Dr. Cargill. For example, on January 19, 2008, there is an email discussion between Golb/Gadda alias Robert Dworkin and his brother Joel Golb, about a proposed email to Professor Carter, Chair of the UCLA department in which Robert Cargill and his Ph.D. advisor Dr. Schniedewind worked. Joel Golb takes issue with some proposed language that reads “…my intent in writing to you has not been to harm Mr. Cargill’s academic career prospects”. Joel Golb writes: “Clearly, for all who read this, one of the purposes of Dworkin’s devastating letter will be, precisely, to destroy the career prospects of a really nice guy” [emphasis added].

79. Further discussion regarding a similar proposed email to Professor Carter took place on March 13, 2008. On March 13,2008, Joel Golb writes that he approves of the proposed email, and writes that it “will merely serve to harass and unsettle a bit… ” (emphasis added).

80. On March 15, 2008, in an email between Joel Golb and Golb/Gadda alias Jesse Friedman, about Drs. Cargill and Schniedewind, Joel Golb indicates the possibility that “both their careers may well be ruined.”

81. Multiple emails were indeed sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda aliases complaining about Dr. Cargill and his Ph.D. project. Dr. Cargill’s apparent Christian background is attacked, and he is even accused of copying someone else’s work. On January 18, 2008, and several times thereafter, emails were sent to Professor Carter and multiple other UCLA email accounts from Golb/Gadda alias Don Matthews. On February 8, 2008, and several times thereafter, emails were sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda alias Emily Kaufman, with multiple UCLA employees copied. On February 9, 2008, and at least one time thereafter, emails were sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda alias Steve Frankel, with multiple UCLA employees copied. On March 19, 2008, an email was sent to Professor Carter from Golb/Gadda alias Joshua Reznick, with multiple UCLA employees copied.

82. From the period of June 2007 to June 2009, Golb/Gadda aliases Steve Frankel, Carlo Gadda, Don Matthews, David Kaplan, Emily Kaufman, Jesse Friedman, and Robert Dworkin sent dozens of emails to hundreds of “ucla.edu” recipients, as well as other individuals, all attacking Dr. Cargill. The volume of defendant’s alias creation, and his planning with others, speaks to the deliberate intent in conducting defendant’s operation.

83. Defendant’s pattern of conduct, and surrounding facts, further indicate that defendant’s motives were less than innocent. For example, the campaign surrounding Dr. Schiffman was clearly designed to damage his career based upon the content. The impersonating emails crafted by the defendant even specifically indicated that Dr. Schiffman’s career was “at stake”. Such conduct as to Dr. Schiffman is relevant as to defendant’s intent as to Dr. Cargill.

84. As previously indicated, there is no legal requirement that harassing communication must be made directly to the victim. In fact, it is apparent that this type of harassment, when made indirectly to the victim through dozens of communications with hundreds of the victim’s colleagues, can be more harassing than direct communication with the victim. Defendant knew that these emails would ultimately affect Cargill in a manner designed to harass and alarm him. In fact, sending emails to third parties is more offensive than sending emails directly to Dr. Cargill. If Dr. Cargill received direct harassing emails from any of defendant’s dozens of aliases, he could simply delete the email, and block each successive sock puppet email account. It would be easier for Dr. Cargill to block the email accounts than it would be for the defendant to keep creating new accounts. However, Dr. Cargill cannot block or delete emails sent to dozens or hundreds of his associates. Rather, he is forced to field question after question from others about the negative content of the emails. Notably, this pattern of attack was taking place at a crucial period during Dr. Cargill’s academic career, and it attacked the basis of Dr. Cargill’s Ph.D. project.

85. In sum, the inference from the totality of defendant’s conduct is that the defendant maliciously spread false information with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, defraud, deceive, and injure.

=== END TRANSCRIPT ===


the above speaks to the specific motive and intent to do harm to me and damage my career. in fact, the intent to do damage is quite explicit. after living through that experience, and after coupling golb’s sons’ activities with the signed letters from the hand of norman golb, it appears that they were all in it together. dr. golb would write formal letters of complaint and appear above the fray, while the sons would attack me relentlessly online using aliases in coordination with norman golb.

having contacted the director of the oriental institute directly, and having corresponded with the general counsel‘s office of the university of chicago about dr. golb’s activities, and with no real action being taken to investigate norman golb’s ethical and professional behavior in this matter, i must assume that the university of chicago has full knowledge of these proceedings, and is tacitly endorsing them. either that, or they are culpable of negligence in this matter, in that they have as of yet taken no action to stop golb, or even to investigate the matter.

again i must ask: is this the kind of behavior tolerated or promoted by the oriental institute? by the university of chicago?

the bigger question is: are the premeditated and well-coordinated deeds of norman golb and his sons actionable in civil court?

bombshell: ny da’s response to raphael golb’s motion to dismiss charges and suppress evidence reveals norman golb’s knowledge of the campaign

Raphael and Norman Golb

Raphael Golb and his father, University of Chicago historian Dr. Norman Golb. Raphael Golb is charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of forgery, identity theft, impersonation, and aggravated harassment of several Dead Sea Scrolls scholars.

court docs allege:
norman golb knew about the smear campaign!

court docs also allege:
norman golb participated in the smear campaign against other scholars.

in fact, according to email transcripts contained in the january 19, 2010 new york district attorney’s response to raphael golb’s motion to dismiss all charges and suppress evidence, norman golb actively participated in the smear campaign against fellow dead sea scrolls scholars by providing phone call and email talking points.

court documents show that norman golb’s other son, joel, was involved as well.

in fact, according to court docs, norman golb’s wife, ruth, was involved too. norman golb went so far as to use his wife ruth’s email account to disguise his involvement in the event that his email was ever compromised.

the smear campaign was a golb family affair! (based upon evidence in court docs)

for those interested in this seemingly never-ending scandal, the new york district attorney prosecuting the case against raphael golb has responded to golb’s motions to dismiss. it is now posted online. (these docs are publicly available.) raphael golb, son of university of chicago oriental institute historian norman golb, stands accused of 51 counts of criminal impersonation, identity theft, forgery, aggravated harassment, and unauthorized use of a computer. a full account of the scandal can be found at http://www.who-is-charles-gadda.com.

below are excerpts from the:

AFFIRMATION IN RESPONSE TO THE DEFENDANT’S MOTIONS TO DISMISS, MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE RECOVERED VIA SEARCH WARRANT, AND REQUEST FOR AN ADVISORY OPINION

note in particular, exhibit c (transcribed below), which gives only some of the email evidence the new york district attorney’s office used to bring charges against raphael golb.

key lines to watch for:

“By the way, if Dad has some comment on the latest Charles Gadda exchange, he can send it through your email, that way there would be no trace of it in his account.” – Raphael Golb

“…they know Gadda is Golb’s son, meaning they are faced with a dedicated, in-the-know adversary who is out to get them, and there’s simply nothing they can do about it.” – Raphael Golb

“we can’t send via Dad’s email so we’ll send via mine” – Ruth Golb (Norman Golb’s Wife, Raphael Golb’s Mother)

“Dad thinks that if Crawford was invited it’s because she’s Frank Cross’s student and someone must have been in back of it since she’s the least competent of all of them.” – Ruth Golb

“… Mom and I also found of interest the latest item you sent us, i.e. the one from the writer living in Raleigh (or thereabouts). The recent blogs by Dworkin et al. are obviously having effect,” – Norman Golb

“Schiffman is such a sleaze and behaves as though he has nothing to fear -this makes sense to me. Love, Mom” – Ruth Golb

“Would you like me to inform them using an alias, or do you prefer to contact them yourself?” – Raphael Golb to Norman Golb

“your contribution was posted 2 minutes after my own posting–wouldn’t it have been better to wait a while to avoid the impression that we are collaborating or are indeed one and the same person?” – Joel Golb to Raphael Golb

“I really don’t think I ruined anything by coming on — the tone of my thing was quite different from yours, along with links. It’s part of Gadda’s persona to always come on late at night with jabs at these people, quoting the New York Times and similar sources. Why shouldn’t he have picked up on Ignorant Gnostic’s statement?” – Raphael Golb in response to Joel Golb

…. So I think Dworkin should be extremely careful to make sure the mail is totally untraceable–even going so far as to mail from an internet cafe–and it might actually be time in the next few weeks to simply throw out his old computer and replace it with one of those extremely inexpensive PCs one can now get… – Joel Golb to Raphael Golb alias “Robert Dworkin”


EXHIBIT C

Summary of, and Excerpts of,
Certain Email Communications

These emails are provided to help demonstrate defendant’s intent and motive.

EMAILS BETWEEN THE GOLBS CONCERNING THE UPCOMING JEWISH MUSEUM EXHIBIT, THAT ASSIST IN DEMONSTRATING DEFENDANT’S INTENT AND MOTIVE REGARDING HIS SUBSEQUENT IMPERSONATION OF DR. SCHIFFMAN

On July 24, 2008 at 11:57 PM Raphael Golb (raphael.g@mindspring.com) wrote to Ruth Golb (ruthgolb@gmail.com), his mother:

… I saw Dan F. today. Unfortunately, he’s probably not going to be able to accomplish anything [at the Jewish Museum]… Thus, he has no influence over them. He does, however, know the curator (Susan Braunstein), and will speak to her about it (but she might be on vacation). She will probably resist, however, and then he will be able to do nothing.

This makes it all the more important that Dad try and do something about this via Benny Kedar. There is no shame in asking to see the list of lecturers (“Look, I don’t want to tell you who to invite and not to invite, but I would be curious to see who you have invited”) and pointing out that they could have had the courtesy to invite him, after everything he has done to help them improve the exhibits.

By the way, if Dad has some comment on the latest Charles Gadda exchange, he can send it through your email, that way there would be no trace of it in his account. [emphasis added]

Raph

On July 26, 2008, Raphael Golb (raphael.g@mindspring.com) wrote:

… what must be truly maddening to them is that they know Gadda is Golb’s son, meaning they are faced with a dedicated, in-the-know adversary who is out to get them, and there’s simply nothing they can do about it. I believe the blogging campaign has put pressure on them and possibly contributed to what we are seeing now with the Jewish Museum. [emphasis added]

On July 28, 2008, at 9:32am, Raphael Golb (raphael.g@mindspring.com) emailed Dr. Norman Golb (n-golb@uchicago.edu) a link to a Nowpublic blog by Gadda concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Jewish Museum, with subject “new nowpublic item on new york exhibit” and text “Dad — there’s a new article out by Gadda — http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/dead-sea-scrolls-coming-new-york”

On July 28, 2008, at 2:56pm, Ruth Golb emailed Raphael Golb and indicated “we can’t send via Dad’s email so we’ll send via mine”

On July 30, 2008, at 2:08pm, Raphael Golb emailed his family with a proposed email to be sent to Susan Braunstein, curator of the Jewish Museum.

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 2:08 PM, wrote:
Mom, Dad, Joel,
how about this:
Dear Ms. Braunstein,
I am the son of Norman Golb (author of Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?).
I live in New York, and I have heard that an exhibit of the scrolls will soon be opening at the Jewish Museum. If you can spare a moment one afternoon, I would greatly appreciate having the opportunity to meet you; I have some information on recent developments that could be of interest to you.
Raphael Golb, Ph.D.

On July 30,2008, at 3:16pm, Ruth Golb responded:

“No, no, no for a few reasons. But let Dad write to B. K. tomorrow. ” [indicating Benny Kedar]

On July 30, 2008, at 3:46pm, Raphael Golb responded:

Okay, but we are very quickly running out of time on this one. [emphasis added] New York is far away from Jerusalem and I suspect it is not a primary concern of Benny Kedar’s. Incidentally, is Dad on good terms with anyone at the Jewish Theological Seminary?

In Dad’s letter, he should perhaps point out that the Jewish Museum is one of Judaism’s most prominent cultural institutions (hinting that its reputation is at stake), and ask if Katz will be taking steps to ensure that the decisions taken at the meeting will be concretely applied to the exhibit there.

On July 30, 2008, at 4:07pm, Raphael Golb wrote to Ruth Golb:[,]

I just called Dan about this and he immediately said there was no way Braunstein would ever meet with me, because she’s a “big shot.” He insisted that she must indeed be “au courant” because she is very clever, and that nothing he tells her will make any difference anyway because she will simply do what she wants. (Meanwhile, she has not returned his calls, because she must be busy setting up the exhibit and she probably assumes that he is just calling her for social reasons.)

My conclusion: the only way of getting through to her would be to directly inform her of the meeting. Ideally, Benny Kedar would call her himself, but again, I can understand Dad’s reluctance to be pushy. The only realistic possibility is for Kedar to instruct Katz to call Braunstein with a request that the additional information be added to the exhibit.

On July 30, 2008, at 6:18pm, Raphael Golb wrote to Ruth Golb:

I just spoke with Dan R; I could tell that basically he didn’t have the courage to ask Braunstein to invite Dad; he kept suggesting that I come to the lectures and ask questions afterwards to rebut the speakers; when I explained why that wouldn’t work, he suggested that Dad himself show up at Schiffman’s lecture (at Dan F.’s expense, hotel and everything); when I explained why Dad wouldn’t do that, he suggested that Dad write to Braunstein, pointing out that the speakers are not balanced and that he would be willing to give a talk at his own expense to rebut them…

On July 30, 2008, at 9:04pm, Ruth Golb wrote Raphael Golb:

Dad thinks that if Crawford was invited it’s because she’s Frank Cross’s student and someone must have been in back of it since she’s the least competent of all of them.

Now, if Dad is to use the Schiffman thing, he needs the exact quote of Schiffman’s and page number. Dad doesn’t have a copy of the book here.

The following email thread indicates the Golbs’ interest in who was speaking at the Jewish Museum, and refers to the fact that Dr. Schuller and Dr. Crawford were both students of Dr. Frank Cross.

On July 31,2008 Raphael Golb wrote Ruth Golb and wrote:

I doubt if this has anything to do with Cross — it could easily have come from the usual Katz recommended list, and simply result from the fact that Braunstein is a woman and that the idea of the lecture (“Women at Qumran”) seemed interesting and different to her — something that would interest the audience.

On July 31, 2008, Ruth Golb wrote to Raphael Golb:

Poor Dan. He means well, but the politics of this is beyond him. His suggestions would not be appropriate, of course.
Dad thinks that if Crawford was invited it’s because she’s Frank Cross’s student and someone must have been in back of it since she’s the least competent of all of them. Now, if Dad is to use the Schiffman thing, he needs the exact quote of Schiffman’s and page number. Dad doesn’t have a copy of the book here.
Mom

On August 05, 2008, 12:39am, Raphael Golb Wrote to Norman Golb under subject “schuller — harvard”:

Ph.d. Harvard, student of Cross just like the other one.

On August 06, 2008, 7:06pm, Raphael Golb wrote to Norman Golb:

Dad —
You will be amused to learn that the announcement of Schuller’s lecture has disappeared from the Jewish Museum website, at least for now. I have a feeling they have decided to try and keep it a secret for as long as possible…
Raph

On August 10,2008, at 1:10am, Norman Golb wrote to Raphael Golb:

… Mom and I also found of interest the latest item you sent us, i.e. the one from the writer living in Raleigh (or thereabouts). The recent blogs by Dworkin et al. are obviously having effect,

On August 10, 2008, 1:32am, Raphael Golb wrote to Norman Golb:


Would you like me to inform them using an alias, or do you prefer to contact them yourself? I’m sure they will ignore this anyway (perhaps not Orion, but the others certainly will).

On August 4, 2008, Raphael Golb wrote (apparently to Ruth Golb):

I was wrong in my assumption about the woman lecturer — it is Eileen Marie Schuller, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, McMaster University — no doubt just as bad as the other one, but nonetheless not the same.

Raph

On Mon, Aug 11,2008 Ruth Golb wrote to Raphael Golb:

Hi Raph,
Dad is still sleeping but I think you’re on to something here. Schiffman is such a sleaze and behaves as though he has nothing to fear -this makes sense to me.
Love,
Mom

On August 14, 2008, Raphael Golb wrote to Ruth Golb:

Okay — we absolutely need to speak on the phone before Dad gives his lecture. Weston Fields responded to Friedman with a “thank you very much for this information!” note. I have a hunch Fields and Broshi might try and set him up, with people here and there in the audience shouting out things like “why don’t you write a Nowpublic article on that, or will you have your son do it for you?” to try and rattle him. He needs to be very seriously prepared for that sort of thing — he should write down a few notes on what to say if that should happen, and bring them along with the text of the lecture so that he doesn’t feel caught off guard. (Possible responses: “you think I care about internet junk? I don’t know which of my sons you’re referring to, but they both have jobs, and if they chat on-line, they’re entitled to their opinion. now are you going to keep interrupting my talk, or can we go on?”) He must also prepare himself for a more “scientific” set up, people here and there in the audience attempting to point out every little weakness they can find.

EMAILS AMONG THE GOLBS THAT DEMONSTRATE COORDINATION OF DEFENDANT’S SOCK PUPPET ACTIVITIES AND MAINTAINING ANONYMITY, WHICH ASSIST IN DEMONSTRATING DEFENDANT’S INTENT AND MOTIVE

On July 2, 2008, Golb/Gadda alias Jesse Friedman wrote to Joel Golb (j.golb@snafu.de)

I am sorry — I forgot to “activate” the phillipcoleman@yahoo.com account yesterday — mea culpa. Try again on the site, I think it will work now. Phillip_Coleman.

Where they ask you for your city and phone number, try Philadelphia, 19134 is zipcode and invent a phone number — area code is 215. You can always be on vacation if they inquire (but so far none of my aliases have received the slightest hint of attention).

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/story/1123440.html

You should also try posting on the other site again. The woman has returned from vacation, and look how she has updated her original posting! — with a quote from the latest comment by “Dead Sea Scrolls student”…

http ://blog.news-record.com/staff/frontpew/archives/2008/06/dead_sea_scroll.shtml

On August 3, 2007, defendant (using personal email account raphael.g@mindspring.com) emailed Joel Golb and wrote:

I see you called–was at the library all day–Gadda has now published a definitive attack against these people–please let me know if you see any typos, etc., I will pass the info on to him if I see him–

http://www.nowpublic.com/christian_fundamentalism_and_dead_sea_scrolls_san_diego

On Jul 25, 2008, 5:54am, Joel Golb wrote to Raphael Golb:

your contribution was posted 2 minutes after my own posting–wouldn’t it have been better to wait a while to avoid the impression that we are collaborating or are indeed one and the same person? You want me to help on this–then please preserve Gnostic’s outward integrity as an independent contributor

On July 25, 2008, 11:27am, Raphael Golb wrote to Joel Golb:

Relax — it would have been unusual if I hadn’t posted anything — they would have started insinuating I was using another alias.

2 minutes — actually it was more like an hour or two, but if it says 2 minutes that’s good — how can I be in two places at the same time?

On July 25, 2008, 4:58pm, Raphael Golb wrote to Joel Golb:

I’m just getting home from stuff. From your exchange with Dad, I see that he apparently didn’t get my other emails which would explain why he never got back to me.

I really don’t think I ruined anything by coming on — the tone of my thing was quite different from yours, along with links. It’s part of Gadda’s persona to always come on late at night with jabs at these people, quoting the New York Times and similar sources. Why shouldn’t he have picked up on Ignorant Gnostic’s statement?

The following emails further demonstrate the coordination between Raphael and Joel Golb, and confusion about the volume of anonymous blogs:

On September 17, 2008, 12:55pm, Joel Golb emailed Raphael Golb:

there has been a new comment added to the Now Public site….

Raphael Golb responded with:

which article, the plagiarism thing? let them fight it out, whether someone plagiarized dad isn’t my concern, i am focused on the institutional problem, i’m around now if you can call.

On Sep 18, 2008, at 2:43am, Joel Golb wrote to Raphael Golb:

the Now Public article

On September 18, 2008, 2:45am, Raphael Golb responded to Joel Golb and stated:

look, i don’t know which article you’re talking about, there are nine of them — just give me a call, i need to tell you something anyway

A June 17, 2008 email from j.friedman47@gmail.com (a Golb/Gadda alias) to j.golb@snafu.de (the email account of Joel Golb in Germany) indicates discussion about the use of proxies, and discusses a Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit that was opening in North Carolina. The use of an internet proxy is a method of disguising one’s internet protocol address, the identifier that indicates which computer is accessing a computer at a given place and time.

“they are clearly accepting messages submitted through proxies, it must be some kind of glitch in their system — we are now up to 17 comments (see latest by sandy greenberg and martin elderling)…”

A November 4, 2007 email between robertdworkin@gmail.com (a Golb/Gadda alias) and j.golb@snafu.de (the email account of Joel Golb) contains discussion about an outline to use concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls, with the subject “scrap last outline–use this instead (dad phoned with some suggestions)”. This email implies that Norman Golb called Joel Golb, gave suggestions to the outline, which Joel Golb passed on to Raphael Golb in this email. This also implies that both Joel Golb and Norman Golb know that Raphael Golb is using at least some internet aliases.

A January 18, 2008 email between robertdworkin@gmail.com (an alias of Raphael Golb) and j.golb@snafu.de (the email account of Joel Golb) discusses keeping emails anonymous and untraceable, and some confusion about which alias will be used to send emails from NYU computers.

Subject: Re: revised version
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 05:38:23 +0100
From: Joel Golb <j.golb@snafu.de>
To: robert dworkin <robertdworkin@gmail.com>

…. So I think Dworkin should be extremely careful to make sure the mail is totally untraceable–even going so far as to mail from an internet cafe–and it might actually be time in the next few weeks to simply throw out his old computer and replace it with one of those extremely inexpensive PCs one can now get…

There is email correspondence between Raphael Golb’s alias accounts and Dr. Golb, however it never overtly acknowledges a partnership. However Raphael Golb alias accounts have forwarded to Dr. Norman Golb email exchanges that the alias account (or another alias account) had with third parties. For example:

On August 15, 2007, email account robert.dwokin@gmail.com (a Golb/Gadda alias) sent email account n-golb@uchicago.edu (email account of Dr. Norman Golb) an email that forwarded a communication between robertdworkin@gmail.com and an employee at the LA Times concerning the Dead Sea Scrolls.

On March 31, 2008, email account joshua.reznick@yahoo.com (a Golb/Gadda alias) sent three successive emails to email account n-golb@uchicago.edu (email account of Dr. Norman Golb). These three successive emails appear to be revisions of the prior emails, and while formal in tone, the successive emails do not reference the preceding emails. In other words, if they did not know each other well, one would expect some sort of acknowledgment or apology for sending successive similar emails. These March 31, 2008 emails invite Dr. Norman Golb to correspond with the individual that email account joshua.reznick@yahoo.com had been corresponding with, and includes a copy of the prior correspondence. It is reasonable to infer that the successive emails represent successive revisions, with the final version being what Dr. Norman Golb would show to the person that the Golb/Gadda had been corresponding with.

On July 15, 2008, email account j.friedman47@gmail.com (a Golb/Gadda alias) sent email account n-golb@uchicago.edu (email account of Dr. Norman Golb) an email that forwarded a communication between jerome.cooper2@gmail.com (another alias of Raphael Golb) and a professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls.

On December 16,2008, defendant (using email address raphael.g@mindspring.com) emailed Dr. Golb (at n-golb@uchicago.edu) under the subject line “Canadian Jewish academic site links museum controversy”

http://www.cijr.com/Israzine/israzine_Home.htm

You will see that they make a mistake (referring to you several times as “Norman Golb and Ludwig Rosenberger”) to which I believe someone has alerted them in case they can (or desire) to change it. Nonetheless, this arguably puts greater pressure on the museum. Notice that they have also linked one of Gadda’s articles

=== END TRANSCRIPT ===


the evidence is compelling.

but given this new evidence, we must also ask:

  • has the university of chicago opened an ethics investigation into the behavior of norman golb?
  • is this the kind of professional behavior encouraged and endorsed by the university of chicago?
  • if it can be shown that letters were sent to university of chicago administrators bringing this matter of golb’s actions to their attention, and they did not act and failed to investigate golb, is the university complicit, either via negligence or tacit endorsement, in golb’s activity?
  • given this new evidence, will the university of chicago open an ethics investigation into the activities of norman golb?

more to follow soon…

on recent news about the ‘cloak and browser’ case against raphael golb

Raphael (left) and Norman Golb

Raphael (left) and Norman Golb. Raphael Golb is accused of multiple felony and misdemeanor counts of identity theft, forgery, criminal impersonation, and aggravated harassment while using aliases to promote the views of his father, Dr. Norman Golb, and smear the names of his father's perceived opponents.

raphael haim golb was back in court on wed. nov. 3, 2009, providing the latest episode in the ever-enthralling ‘cloak and browser’ internet anonymity scandal involving the son of university of chicago historian norman golb, who impersonated another scholar and confessed to plagiarism in his name.

in his about new york column, new york times columnist jim dwyer wrote a nov. 6, 2009 piece about the raphael golb internet scandal entitled, ‘2,000-year-old scrolls, internet-era crime.’ likewise, the associated press wrote a summary of golb’s recent nov 4, 2009 court proceedings entitled, ‘lawyer claims parodies, pranks at risk in dead sea scrolls case.’ likewise, jennifer peltz of the associated press also wrote an article entitled, ‘ny case spotlights dead sea scrolls, fake e-mails‘ which appears on yahoo news. clearly, this case is important both for its implications regarding anonymity, impersonation, and identity theft on the internet, and its repercussions for scholarship within the academy.

and each day that this case drags on, university of chicago historian norman golb’s legacy and reputation becomes more associated with scandal, dishonesty, internet crime and academic fraud, and less associated with his life of scholarship. yet, raphael golb’s defense is insisting that golb’s actions are protected by the first amendment to the constitution.

recent proceedings in the case of the people of new york vs. raphael golb

while the recent press coverage of the golb scandal has been fair, it is relaying some claims by the defense that are misleading or simply not true.

for instance, in his new york times article, dwyer states:

For a while, no one knew that 50 different names in the Dead Sea Scrolls debate were the prolific Mr. Golb…

this is incorrect. i knew, as did a host of others. we all knew. i knew who it was. i tracked everything he did. the potential libel and defamation were civil matters, and i wanted an accurate log of everything golb did or wrote. but when he crossed the line and acted criminally by impersonating nyu professor dr. lawrence schiffman, i contacted schiffman (as i had done with several other scholars before him), told him who was behind it, and handed what i had collected over to the ny district attorney’s office.

======

another instance is the claim by raphael golb’s attorney, ronald kuby, that what golb did is commonplace. according to dwyer, golb’s lawyer:

argued that prosecutors were trying to criminalize the commonplace. Both sides in the Dead Sea Scrolls debate, they said, use “sock puppets” — fake identities — on the Internet to make it seem as if scores of people are arguing a point.

“These bloggers marshaled their legion of sock puppets to engage in intellectual combat with the sock puppets allegedly created by Raphael Golb and others,” the lawyers wrote.

XKV8R License Plate

XKV8R (excavator) is currently the California license plate for Dr. Robert Cargill's hybrid Toyota Prius

this statement contains multiple problems. first, where is the ‘legion of sock puppets’ about which golb’s attorney speaks? golb had over 80 aliases (‘alias’ defined as a pseudonym intended to mask the true identity of an author). we know the alias’ names. but to argue that golb was simply battling against other aliases is misleading. many on the internet have internet ‘user names‘, nicknames, or ‘handles’ (like old cb radio handles), but these are not intended to disguise identity. for instance one of my handles is bobcargill (all lower case, one word) – not really much of a disguise. all of the posts i make on this blog are done in the username of ‘bobcargill.’ my user name/handle on wikipedia is ‘xkv8r‘ (previously ‘israelxkv8r‘). again, this handle points to my wikipedia user page, which is complete with pictures and a full biography, making my identity easily known. additionally, the fact that xkv8r.com redirects to my bobcargill.com website, and serves as my california license plate number makes it quite clear exactly who i am.

however, this is not the case with raphael golb. on several occasions, golb vehemently protested discussion about his true identity on wikipedia, perhaps fearful that were his true identity to be made known, he would be the target of any number of civil lawsuits. likewise, raphael golb was always careful to not betray any privy knowledge of or communication with his father, norman golb, for were it ever shown that raphael golb was in direct communication with his father, it may pose the same potential problem for norman golb and his employer, the university of chicago. therefore, raphael golb went to a great lengths to conceal his identity. criminals usually don’t like it when victims know who is behind the mask. but, the rest of us on the internet are not concerned whether the public knows who we are. this is because we are not cowards, but are willing to stand behind the free speech we make.

there is another problem with this line of defense. sock puppets are unfortunately a reality on the internet. but, this does not make them appropriate or legal in certain contexts. for instance, wikipedia prohibits the use of sock puppets on their site. ironically, it was golb’s use of multiple sock puppets on wikipedia (‘critical_reader‘, ‘philip kirby,’ and ultimately ‘rachel.greenberg‘) that provided the final piece of evidence we needed to prove that all of the sock puppets were, in fact, tied to alias ‘charles gadda,’ and therefore to raphael golb. thus, sockpuppetry is not permitted on several of the forums in which raphael golb participated, and it was the reason golb was banished from wikipedia.

the use of aliases by raphael golb was not to promote free speech, but to disguise criminal activity!

======

another problem stems from the defense’s categorization of the crime. according to the associated press, golb’s lawyer, ronald kuby said:

“It’s usually very difficult to fit this into a (criminal) legal pigeonhole,”

the problem is: it’s not. again, golb is not being tried for the libel and defamation he spewed online against me and other scholars like risa levitt kohn, jodi magness, william schniedewind, stephen goranson, bart ehrman, david noel freedman, etc. those matters will be taken up in civil court after the conclusion of the criminal trial. golb is being tried for impersonation, identity theft, and aggravated harassment. the new york district attorney’s office rightly limited their charges to only those counts that specifically address criminal attempts to impersonate, harass, and steal the identity of lawrence schiffman, jonathan seidel, and stephen goranson. this means that the defense’s argument that

‘injury to a reputation is a civil matter, not a criminal violation’

is moot, because golb is not being charged for the civil crimes of defamation against me and others, rather, he’s being charged in the specific incidents of impersonation, aggravated harassment, and identity theft in the instance of schiffman, seidel, and goranson. while the defense attempts to blur the line between the civil matters and the criminal ones, the fact remains: it is not very difficult to ‘pigeonhole’ this criminal activity. raphael golb pretended to be lawrence schiffman in order to bring specific harm to him. in doing so, he impersonated him. impersonation is a crime. golb harassed schiffman in a most aggravated manner by writing a post using the alias ‘peter kaufman’ accusing dr. schiffman of plagiarizing his father, norman golb. (note: the nowpublic post by ‘peter kaufman’ has been removed by nowpublic, but that which raphael golb said about lawrence schiffman still exists in a cached web archive, and several blog posts, including this one, still remain online. coincidentally, golb used the alias ‘larryschiffman’ to post this blog.) aggravated harassment is a crime. raphael golb sent emails as lawrence schiffman, after signing up for email accounts and blog addresses in the name of lawrence schiffman. forgery is a crime. taking out an email address (lawrence.schiffman@gmail.com) and writing in the first person to confess to something and blogging in the name of lawrence schiffman is a crime. there is nothing ‘difficult’ about it.

======

golb’s lawyer argued:

the e-mail messages were transparent parodies, and that in any event, injury to a reputation is a civil matter, not a criminal violation.

this is simply not true. there is no expectation of parody or satire with raphael golb. in the case of known satirists like stephen colbert, or known parodists like saturday night live, there is an expectation of parody or satire. that is, it can be argued that this speech is protected under the first amendment right to freedom of speech. however, with the case of raphael golb, this is not the case. in fact, the opposite is true. raphael golb was not claiming parody, but was actively attempting to disguise his identity while making false, often harmful accusations against his father’s perceived opponents by hiding behind multiple aliases. at no point was there ever an expectation or acknowledgement of parody or satire. raphael golb attempted nothing less than to defame and professionally harm the careers of his father’s perceived rivals, and ultimately acted criminally by impersonating one of them, lawrence schiffman, in order to do so.

it is important to remember that the schiffman incident was not an isolated incident. rather, it was the criminal culmination of a pattern of behavior involving a well-organized, premeditated, campaign of deceit and influence that escalated from comments on message boards and discussion forums, comments on internet news items, nowpublic articles, blogs, infiltration of wikipedia pages, emails to a graduate student’s faculty questioning whether he should he should receive his degree, written letters to board members of museums, emails to journalists encouraging them to write about golb and the ‘qumran controversy,’ and ultimately the criminal impersonation of lawrence schiffman, which included forged letters to his graduate students and colleagues.

this was not parody. it was a one-sided assault on scholars that disagreed with norman golb and the museums that hosted dead sea scrolls exhibitions. his intent was to harm attendance at museum exhibitions and besmirch the reputations of people who had done nothing wrong other than disagree with norman golb’s minority opinions about qumran and the dead sea scrolls.

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the defense has taken another odd tactic, which demonstrates a lack of faith in their ‘free speech’ defense. according to peltz’ associated press article:

Golb contests sending the e-mails. But whoever did send them was just pulling an “intellectual prank” and expressing ideas protected by free speech rights, said Golb’s lawyer, Ronald Kuby.

golb is attempting to invoke the right of ‘free speech’ while not admitting to making the said ‘speech.’ despite knowing exactly who was immediately responsible for the claims of the ‘charles gadda,’ ‘peter kaufman,’ and other aliases, raphael golb has still not admitted that he was actually the one who sent the emails in schiffman’s name. perhaps this is why golb’s lawyer is attempting to have the statements made by golb at the time of his arrest thrown out. perhaps this is why golb’s lawyer is contesting the search warrant and the search executed on raphael golb’s home: despite all evidence to the contrary (and his father, norman golb’s multiple purported statements essentially confessing that his son is ‘charles gadda’), raphael golb still does not want to admit to sending the emails.

golb’s lawyer, ron kuby, is attempting to invoke a ‘free speech’ defense without admitting to the speech. which begs the question: how confident is raphael golb’s laywer, ron kuby, in his own defense? one would think that if this really were an attempt to argue on behalf of free speech, mr. kuby would say, ‘yes, my client, raphael golb, made these claims, but he is protected by his right to free speech.’ instead, mr. kuby is attempting to argue, ‘this is a case of free speech, but my client does not admit to making the statements (sending the emails) in question.’ kuby undermines the confidence of his own defense by not admitting to his client’s participation in the so-called protected ‘free speech.’

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ultimately, the central claim made by the defense is nothing more than a red herring (or to be technical in a rhetorical sense, an ignoratio elenchi). according to peltz’ associated press article, golb’s lawyer, ron kuby, stated:

“An attempt to influence a public, academic debate by e-mails and blog postings authored under assumed names cannot be an object of criminal” laws designed to protect people from fraud, threats or physical harm, Kuby wrote in papers filed this week.

this is a red herring. of course, attempting ‘to influence a public, academic debate by e-mails and blog postings’ is not criminal. this is what scholars do. and yes, attempting to influence a scholarly debate using arguments ‘authored under assumed names’ may or may not be ‘an object of criminal laws.’ however, this is not what raphael golb is accused of doing!! raphael golb is accused of intentionally posing as lawrence schiffman and admitting to something he did not do! raphael golb is accused of taking out email addresses in the name of lawrence schiffman and writing to schiffman’s students and colleagues in the first person. engaging in or attempting to influence a public, academic debate is not a crime, but, doing so using the names of known scholars, criminal impersonation, identity theft, aggravated harassment, and forgery certainly is.

raphael golb does not stand accused of attempting ‘to influence a public, academic debate by e-mails and blog postings’. this, and harassment, libel, and defamation caused by his actions are indeed the subject of a civil court, and will be deal with accordingly once the criminal trial is complete.

conclusion

raphael golb’s actions in this criminal case were not an isolated incident, nor were they a prank, satire, parody, or other kind of joke. this was a premeditated, well-coordinated, well-planned, methodical, two-year campaign of defamation, intimidation, and harassment, ultimately ending in impersonation and forgery, perpetuated by raphael golb against those he felt were his father’s opponents. his intent was to harm museum attendance and denigrate the reputations of scholars that disagreed with norman golb.

likewise, arguments that raphael golb had to use pseudonyms in order to protect against academic backlash are unfounded. when rachel elior’s minority theory about qumran and the essenes became public, it was widely refuted, but she suffered no harm to her career or reputation by personally addressing criticism on the internet and in the press. she simply participated in the academic process. this differs greatly from what appears to be golb’s approach, which apparently involved raphael doing the dirty work of attacking his father’s rivals, and norman golb siting back in his endowed chair at the prestigious university of chicago oriental institute, seemingly above the fray, and answering inquiries from media outlets most likely drummed up by his son, raphael.

it appears the entire campaign was designed to denigrate norman golb’s rivals, and keep golb’s name – and his theory – in the news. raphael golb went too far, and broke the law.

this is not about free speech, it’s about getting caught breaking the law.

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