Searching for the truth about Jewish History became a game of deceit and backstabbing last week in America. There are two schools of thought regarding the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many historians claim that they were written by a scribe from the ascetic Jewish sect the Essenes, of whom it is also claimed inhabited the Herodian fort at Masada.
While others, including professor Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, that in fact the scrolls were the collective work of a larger range of Jewish communities. A harmless, Lawrence Schiffman, a famous Jewish studies professor at New York University. With the phony account, Golb sent messages to NYU students and officials, in which Schiffman admitted to plagiarizing and misrepresenting Norman Golb’s work. Apparently Golb opened other email accounts under other aliases to send emails and post on various blogs, in order to “color the debate.”
According to Golb’s attorney, Ronald Kuby, Golb denies having sent the emails. He explains that they were merely an “intellectual prank”, and that:
An attempt to influence a public academic debate by emails and blog postings authored under assumed names cannot be an object of criminal laws designed to protect people from fraud, threats or physical harm.
The court has yet to rule on Kuby’s attempt to have the charges dismissed.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are dated at more than 2,000-years-old. They were found in the 1940’s, in British occupied Palestine, just before the founding of the State of Israel, by a young Bedouin. The scrolls were placed in clay jars and hidden in a cave in the Judean Desert, most likely around the time of Judea’s Revolt on Rome (66-70 c.e.) near the Dead Sea, hence the name of the scrolls. They are the oldest existing copy of Hebrew scripture, known in the world.