THE ADVOCATE 463
VOL. 79 PART 3 MAY 2021
If he had stopped there, Golb’s name might not have ended up in case law
involving online impersonations. Instead, Golb took things even further. He
took aim at a graduate student named Robert Cargill, who had created a virtual
tour of the caves at Qumran for a museum in San Diego. Golb senior had
criticized the student’s work for not referencing his theories about the source
of the scrolls. Raphael Golb ratcheted up the criticism, sending a number of
pseudonymous e-mails to the Cargill’s professors encouraging them to question
the student about published criticism of his work during the defence of
his Ph.D. Some of the e-mail messages Golb penned also suggested that
Cargill (who identified as an agnostic) was a fundamentalist Christian and an
anti-Semite—presumably an attempt to thwart his Ph.D. defence.
Raphael Golb next took aim at Dr. Larry Schiffman, the chairman of the
Hebrew and Judaic studies department at N.Y.U. Dr. Schiffman theorized
that the scrolls belonged to a sect called the Sadducees, and some came
from other sources—a theory that Dr. Golb claimed was a version of his own
theory. Dr. Schiffman, however, was invited to speak at conferences and on
television whereas Norman Golb was not. His son, Raphael, therefore created
the e-mail address Larry.Schiffman@gmail.com and wrote to Dr.
Schiffman’s employers and colleagues “confessing” to having plagiarized
Norman Golb’s work. He wrote in part:
Apparently someone is intent on exposing a failing of mine that dates
back almost fifteen years ago. It is true that I should have cited Dr. Golb’s
articles when using his arguments, and it is true that I misrepresented his
ideas. But this is simply the politics of Dead Sea Scrolls studies. If I had
given credit to this man, I would have been banned from conferences
around the world.
Another e-mail told them:
You are not to mention the name of the scholar in question to any of our
students, and every effort must be made to prevent this article from coming
to their attention. This is my career at stake. I hope you will all understand.
The e-mails were signed “Lawrence Schiffman, professor”. Golb sent similar
messages to every member of Schiffman’s department at the university.
He contacted the provost and the dean of graduate studies by e-mail, posing
as Schiffman and asking them for direction on how he could counter the
allegations of plagiarism that had been made against him. He even sent an
e-mail to the student newspaper (as Schiffman) imploring them “not to publish
a word” about the plagiarism scandal.
Raphael Golb also posed as Jonathan Seidel, a rabbi and Dead Sea Scrolls
scholar (although Golb claimed to have made the name up and purported
not to know of Jonathan Seidel), in an e-mail to the Royal Ontario
Museum’s board of trustees demanding the public’s right to know if Norman