Man charged with impersonating Dead Sea Scroll experts

NEW YORK Fri Mar 6, 2009 12:16am GMT

Sections of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls are seen on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 14, 2008. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Sections of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls are seen on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 14, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The son of an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls impersonated other experts in order to further his father's views on the 2,000-year-old documents, New York prosecutors said on Thursday.

During a six-month period in 2008, Raphael Haim Golb, whose father Norman Golb is a University of Chicago professor of Jewish history, created dozens of Internet aliases in the names of individuals who were active in Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship.

The scrolls shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus. They were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947.

Many scholars believe the scrolls were assembled by a Jewish sect known as the Essenes who lived close to where the scrolls were discovered. Norman Golb has taken the position the scrolls were produced by multiple Jewish sects.

According to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Golb was motivated by the belief that his father's theories were not taken seriously enough.

Norman Golb did not respond to a request for comment.

Golb is charged with identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment, and faces a maximum of four years in prison if convicted.

(Reporting by Edith Honan, editing by Michelle Nichols and Philip Barbara)

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