But you also know that they’re all pretty much alike. They feature Harvard law professors and overseers (Ogletree, Tribe, Dershowitz, Goodwin) using slave labor to write their books for them (a technique fraught with dangers, of which plagiarism is only one); or they’re about desperate illiterates (Glenn Poshard, president of Southern Illinois University) drawing upon their betters…

Very straightforward, these plagiarism tales. But here’s one that’s really twisted.

A loving, demented son decides to defend his father’s controversial research by assuming the identity of one of his father’s critics and making the critic out to be a plagiarist.

[Raphael] Golb is accused of using stolen identities of various people, including a New York University professor who disagreed with his father, to elevate his father’s theory and besmirch its critics, Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, said at a news conference.

Mr. Golb, 49, was arrested Thursday morning and charged in Manhattan Criminal Court with identity theft, criminal impersonation and aggravated harassment. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said Mr. Golb opened an e-mail account in the name of Lawrence H. Schiffman, the New York University professor who disagreed with Mr. Golb’s father. He sent messages in Professor Schiffman’s name to various people at N.Y.U. and to others involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls debate, fabricating an admission by Professor Schiffman that he had plagiarized some of Professor Golb’s work, Mr. Morgenthau said. Raphael Golb also set up blogs under various names that accused Dr. Schiffman of plagiarism, Mr. Morgenthau said.

Raphael Golb, who lives in Manhattan and received his law degree from N.Y.U., also created e-mail addresses using the names of other Dead Sea Scrolls scholars, Mr. Morgenthau said.

“This exemplifies a growing trend in the area of identity theft,” Antonia Merzon, an assistant district attorney, said during the news conference. “It’s very easy to open an account using any name you want on the Internet. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. But when you start using another person’s true identity for some purpose, you’re crossing the line into a possible identity theft crime or impersonation crime.”

The district attorney’s office began investigating the case after Professor Schiffman, who is chairman of the Hebrew and Judaic studies department at N.Y.U., came to them saying he believed that Mr. Golb was impersonating him on the Internet.

Golb’s father, an 81 year old University of Chicago professor who seems to share the paranoid tendencies of his son, thinks these charges are all part of the larger conspiracy against his work.

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3 Responses to “You know UD likes to follow plagiarism stories.”

  1. Chas S. Clifton Says:

    It is peripheral to what I do, but I have noticed that there is something about Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship that brings out the worst sorts of conspiracy theorists, academic miserliness, and general nastiness.

  2. tzvee Says:

    even within the strange universe of dead sea scroll studies, this episode stands out as a truly bizarre one.

  3. Truffle Says:

    On this case, see now:

    http://tzvee.blogspot.com/2010/08/post-wacky-golb-schiffman-dead-sea.html

    http://blog.simplejustice.us/2010/07/20/a-prosecution-2000-years-in-the-making.aspx

    http://aliasesofjeffreygibson.blogspot.com/2010/05/people-of-state-of-new-york-against.html

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