Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Raphael, you did right

Jewish poet Heinrich Heine wrote 190 years ago, "Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men."

Raphael, just to let you know that I am with you and your family all the way. Schiffman, Cargill, West, Gibson and company are vandals and cowards.

You did right to defend your father's views which are largely mine also.  Given the opposition, you took the only route to bring this matter to a head.  The issues you raised are vital to the origins of Judaism and Christianity.  They were in danger of being swept under the carpet, for who knows how long.

Scott Greenfield, Simple Justice - A New York Criminal Defence Blog, wrote here:
"Much like the Lori Drew prosecution, ultimately tossed for lack of a crime, this was a case that should never have been prosecuted. NYU professor Lawrence Schiffman, the putative victim of Golb's impersonation, claimed that he didn't want Gold prosecuted. Yet after the verdict, he has this to say:

He said in a statement Thursday that he was appreciative of the work on the case.  "Let us hope that the field of Dead Sea Scrolls research can get back to its real business — interpreting the ancient scrolls and explaining their significance for the history of Judaism and the background of early Christianity," he said.

He's disgraced himself amongst the dead sea scroll scholars by using a criminal prosecution to shut down his most vocal critic. He's now disgraced himself again within the academic community by ignoring that the issue arose from his having shut out Norman Golb from the scholarly dialogue, even denying Golb access to the scrolls lest he find something that undercuts Schiffman's claims.

For those of us less concerned with the dead sea scrolls per se (though who isn't, really), the implications of this conviction are broad and disastrous. If playing with a sockpuppet on the internet, no harm done beyond some hurt feelings, is enough to land you in prison, we've got a lot of potential felons out there taking some major risks for a few laughs or to get the upperhand on an argument. The rough and tumble of the internet is no longer an issue of free speech, but hurt feelings. Read it and weep. We are all in some serious trouble now."

When Schiffman said "let us hope" who did he mean by "us"?  Schiffman, Cargill, Gibson and West and the pro-Qumran clique just want the Scrolls for themselves.  Its the old story all over again, and its also full of hypocrisy.  It sounds as though Norman Golb won't get a look-in.

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