Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (5) - And More Plagiarism

Schiffman states (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls) regarding the discovery in the 1960s at Masada - over 30 miles south of Qumran that: “several texts were published from Masada which had been occupied by rebels during the Revolt against Rome. In addition a manuscript of the Sabbath Songs … known in several manuscripts from Qumran, was found at Masada. Thus the Jewish defenders of Masada possessed books of the same kind as those in the Qumran collection, but … not directly associated with the sect itself . In other words, many of the works found at Qumran were the common heritage of Second Temple Judaism, and did not originate in, and were not confined to, Qumran sectarian circles.”

Golb – Schiffman makes no reference, however, to Golb’s earlier 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, p.10, in which he stated that “the cogent inference that should be drawn from the presence of first century Hebrew manuscripts at Masadah is that the Jewish sicarri inhabiting that site possessed scrolls which they had brought there after taking the fortress in 66 AD, while other Jews, of Jerusalem, took scrolls with them in addition to basic possessions needed for survival, in withdrawing to that site. In the excavations there, surviving remnants of these possessions were discovered, including even such texts as the ‘Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice’ previously thought to have had a unique connection with Qumran. …The discoveries at the … site imply the act of the removal of manuscripts from Jerusalem … They indicate that Hebrew literary texts were deemed precious enough to warrant rescue during periods of danger.”

The Romans didn’t take Masada during 73 CE in the way told in the writings attributed to Josephus. This was a Roman afterthought and pure propaganda. It was late in 66 CE or early 67 CE, under Nero. It became the command centre for the army, as is attested archaeologically by the large encampment around the citadel. The Jews who had previously taken Masada were the same sort as those who inhabited the fortresses at Machaerus (which also had a Roman camp at its base) and Qumran. The Roman strategy was to defeat the fortresses first before Jerusalem. Their aim was to provide protection for those who opposed the writers of the scrolls. Vespasian never fought his way down through Galilee (where there are no remains of Roman camps). His exploits in Galilee were to fill-in a time of peace, as attested to by the so-called ‘Coins of The Revolt’ and the discovered land sale documents for the period (land is hardly to be bought and sold during a war). Scholars do not account for the influence of Rome upon history and upon the development of rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. Post 70 CE, no-one made a move in Jewish and ‘Christian’ circles without Vespasian’s say so. Vespasian was as crooked as they come, for example, inventing false victories for Claudius and then for himself. Just as Julius Caesar had plundered the ‘barbarian’ Celts for their gold with which they adorned themselves, so Vespasian, or rather his son, opportunistically, ransacked the temple for all of its gold, and probably also recovered a good deal of the temple treasure hidden by the priests. He did this to fund his rise to power. Later the Jewish money enabled him to carry out his building projects such as the construction of the Colloseum.

One question that puzzles me is this. If the scrolls came from multiple libraries, why were there no original documents among them? The chances of original documents being present must increase with the number of sources or libraries. The lack of original documents is consistent with the scrolls coming from one Jerusalem library. This library could not have been the temple library. For one reason, one would have expected a great deal of original material among its scrolls. But I believe there was another reason. The Roman invasion of Jerusalem in about late 66 or early 67 was turned by the Romans (the Flavian editors of the writings attributed to Josephus) into the invasion of Jerusalem by Idumeans. (See War 4.4.6 to 4.5.2).  At the time, the group in opposition to the priests, and who the Romans were trying to protect, was holed-up in the temple and thus protecting its scrolls. So if the scrolls didn’t come from the temple, which library (assuming they came from one library) did they come from?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shiffman - Golb (4) - And Plagiarism Yet Again

Schiffman (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls, p.25) states that the influence of the apocalyptic Dead Sea Scrolls is discernible “in the messianic pressures for Jewish resistance against Roman rule that were factors in fueling the two Jewish revolts, the First Revolt of 66-70 CE and the Second Revolt, the so-called Bar Kokhba Revolt, of 132-135 CE, both of which had messianic overtones.”

Golb states in his 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, p.11 (which Schiffman refrained from referencing) : “What is until now understood of their contents that the mentality and religious outlook of the Jewish groups were factors which may in turn help to explain the zeal which led to the Jewish war.”

The mentality of many of the writers of the scrolls says much of what one needs to know to explain the reasons behind the first rebellion. The culprits that prevent a proper understanding are the Flavian editors of the writings attributed to Josephus which (in contrast to the scrolls) have undoubtedly been got at.  I believe the Roman intervention was to put down the priests who were murdering a party (mentioned in some scrolls as the "seekers of smooth things") who opposed them. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (3) - Plagiarism Again

Schiffman (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls):
“It is now becoming increasingly clear (it was already clear to Golb a long time before Schiffman made this announcement as though it was news) that the scrolls are the primary source for the Study of Judaism in all its varieties in the last centuries before the Common Era. In short , this corpus does not simply give us an entry into the sect (Schiffman’s hypothetical Qumran sect) that inhabited the nearby settlement, but also has an enormous amount to tell us about the widely varying Judaisms of the Hasmonean and Herodian periods. In assessing the importance of the collection, we must remember that almost no other primary Hebrew or Aramaic sources exist (music to the ears of Jacob Neusner) for the reconstruction of Judaism during these periods. Thus these documents are providing a critical background for the study of the later emergence both of rabbinic Judaism and of the early Christian Church.”

Golb (see his 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, p.11) where he sums up by stating that what was by then known about the contents of the scrolls was “more than sufficient to show, even at present, the mentality and religious outlook of various groups within Palestinian Judaism prior to 70 A.D.” Schiffman never acknowledged that Golb had made this observation some years before 1990.  Golb further stated in his American Scholar article of 1989 (p.207), that on the outcome of the debate over the scrolls depended “our understanding of Christian origins and of ancient Judaism.” 

It is interesting that Golb concluded his 1980 article in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society with the statement: "While I do not share the view of colleagues who uphold the Qumran-Essene hypothesis (the then Qumran sect hypothesis), I offer this interpretation with admiration for the brilliant work done by them on those texts, and with the hope that the proposed hypothesis (Golb's) will be useful in the overall elucidation of their remarkable contents." You can't get much more fair, humble and scholarly than that. The subsequent attitude of some other scholars towards Golb has been sharply different.

It is worthwile considering Golb’s words written for his American Scholar article of 1989. He wrote that on the outcome of the debate over the scrolls depended: “our understanding of CHRISTIAN ORIGINS AND OF ANCIENT JUDAISM.” I have never seen the scrolls referred to quite like this very original statement. Usually, scholars refer to the Scrolls for background information to Christianity and Judaism, almost as though the Scrolls were second best. Maurice Casey, a professor of Nottingham University has just published a book, Jesus of Nazareth, in which he does exactly that, for example he refers to the Messiahs or anointed ones in the Scrolls (p.393), but only for background information. Scholars of Judaism, such as Schiffman, also use the Scrolls as background information.  But is there something much more pointed about the Scrolls?  There is, for example, such a large amount of them that they must surely have had great importance in their day.  And what about the party who some of the writers of the Scrolls separated from, a party who opposed the priests, and who are referred to extensively in many of the Scrolls? Who were they?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (2) - Who Was The First To Explain What "To Prepare The Way In The Desert" Meant?

Schiffman (see his book, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1994, p.95) where he discusses a passage from a scroll (the Manual of Discipline, 1QS 8.12-15) which had long been understood to mean that members of the brotherhood should go to live in the wilderness (literally). But, Schiffman stated (without acknowledging that Golb had said so years before) that the passage had to be interpreted symbolically. “To prepare the way in the desert”, he wrote, “means to interpret the Torah, specifically to explain it according to sectarian interpretations.”

Golb had expressed precisely this view a long time before Schiffman (see his 1980 article, The Problem of Origin and Identification of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol.124, No. 1, p.16).  Golb says about the same passage that the authors were freely assigning a metaphorical interpretation to it. Further he says that there is nothing in the passage (quote) “to imply even remotely that those who would have followed the rules in the Manual actually believed they should go and live in the desert.” This conclusion Golb drew on the basis of the specific wording in the manuscript which he translated:

1QS 8:12-15: “When all these become a Unity in Israel, they will be separated through these rules from the settlement of the men of wickedness, going to the wilderness to clear there the way of the Lord, as is written (Isaiah 40.3) ‘In the desert clear ye the way of the [Lord], make ye straight in the wilderness a path for our God’ – this is the expounding of the Torah which [the Lord] commanded through Moses to do according to every revealed thing, season by season….” [square brackets represent missing text in the manuscript]

Golb says in his 1980 article that the authors of the Manual (1QS) merely interpreted the quoted words of Isaiah as a metaphor. This was (I quote Golb) “the virtue of studying the mystical teachings of the Torah espoused in various pages of the text.” Why didn’t Schiffman acknowledge this original work of Golb’s?

Vermes is a proponent of Scrolls produced at Qumran by Essenes. Vermes’s translation of the 1QS 8.12-15 is interesting:
“And when these become members of the Community in Israel according to all these rules, they shall separate from the habitation of unjust men and shall go into the wilderness to prepare there the way of Him; as it is written, ‘Prepare in the wilderness the way of …., make straight in the desert a path for our God’ (Isa. Xl, 3). This (path) is the study of the Law which He commanded by the hand of Moses, that they do according to all that has been revealed from age to age, and as the Prophets have revealed by His Holy Spirit.”
Here Vermes’s translation is coloured by his preconception of Essenes at Qumran.  He makes a difference between separation and obedience of the rules (the law).  For him separation is a literal departure into the wilderness.  His translation makes no connection between separation and ‘the path’ - the study of the law. Was Vermes bending the text to suit his theory? This raises questions about the integrity of current translations. The method of separation was the study of the law, as Golb clearly showed back in 1980.

An even more biased and vague translation of 1QS 8.12-15 is that of Martinez who must also be a supporter of Essenes writing at Qumran:
“And when these have become a community in Israel in compliance with these arrangements they are to be segregated from within the dwelling of the men of sin to walk to the desert in order to open there His path. As it is written (Isa.40:3) ‘In the desert, prepare the way of ****, straighten in the steppe a roadway for our God.’ This is the study of the law which he commanded through the hand of Moses, in order to act in compliance with all that has been revealed from age to age, and according to what the prophets have revealed through his holy spirit.”
Martinez makes no connection between ‘a walk to the desert’ and the study of the law. He takes the meaning of ‘a walk to the desert’ literally. What does he think the vague ‘in compliance with these arrangements’ means, if not the law?

So what does this tell us about where the scrolls were produced, if not at Qumran? There can only be one place, the centre of such activity, Jerusalem. Schiffman wrote (well after Golb had said so), that “to prepare the way in the desert” meant to interpret the Torah. He was thus implying that the members of the community did not go out into the desert, because “to prepare the way in the desert” didn’t mean that literally. But Schiffman likes to have his cake and eat it, because he then added, “specifically to explain it according to sectarian interpretations”. He just had to keep the ideas of a ‘sect’, and ‘a sect at Qumran’ at that, probably to retain credibility with all the other 'pro sect at Qumran' supporters. He was thus contradicting himself. Almost all of those who attended Schiffman’s 1985 New York conference on the Dead Sea Scrolls used typical language consistent with a sect at Qumran, such as: ‘Qumran ideology’ (Baumgarten), ‘the Dead Sea sect’ (Collins), ‘the Qumran sect’ (Levine), ‘Qumranic tendency’ (Maier), ‘Qumran’s purity laws’ (Milgrom), ‘the priesthood at Qumran’ (Newsom), ‘the sectarian scrolls from Qumran’ (Schiffman), ‘what is meant when Qumran is termed a ‘priestly’ community’ (Schwartz), ‘the Qumran sect’s foundation’ (Strugnell). The ground was ready for Schiffman’s 1994 revelation. He had some ready listeners. Schiffman claimed as his own that “to prepare the way in the desert” meant studying the Torah, but by a sect at Qumran. In reality, he had stolen Golb’s original theory without giving due credit, and applied it (inconsistently) to a hypothetical Qumran sect. If I was Norman Golb, I would feel very cheated. And members of the family who were taking an interest obviously felt cheated too.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Schiffman - Golb (1) - Schiffman's Blatant Plagiarism

Schiffman (Bible Review 6, No.5, Oct 1990, The Significance of the Scrolls):
“It is now becoming increasingly clear that the Scrolls are the primary source for the study of Judaism in all its varieties in the last centuries before the Common Era. In short, this corpus does not simply give us an entry into the sect that inhabited the nearby settlement, but also has an enormous amount to tell us about the widely varying Judaisms of the Hasmonaean and Herodian periods….It can now be stated, this hoard of manuscripts includes material representing a variety of Jewish groups as well as polemics against other Jewish groups. As a result of this new understanding much more can be done with the scrolls."

Golb (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 124, 1980, The Problem of Origin, and Identification the Dead Sea Scrolls Authors):
“What may in my opinion be fairly inferred about the scrolls from the caves from facts now available, but not known in 1948, is that these manuscripts stem from first-century Palestinian Jews and are remnants of a literature showing a wide variety of practices beliefs and opinions which was removed from Jerusalem before or during the siege, brought down to the Judean wilderness and adjacent areas, and there, with the aid of inhabitants of the region, were successfully hidden away for long periods of time.”

A child would know what was going on here.  How did Schiffman get away with this? Why hasn’t NYU taken notice? He never credited or acknowledged Golb for his theory, a theory that Schiffman subsequently adapted to develop his own ideas (e.g. regarding Pharisees) and thus further his own career. And yet Golb had paved the way for Schiffman’s theory by pointing out the “wide variety of beliefs and practices” supported by the scrolls. It was an appalling mistake not to give credit where it was due. Instead, Schiffman announced that it could “now be stated” there was “a new understanding” of the scrolls, as though he and his supporters were the discoverers of new ideas. Schiffman recognized that credit should have been given to Golb. In his 1990 article “The Significance of the Scrolls”, he dismissed Golb’s theory more or less with a stroke of his pen. He didn’t bother to argue (except in the broadest of terms) against Golb’s theory, explained in considerable detail in “The Problem of Origin of the Scrolls”. He wrote: “At this point, I should perhaps comment briefly on the Dead Sea Scroll hypothesis recently put forward by professor Norman Golb.” Earlier in his article, Schiffman similarly dismissed the views of Jacob Neusner. Thus, in support of the Talmud (compiled well post first century), Schiffman wrote: “This letter (the scroll MMT) requires that the view of prominent scholars (prominent, as distinct from Golb?) – most notably Jacob Neusner (notable, as distinct from Golb?), who doubted the reliability of the rabbis regarding Pharisees, must be re-evaluated.” It seems that Schiffman’s attitude to other scholars who opposed his views has been arrogant, to say the least.

If Schiffman wants to die at peace he ought to apologise to Norman Golb.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Robert Cargill, hypocrite?

Cargill, is this right what Eve Scherr wrote?  "Even Robert Cargill, after saying he never did, in cross-examination, when asked about specific online pseudonyms, admitted that they were his."  And yet you gave the impression that you had nothing to do with pseudonyms. You wrote: "UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE DO I DIALOG, BL...OG, OR RESPOND TO ANONYMOUS PEOPLES HIDING IN THE SHADOWS, NOT HERE, NOT ANYWHERE. THANK YOU."
Retrieved from
So you don't dialogue with people who use psuedonyms, and yet you seem to use them yourself, and worse you accuse Raphael Golb of doing what he actually admits to. Did you actually use the name "Raphael Joel"?  So the adjunct professor is a "spouter of lies".  Isn't this a reflection of your underhand character and hypocrisy?  When is the so-called archaeologist, going to do some archaeology?

You admitted under oath that you arranged with the curator of the San Diego Scrolls exhibit, Risa Levitt Kohn to avoid making any mention of either Norman Golb or his theory in the exhibit?  Was this your response to Norman Golb's scholarly critique of the exhibit?

You acknowledged under oath, that you cited Magen Broshi's words to the effect that Norman Golb would only stop "harassing" the world of Scrolls scholarship when "he was dead". This was at an SBL session you organized on the "Case of Raphael Golb", with an approving group of listeners?