Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Plagiarism charges dog "incoherent" Judaica lecturer

On October 30, 2008, at the Jewish Museum in New York, Lawrence Schiffman will give a lecture entitled "The Dead Sea Scrolls and the History of Judaism and Christianity."

Schiffman chairs the Skirball Department of Judaica at New York University. The lecture accompanies the museum's Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, which has just opened.

Is the museum aware of recently aired allegations that Schiffman plagiarized a number of key historical arguments developed by another scholar?

An orthodox rabbi, Schiffman has based his academic career on the rather peculiar and idiosyncratic idea that some of the scrolls were written by a sect of Sadducees living at Qumran -- an idea that various authorities in the field have called "incoherent" and "difficult to understand."

Some readers may be surprised to learn that Schiffman is now also presenting himself as an expert on the history of Christianity. A little joke is making the rounds that this an excellent response to scholars of Christianity who falsely present themselves as experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls (see here for a recent example).

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