Dead Sea Scrolls Defendant Takes Stand

Monday, Sep 27, 2010  |  Updated 4:15 PM EDT
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Dead Sea Scrolls Defendant Takes Stand

AP

A section of the Psalms scroll, that is on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, is shown on Tuesday, March 7, 2000.

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A lawyer charged with impersonating a Judaic studies professor online in a debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls has taken the witness stand in New York City to defend himself.

Raphael Golb is accused of adopting online aliases to avenge his father, a University of Chicago professor who studies the scrolls and was embroiled in a bitter debate with a rival academic.

Golb testified Monday he's not materialistic. He describes himself as a scholar and author who spends his free time blogging about the scrolls.

The scrolls were found in the 1940s in Israel. They contain the earliest known versions of portions of the Hebrew Bible.

Golb has pleaded not guilty to identity theft and other charges. His lawyers say his writings amount to typical blogosphere banter — not crime.

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