Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unusual online false-identity case

So, today I read about a lawyer and scholar who got into true hot water for sending forged e-mails in another person's name from bogus accounts in an attempt to defame that person (said e-mails being admissions of guilt for fabricated crimes). The forger claimed, when caught, that it was all a hoax. The law decided otherwise, sentencing him today to six months in prison.

The oddest thing about this is that the figures involved were Dead Sea Scrolls scholars (or, rather, one leading scholar and the son of a rival scholar). Turns out the two sides both challenge the prevailing theory that the Scrolls were written by the Essene community living near where the scrolls were found. One side (the victim) believes that community were Sadducees, while the other (the perpetrator's father) thinks the scrolls had nothing to do with any local group but represent the Temple Library from Jerusalem that was stashed in an out-of-the-way place during a crisis (permanently, as it turned out). I tend toward the Essene theory myself, but who can say?

Reading today's news story, I thought at once about what it'd been like to watch a similar defamation campaign unfold in real time: the long, strange, sad Lindskoog affair. I had a chance last month to dig up some of the original contemporary documentation in THE CANADIAN C. S. LEWIS JOURNAL: both reprints of the original letters and clippings before Schofield discovered them to be bogus, the exposures that quickly followed, and ultimately Lindskoog's admission of guilt. All in all it makes for fascinating, and disturbing, reading.


No comments: