It occurs to me that my resurrected blog comes with side benefits. One is the chance to return to the book that I wrote, yea these many years ago (OK, just two years ago), on the cheerful forgers Ansgar, Rimbert, and their project of documentary falsification and hagiographical deception.
Your humble blogger is pleased and flattered to note that the initial reviews have been broadly favorable. I will not embarrass my distinguished colleagues with direct citations, but I have been happy to see many scholars whose work I respect give my crazy theories a generous reception.
One reviewer, however, has expressed sharp and abiding displeasure at the notion that Ansgar and Rimbert may have been conniving revisionists. His name is Henrik Janson, and he is a professor of things medieval at Göteborgs Universitet in Sweden.
|Henrik Janson is displeased|
with my book. He also has groovy glasses.
His review graces the pages of the most recent volume of the Kyrkohistorisk Årsskrift (187-192), and he has helpfully scanned and uploaded a copy, so those of you with proficiency in the Scandinavian languages (or at least Swedish) can even read it online
Obviously, several things have irritated Janson. One thing is a column about my book that my former advisor, Anders Winroth, published in the Svenska Dagbladet, a major Swedish daily. For some reason Janson is not down with that column. The second thing is the complete absence of Janson citations in my book. Janson is not down with not being cited.
[Janson: If you’re reading this (or I guess, even if you're not reading this), I apologize that I overlooked your work. If I could do it all over, I’d devote several footnotes to you and you alone. I might even give you your very own entry in the Appendix on Peripheral Questions for the Early History of the Northern Mission. Have a cookie. Have this blog post. And take some comfort, however limited, in your own review, where citations to your work abound.]
Above all, though, Janson does not like my book because he adheres to the traditional narrative of Hamburg-Bremen’s origins: a narrative that I think suffers from severe problems, and that my monograph aims to dismantle. After a not wholly sympathetic summary of my book, he embarks upon an extended attempt to detect argumentative and empirical problems in my work. And it’s this portion of the review that prompts my response from the blogosphere, because I’ve been very interested in what traditionalist critiques of my book might look like.