Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Detecting forgery

One thing that has struck me about those who have exposed the CBS forgeries is the number of lines of attack. First there are the technical queries, of which Joseph Newcomer probably is the best example. Then there are the most stylistic criticisms, which Donald Sensing and others had - stuff about military terminology and the like. Next there was the characterisation of the supposed author himself, with his widow and son chiming in. Finally there was procedural attack, like done in this Washington Post.

Perhaps it is time to remember how one of the most famous forgeries of all time was discovered: the Donatino of Constantine. Basically, in the renaissance it was demonstrated that the grammar used in the document was not that of the purported 4th century date, but rather later. Not dis-similar to what lots of people have been doing themselves this past week.

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