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Een onopgelost dossier


G.Th. Jensma

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Goffe Jensma, An unsolved case
In order to account for the composition of his dissertation, which Te Velde raised as a point for discussion, Jensma notes that from a methodological point of view the pivotal distinction in cases of forgery is between solved and unsolved cases. Where solved cases comply with the balanced rhetoric of historiography, unsolved cases, such as this one have, in practice, to be described using more rigid terms derived from pseudo-legal debates. It is of paramount importance to this debate that the interpretations are complete; there may be no shred of doubt left about the solution that is presented. This, scholarly speaking, absurd requirement explains why Jensma chose the ‘thick description’ method to do literary justice to the Oera Linda book affair.
Jensma further rejects, at least as a compelling interpretation, Te Velde’s suggestion to consider the case of the Oera Linda Book specifically within the context of the Dutch playful liberal debating-culture of the 1860s and 1870s. The key to understanding the Oera Linda book affair does not lie in the sophisticated irony with which this ‘joke’ was played, but rather in the tragic misunderstanding that was accidentally caused by this serious and deliberate hoax.
This response is part of the discussion forum 'De gemaskerde God' (G.T. Jensma).
How to Cite: Jensma, G.T., 2006. Een onopgelost dossier. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 121(3), pp.453–462. DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2006.


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