Doing legal history

Regular visitors of my blog will have met already several times the walking historian and his (modern?) shadow, the armchair historian, nowadays known as the web surfing historian. These stereotypes might seem separate species, but one can easily combine their characteristics in one person. In fact I simply like walking, reading books and searching the web for real information. Zwei Seelen, ach, leben in meinem Brust, and thus at least three souls can work together happily when you do legal history.

After one of these recent walks I came home with lots of food for thought, and ideas for research. I hesitated to write immediately about this walk, because I could not do justice to the tale I want to tell. To make things more complicated, looking for answers  in a particular direction helped me to find inadvertently something else which simply seems to cry out for further investigation. I guess it was one of these times when you stumble into something you was not really looking for, but nevertheless you found it, and in an uncanny way it almost seemed to have been waiting for you. By chance? If things were that easy to be found, they would have been noticed long ago. No, this much I can say already: I was not totally unprepared when I found it. Training and experience helped me to look through the unpromising appearances, to look behind the mere words I read, to connect it to and confront it with existing knowledge.

Postings on a blog are meant as appetizers, as news flashes or short stories in need of an audience. The stories I am trying to unravel these weeks need more space, more words, more time for research, reflection and clear writing. Perhaps the story of that particular walk in early March will one day turn up in a blog item, but the story of the historical materials found at a time I was working up another walking story needs publication on paper. And when doing legal history the blogging historian has simply less time to write new postings. Creating and strengthening www.rechtshistorie.nl will ask some careful attention, too. All things in due time! When things here seem rather quiet the blogs indicated here will hopefully bring you enough recent postings…

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