The chronicle of Klaas Kolijn pretended to be a thirteenth-century account of the history of the counts of Holland, but it was a forgery. Written around 1700 by Reinier de Graaf, it was held genuine until as late as 1777. This article tries to explain why the forgery was able to confuse serious scholars during three quarters of a century. It looks for answers in the history of Dutch philology, in the aims of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century antiquarian research and in contemporary epistemologic theories of probability. The debates on Kolijn were held on three moments throughout the century. Around 1710, Kolijn’s text was edited for the first time, as it fitted perfectly in an antiquarian quest for more knowledge on the earliest history of Holland. Around 1745, debates on Kolijn shifted the focus from the text itself to its constitutional consequences and to the epistemological and moral reliability of the scholars Gerard van Loon and Pieter vander Schelling, who edited and studied Kolijn. Finally, in the 1770s, Balthasar Huydecoper focused back on Kolijn’s text, ascertaining with linguistic arguments that it could not be written at the time it pretended. The final argument discrediting Kolijn, brought up by historian Jan Wagenaar at the learned society of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde, was the absence of an old manuscript. Thus, Wagenaar transferred an old antiquarian epistemological requirement of material evidence to the Dutch philology, newly organised in a learned society.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||De Achttiende Eeuw|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|