June 25, 2008

A big, hairy erratum

There are a few disadvantages of writing a blog. People who wonder why I haven't gotten around to their work discover what I've been doing instead at certain moments (though I've never had a student who has decided that she or he really wants me grading their paper at 6:09 am). Without someone else to edit my work, I constantly risk grammatical embarrassments. And I risk falling on my face in factual errors.

But as my wonderful children would point out, I am practiced at being wrong. Or, as I prefer to put it, if I'm wrong, then I can go to bed happy that day, knowing I've learned something.

If you haven't guessed, I've discovered I am embarrassingly wrong about something I've posted in the last month. Gloriously and publicly in error. And as a victim reader of this blog, if you are not already aware of the error, you will discover it in the next week, or maybe two. The problem with an error of this magnitude is not the fact of the error; I can admit that and move forward. The problem with an error of this magnitude is that I need to figure out exactly how that changes what I thought I knew. (I've explained before how my interpretation of a primary source changed, and this is a much bigger example of that need.)

So I will leave you all in suspense as to precisely where I've made the error and how I'll have to rethink what I've thought, except perhaps with the satisfaction of knowing that I'm as much in the dark on the second issue.

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Posted in The academic life on June 25, 2008 06:08 AM | |