From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Newsgroups: sci.archaeology,soc.culture.nordic
Subject: Kensington Stone and Prof. Knirk
Date: 19 Aug 1998 19:34:54 GMT

James E. Knirk, University of Oslo, KENSINGTON RUNESTONE (a review of
Hall's and Nilsestuen's books) in Scandinavian Studies, Winter 1997.

This review is really quite silly. It is filled with arrogant ad hominems,
preconceived notions, and is rather dishonest.

Prof. Knirk's snobbery, arrogance and elitism are quite unbelievable.
Surely this sort of an attitude must be the worst the University system
has to offer, expressing all the dregs of elitist intolerance of the
academe in a nutshell. His arrogance is expressed constantly towards
"amateurs" who dared to intrude into the Sacred Precincts where only the
True Professional Runologists can enter.

This is total and complete nonsense of course. The innumerable idiocies
and dishonesties of such "true-blue runologists" like Wahlgren, the KRS
chief opponent, are legion... and they are all well documented. Take the
plank out of your own eye, you, assorted academic hacks, before trying to
dump on the "amateurs"...

So Knirk spends much of his review putting down Holand, Nilsestuen and
Nielsen because they are "amateurs". What nonsense is this? And according
to this pathetic snob, these "uppity amateurs", that he's trying to put
down into their place with such contempt, constantly "fail to understand"  
the evidence, and even each other!!! He states, for example that
Nilsestuen is "unable to evaluate Holand", and Hall cannot understand
Nielsen... This sort of idiocy may pass for balanced scholarship, I
suppose, but only among the True Believers...

He finds a few microscopic faults with KRS here and there, and tries to
blow them out of proportion. Nilsestuen, whose book, it must be admitted,
contains some rather speculative background material, provides him with
much fodder for arrogant "corrections", none of which, incidentally, have
much to do with KRS itself.

His star piece of evidence has already been pummeled to death by Mr.
Weller in sci.arch. These are the three erroneous lines in Nilsestuen's
book dealing with poor Prof. Rygh's contribution to the Minnesota
Historical Society KRS Committee. A simple minor error, by all
appearances. Yes, they've found their Big Sin of Nilsestuen here...

Knirk's review is also quite dishonest. Most of his tricks are transparent
and will be quite familiar to the readers of these Usenet discussions.
Again we have the same old selective quotation trick, used so frequently
by KRS opponents. Yes, he uses the same old "Winchell gambit", also used
previously by Stephen Williams (the author of FANTASTIC ARCHAEOLOGY),
another bungling "KRS debunker", and quotes selectively from Winchell's
notebooks re: KRS weathering. Quoting selectively to one's own advantage
is a major academic sin and amounts to obvious deception. So this is a
good indication of Knirk's dishonesty, bias and prejudice.

In actual fact, there are no problems whatsoever with KRS weathering.

Knirk also uses the same old strategy, as used by Blegen, of simply
asserting the desired result often, categorically and loudly -- and
expects to be taken on his word. He thinks he's done enough by merely
stating "the inscription is modern". Trust me, I'm The Expert... Of course
he also commends very warmly the dishonest Prof. Blegen, yet another
incompetent debunker. Birds of a feather stick together.

Here's another dishonest assertion of Knirk. He says that right from the
beginning "experts in older Scandinavian languages" found that "many of
the rune-forms" on KRS were not medieval. 

This statement is quite dishonest on two counts. First, he uses obsolete
scholarship to validate his questionable thesis. Because early on, it was
simply _not known_ that many KRS rune-forms were medieval. Later they were
attested adequately. So he plays word games here to create a false
impression in the reader. Second, he actually has very little to show in
the way of substantiation for his assertion that many of the rune-forms on
KRS were not medieval.

Yes, dear friends, there's also a tiny amount of substance hiding in
Knirk's spiteful and biased screed somewhere towards the end. He does
claim to find some faults with a few specific KRS runes. So let's take a
look at them. Here are his complaints.

He claims that there are some problems with external attestation of the
following KRS runes. 

Kensington x-shaped rune for a, with an extra small branch in the upper
right. Runes with "some resemblance", as he himself admits, were found by
Nielsen. Nearly exact parallel is found on the Greenlandic stone. But
according to Knirk, the parallels are not quite right. Of course, we're
supposed to take his word for it... Nonsense.

Also he complains about the attestation for X with umlaut for a. According
to him they do not stand inspection? I say this is extremely tendentious.

Also he apparently has some problem with using p for d? Again, this is
highly questionable. His other beefs are quite microscopic.

All I can say is that his premise is completely wrong-headed and false.
How can any serious scholar expect that an inscription made by
non-professionals somewhere in America in 1362 will confirm totally and
completely to some preconceived notions of purity as formulated by a
biased academic snob in the 20th century?

It is well known that standards of spelling in the vernacular in the 14th
century were virtually non-existent. Spelling and orthography variations
were the rule rather than exception. Inger E Johansson already gave many
examples of such variations.

And all Knirk can find are only a couple of minor problems with
attestations? And on this basis the inscription is modern? This is just
too absurd for words...

I would say, if anything, KRS runes are _too well attested_ externally by
now! Just about every rune has been attested. KRS uses 12 irregular and/or
rare runes, and only 9 "standard" runes. Some minor problems may exist
with one or two out of the 12 aberrant runes. These problems can hardly
serve to invalidate the Stone. Only in Knirk's dreams...

At the end of this artilce, I'm reposting some very relevant quotes from
Nubkhas. This will serve to illustrate how irregular and shifting the
standards of writing were in the middle ages.

Knirk is a big joke. His ill-tempered harangue -- quite to the contrary of
what he intends -- in fact may serve well to illustrate the total
bankruptcy of such establishement hacks in their efforts to debunk KRS.
And his dishonesties are very good indication that he's truly desperate in
his hopeless task.



Date: 1998/07/11       
Forums: sci.archaeology

A good document to compare the KRS to is the "Oaths of Strassburg", which
spells out the terms of an 842 AD agreement between Charles the Bald of
France and King Louis the German.  The oath sworn by Louis the German
begins: "pro d(e)o amur & pro xpian poblo & n(ost)ro commun salvament,
dist di en avant in quant d(eus) savir & podir me dunat. si salvarai eo
cist meon fradre Karle...."
This is one of the most interesting texts I have ever come across.  The
linguistic forms used in this "oath" don't conform to those of classical
Old North French or to Old South French (Provencal).  The language forms
used in this text is about as far from either of these languages as the
language of the KRS is from "classical" mediaeval Swedish.  Yet no one has
ever questioned the authenticity of the "Oaths" because of the
circumstances of their preservation--together with the contemporary oaths
in a proper German for that time which Charles the Bald and Louis the
German's army swore.  But if the Romance version of the "Oaths" had been a
lonely stone found on some peasant's farm in the roots of some tree,
someone would have surely said "This is obviously the work of some
ignorant peasant who was trying to imitate Old French, but who knew it so
badly that he mixed in words from Old Provencal, Latin and even modern
French.  In fact, he was so ignorant that he even wrote the same word
differently twice in two instances!"  The debate would still be going on,
even though ALL these things really occurred in the manuscript of the
"Oaths of Strassburg".

Yuri Kuchinsky -=O=- 

You never need think you can turn over any old falsehoods without a
terrible squirming of the horrid little population that dwells under 
it -=O=- Oliver Wendell Holmes 

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