Re-Evaluating Recent Writing
   by Robert E. Haynes (1998)

I recently sent to a good friend, of many years, several of the papers I have written of late, for his suggestions and comments. His primary criticism was the negative aspects of the contents he saw in my writing. This had not occurred to me before he mentioned it. In re-reading these papers I can see his point. They are not negative in the sense of denial of either the material or its meaning, but in the primary hope that the students of today will fully understand the level of deterioration of the scholarship one finds in almost every area of the publications we read at present. We have to ask ourselves what level of knowledge we wish to obtain from both the available past scholarship, and if new information put forward today is enhancing our knowledge and the future education of all students. If it is not, as I maintain, then we have to find out why. That is the vital principle of this redargution that is seen as contrary to the views of my friend. One can not hope to raise the level of scholarship by praising the lack of it. This privation of erudition that has been for years taken as the method to learning has to stop. Granted that the highest level of scholarship occurred a hundred years ago, and that we still base our studies today on hundred year old information. We must find a way to go beyond this centenary body of doctrine. What I have just stated applies to the scholarship in sword fittings alone since I am not knowledgeable in the fields of blades and armor with regard to the scholarship that might be years ahead of that formed a hundred years ago. If this dichotomy exists I wonder why? I hope my friend who is a scholar in all these fields will tell us about these relationships. For me the negative is the only way I am able to reach the minds of the student who belabors the past and has no present to guide him in future studies. He can not keep the status quo for the next hundred years. Or perhaps there is a great body of knowledge that goes beyond that of Akiyama that I am not aware of!


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