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Response to Review of The Debate on the Crusades, 1099-2010 (Issues in Historiography)

Modesty forbids any general comment on Simon John’s review other than thanks for his interest and generosity. He is I think absolutely right about the need for further work on medieval crusade texts as works of history and interpretation and not just mines of information. However, that would require a detailed acquaintance with manuscript traditions which on a large scale and over a long period is a tall order for any scholar however skilled, vigorous, energetic and young. On the point about underplaying Riley-Smith (whose presence at Cambridge and London I do actually mention p. 231 pace John), my intention was to try to place his work in a context not often noted, both insular and continental, without giving his work treatment different from that afforded other writers. It seemed best to treat the corpus as a whole precisely because of the influence of his work. It also seemed wise not to use a work describing historiography as an excuse to project my own views, a danger not avoided in some other recent books on crusade historiography.