That’s one way to describe what I do. The puzzles happen on several levels. I see the past as a chaotic mess onto which (or out of which) I impose (or extract) some order. This can mean identifying the author of a forgery, or moving a law (and its consequences) from one reign to another. It can mean sorting out the history of a medieval book—who was it created for, who wrote it, why certain texts were included, and how was it read? It can mean things as simple and basic to our understanding of medieval evidence as finding an explanation for how texts were created and sorting out why and how medieval translators worked. My work has ranged from the most fundamental tasks of textual criticism—sorting through errors in manuscript witnesses—to the most real and painful phenomena of the lives of people when they were faced by the horrors of a medieval legal system. I try to establish the facts and stick to them, even while allowing my imagination to test the limits of interpretation.
Here you will learn a bit about God's Peace and King's Peace (1999), Reversing Babel (2011), and Textus Roffensis (2015), an edited volume born of a conference on an exceptional manuscript.
Editions and Translations
I have edited and translated a number of treatises produced in England from the aftermath of the Norman conquest up until the end of the twelfth century.
Articles and Chapters
I have gathered here most of the short works I have published. I have also provided some information (and a first page) for work in progress--four articles that will appear in print over the next three years.
I have provided here a selection of the reviewing work I have done in the past 25 years. All of it is of works by scholars--mostly historians and editors, and appeared in academic journals.