Before I received your letter this morning, I had never heard of Frank Walton and, as far as I can recall no one with that name has ever written to me. I did receive a letter from a certain Tim O’Neill, who, after asking him to identify himself, replied that he was an amateur researcher, interested in questions of the historical Jesus, a claim which I credited as, among other things, his assumptions about academic credentials were, at best, naive. I receive such letters frequently and so, after a cursory check of the name on Google, I responded.
He reported to me that you had made a public claim that your book was to be published in the Copenhagen International seminar, a monograph series for which I am responsible. Since, as you know, I am in fact currently reviewing your monograph and considering it for publication, I wrote you immediately and asked you to remove any such claim from your web site, which you immediately agreed to do, without objection and without questioning my request. With that I was satisfied. Such misunderstandings frequently occur, I felt, and are easily corrected.
However, I must thank you for referring me to the criticism you have received on Frank Walton’s blog, which I have just read. Dated September 14, this person claims that he had written to me–apparently, I now assume, posing as Tim O’Neill to prevent me in identifying him or his blog. In Frank Walton’s blog, following a rather scurrilous description of your academic interests, he accuses you of lying regarding a claim that the book you now have in progress is to be “peer reviewed” for the Copenhagen series. This statement of yours, however, is true and I hardly have any objection to this description–as it accords well with our discussions in the past.
In quoting my letter (without my consent or knowledge), not only has Frank Walton deleted the name of Tim O’Neill in the address and claimed that the letter was to himself, he also has deleted the question he in fact had asked in his letter to me–not whether your book was to be “peer reviewed” and under consideration for publication in our series, but rather, whether the book had been already accepted for publication. That he has switched his questions is, of course, unknown to the readers of his blog and thoroughly dishonest.
If you consider it useful to cite this letter in responding to Frank Walton’s slander, you have both my permission and best wishes.
I hope the blog-storm that the unethical misuse of my letters has created will not effect your consideration of our series for your monograph and that you will allow me to continue with my review of the book as heretofore planned.
Thomas L. Thompson
University of Copenhagen
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