...If this document is authentic, then a complete reappraisal will be necessary. Our idea of that era is based upon the fact that the only writings we possess are lists, inventories, and fragments of what might be poetry, or merely descriptions of exotic objects belonging to now-lost inventories.[...]
The document came into my possession via a source I cannot name. The document itself is a copy, made very recently, and so of course it may be a forgery, a fiction. I was skeptical myself until I read it, and still harbor serious doubts — or more precisely fears — about its authenticity.
My immediate problem is this: should I present this document to the Conference?
The reasons for not doing so are only too obvious. I cannot make any claim for the document's validity without naming my source, and then presenting that source's credentials for scrutiny. It would also be necessary to find solid corroboration for the facts set forth in the document. Unfortunately, the extant evidence — lists, inventories, etc. — has already been examined thoroughly, and its interpretation is considered more or less settled.[...]
All my experience with the Conference, in addition to my native caution, tells me to wait. To present now could easily ruin my career.
The next [Convention] is three years away. That would be, it seems to me, plenty of time to prepare a good case for the document's legitimacy. But for that very reason, I must consider that sooner or later some of my colleagues might hear about what I am doing, and leap into the chase. Should that happen, I fear that the faint track left so many generations ago would become obliterated by their trampling feet.[...]
I must be free to pursue this without interference, wherever it may lead. And I strongly feel that this "discovery," if it proves to be genuine, could make my reputation, not only among my colleagues, but for generations to come.
It begins to seem that the prudent choice is not to be prudent. I believe that if I present now, I will be in effect (if not in fact) laughed out of the Conference. If my colleagues become convinced that I am a crackpot, they may leave me alone.
However, I must not hedge the presentation, first of all in loyalty to my belief in the document, and second because it will place me on record at this earliest date. And actually, I cannot imagine any more effective way to guarantee my colleagues' incredulity than to make a straight case — nay, to do so enthusiastically. So I will present.