Its purpose in fact is not to create a false belief but to undermine established beliefs and convictions. It serves to destabilize, to throw suspicion upon powers and counterpowers alike, to make us distrust our sources, to sow confusion.
We conclude then that the people of the Middle Ages falsified in order to confirm their faith in something (an author, an institution, a current of thought, a theological truth) and to uphold an order, whereas our contemporaries falsify in order to create distrust and disorder. Our philological age can no longer permit itself falsifications that present themselves as truths because it knows they will be unveiled in no time; and it operates instead by spreading falsifications that have no fear of philological examination, because they are destined to be unmasked immediately. We are not dealing with an isolated fake that masks, hides, and confuses, and to that end endeavors to seem “true.” It is the quantity of falsifications recognizable as such that functions as a mask, because it tends to undermine the reliability of all truth.