More on the Voynich MS
Posted: 14 August 2019 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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No crackpot theories here, but solid commentary on why there are so many.

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Posted: 14 August 2019 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fascinating stuff. I wonder why the author of the manuscript didn’t use a better known script or symbol style. Afterall, writing is supposed to communicate thoughts to others.

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Posted: 14 August 2019 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I wonder why the author of the manuscript didn’t use a better known script or symbol style. Afterall, writing is supposed to communicate thoughts to others.

Of course, that’s core to the mystery. If we knew the answer to this question it would answer a lot, even if we couldn’t read it.

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Posted: 14 August 2019 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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As a non-subscriber, I’m locked out.  Can you summarize the basic idea?

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Posted: 14 August 2019 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Lisa Fagin Davis, executive director of the Medieval Academy of America, an expert in manuscript studies and codicology, and who as a grad student at Yale was responsible for correspondence regarding the MS, wrote it.

She proffers no explanation for the MS, summarizing some of the more recent claims as to having deciphered it. She argues that pretty much without exception, all those who tackle the MS have a preconceived notion of what it’s about, often based on an understanding of medieval Europe based on Tolkien, Game of Thrones, and other popular depictions of it. These explanations tell us more about ourselves in the 21st century than they do about the MS or medieval Europe:

In this context, what are we to make of the widespread popular interest in a 600-year-old manuscript that no one can read? While it is the mystery of the Voynich that appeals, that grabs and holds the attention of a curious public, undercooked solutions presented without context lead readers down a rabbit hole of misinformation, conspiracy theories and the thoroughly unproductive fetishization of a fictional medieval past, turning an authentic and fascinating medieval manuscript into a caricature of itself.

She ends with a caution about our historical preconceptions of the medieval past in light that they are often used today by white supremacists to justify their racist ideologies. (She’s not saying that the proposed explanations for the MS are themselves racist in origin, just that popular ideas about the medieval in general often give rise to racist notions.)

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Posted: 15 August 2019 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Makes sense.  In fact, it all seems obvious to me, but it’s good to have it out there.  Not that it will change anyone’s mind…

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Posted: 15 August 2019 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Agreed by another non-believer.

I learned something from this. Googling “codicology” (wikipedia: the study of codices or manuscript books written on parchment [or paper] as physical objects), I followed links to another term long forgotten, though perhaps not so by the more erudite here - rubrication, the addition of red headings to mark the end of one section of text and the beginning of another; thence to a recipe for the red ink, printed in Theophilus’s De diversis artibus:

To prepare white-flake, get some sheets of lead beaten out thin, place them dry in a hollow piece of wood and pour in some warm vinegar or urine to cover them. Then, after a month, take off the cover and remove whatever white there is, and again replace it as at first. When you have a sufficient amount and you wish to make red lead from it, grind this flake-white on a stone without water, then put it in two or three new pots and place it over a burning fire. You have a slender curved iron rod, fitted at one end in a wooden handle and broad at the top, and with this you can stir and mix this flake-white from time to time. You do this for a long time until the red lead becomes visible.

Wikipedia

The process took a long time to complete, but was cheap and used common materials (to put it politely). The white material is lead carbonate and the red material is lead oxide.

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Posted: 15 August 2019 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Maybe it was simply an intelligent jokester who created it and therefore it means nothing at all.

[ Edited: 15 August 2019 06:53 PM by Eyehawk ]
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Posted: 16 August 2019 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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That has been suggested, but it would be an extraordinarily elaborate and expensive hoax to pull off.

The parchment has been carbon-dated to the 15th century, and the inks use materials common in ink of the period. So it’s not a modern forgery. (It could conceivably be, but that would require finding a mass of clean, 600-year-old parchment and expertise in paleography (old handwriting) and codicology sufficient to fool the experts. The odds are vanishingly small.)

As to it being a contemporary hoax or scam, it still would be an expensive one. The cost of the parchment would have been daunting, and the detail and skill of the drawings is exquisite, likely requiring at least a year’s work by a skilled artisan.

Because of this, it’s almost certainly a “real” work, albeit a very strange one.

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Posted: 16 August 2019 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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As to it being a contemporary hoax or scam, it still would be an expensive one. The cost of the parchment would have been daunting, and the detail and skill of the drawings is exquisite, likely requiring at least a year’s work by a skilled artisan.

Because of this, it’s almost certainly a “real” work, albeit a very strange one.

I completely disagree, and that strikes me as a very strange argument.  Surely you’re aware that many people have spent astonishing amounts of time, effort, and money doing apparently pointless things.  Just because you or I wouldn’t choose to spend our life that way doesn’t mean nobody would.  I take the opposite point of view: if it were a “real” work, it would have been deciphered by now; ergo it’s a prank.  (Compare alien visitations.)

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Posted: 16 August 2019 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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There are many examples of modern-day codes that haven’t been deciphered and continue to baffle cryptographers. (Including one in the entrance-way to the CIA (or is the NSA?)) So the fact that we haven’t decoded it yet doesn’t really tell us anything except that it’s either 1) nonsense, or 2) by someone very clever.

I think most likely it’s a notebook for personal use. There are lots of examples of people using ciphers in personal notebooks. This one is exceptionally clever and intricate, both in its cipher and in the drawings. The cipher may be for some mystical or religious reason, but we really have no clue.

And yes, there are lots of elaborate hoaxes, but few cost the equivalent of a year’s professional salary to pull off.

It’s definitely not a modern-day hoax. I don’t think that amount of clean, 15th century parchment exists.

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