More Theories to Come

And Cheryl from the Unpuzzler blog has also sent me a few ideas of hers for discussion:

I am not submitting a theory, though I do have a few, mostly of the “it’s an herbal” type, maybe a copy in a not-as-mainstream language). I am also in the Occam’s Razor camp, so to me the most likely scenario is a copy of a pre-existing manuscript, made by someone who cannot read the original language so copied it as closely as possible hoping to take it “home” and have it translated. Perhaps from an Arabic, Asian, Slavic, or (as I think you suggested) a language like Hungarian. I have very little experience with other languages so I’ll leave that for better equipped minds.

I have only been aware of the Voynich for about a year and haven’t had much time to devote to it…yet.

(And she also says a few nice words about my blog, but I’ll keep that in private!)

As soon as I find the time, I’d love to comment a few words on this, but don’t let this keep you from already submitting your comments!

Daniel’s Questions

It appears I struck a nerve when offering to people that they could submit their own pet theories on the Voynichthoughts site, since I seem to be getting contributions on an almost daily basis.

Today, it was a submission by “Daniel” who, after a friendly enough introduction —

Dear Elmar,

thank you for your blog. I am neither an expert nor a scientist but I curiously look up on whats new to Voynich once in a while. Thank you for giving me the chance to address some questions to the community, that came to my mind. Feel free to publish or not publish any or parts of it.

proceeded with, rather than presenting his own suggestions, a kind of questionnaire regarding the VM.

Since I find all of these questions very intelligent and thoughtful, here they are for you, in the hope of a lively discusson. To avoid getting the individual threads hopelessly entangled, I’ve decided to post Daniel’s questions individually. (I will join in the fray as soon as I find the time!)

  1. Information hiding
  2. Language, music, numbers
  3. Steganography
  4. Jürgen Hermes
  5. Nekkidness
  6. “Solitary” ciphers
  7. Editorial structure
  8. Lonely language

(By the way, with these posts Voynichthoughts will break the mark of 100 messages, wohoo!)

Daniel’s Questions 6/8: “Solitary” ciphers

6. Are there different attributes to encryption techniques when one encrypts something for him/herself opposed to cyphers for someone else to decode?
6.1 If the VM is only meant to be read by the authorship, does this suggest a decryption to be more difficult or impossible?
6.2 Is there any idea, if the VM is meant to travel rather than to be stored?
6.3 When the VM is created for some group, e.g. offspring, heirs or successors, how would an decryption technique and/or key be stored apart but still accessible?

Daniel’s Questions 5/8: Nekkidness

5. Has the gender of the authorship been discussed?
5.1 Could the drawings be the work of some male nerdy adolescent digesting pubertal sexual phantasies? Or could they even be the work of a female, expressing everyday life?
5.2 How common was female nudity in 15th century Europe? Was bathing done in groups rather than in private?
5.3 What do we know about shame regarding nudity in the 15th century?

Daniel’s Questions 3/8: Steganography

3. If the “font” has been used to make it appear to a hostile party as some foreign natural language one would not be able to understand anyway, would it be probable, that the drawings also have a stenographic [sic] purpose to make the MV appear somehow unimportant/harmless?

— Daniel, I suppose you meant “steganography” (“hidden” messages) rather than “stenography” (shorthand?)