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!

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4 thoughts on “More Theories to Come

  1. Cheryl’s point about Occam’s Razor is a great one. The problem is that it is thrown around by some with the most complex explanations, and also used to dismiss the very people who use the principles. Well I use it, too… and in this case I think, “Sure it does apply… but why stop there? Sharpen the razor, and keep going”.

    What is the absolute very simplest reason for everything in the Voynich, that explains everything in it, and also, even, explains almost all the observations of all theories? That explains all the problems with lack of, and bad, provenance. That explains bizarre, unknown content, and also the frequent sense it contains newer content, that is, that it is anachronistic? That there is nothing else like it, to compare it to? Which explains why the cipher/code seems to be far too advanced for “its time”?

    Very simply, the simplest of all: It was all made up by an imaginative forger, in modern times, after seeing the description of a missing cipher manuscript in the letters of Kircher, from a stack of old vellum, in about a month or two, to make a buck.

  2. Cheryl’s saying
    … 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.

    A very level-headed take on the manuscript, and one which has some support in the content of Baresch’s letter to Kircher.

  3. Well, Occam’s Razor cuts both ways*) I’d say, Cheryl, and I think your scenario only shifts the questions, but doesn’t answer them.

    After all, the original VM apparently wasn’t only written in a foreign *language*, but in a foreign *script*. And if the “blind copyist” (ie, a copyist who couldn’t understand the contents) reproduced the original in any faithful manner, the question still is — which script was the “original” VM written in? Obviously not Latin, Greek or Cyrillic, because the copyist would have recognized that; the left-to-right writing seems to exclude Hebrew and Arabic also, so what was the original script?

    If the original script was an invention of the (original) author, then all the questions we have about the VM (most prominently of all, “WTF is it all about?”, and “Why was it enciphered?”) would still remain unanswered. All your scenario does is introducing a “veil” between them and us, saying that a less-than-faithful copying process may have made the result indecipherable.

    *) Wouldn’t that be a cool name for a punk rock album?

  4. Elmar,
    One of your correspondents made some original, and very interesting observations about the way the text seems to have been written ‘from the bottom of the page upwards’. I’d very much like to refer to them – in relation to codicology – but can’t find the post (or comment?) just now.
    Does the item ring a bell?

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