Thursday, January 30, 2014

Commentary on the Proposed Voynich Solution

This news item is getting a lot of Internet play but I felt that the the commentary out there did not emphasize one of the most appealing elements of the proposed Voynich solution and so we will do so here.

To backup a bit, a manuscript was acquired in 1912 by a collector of rare manuscripts whose text appeared to be enciphered and whose illustrations were exotic and whose provenance appeared to be about 16th century. Many, many people have tried to decode the text and failed. Many others have asserted that the document is a forgery or fraud and at least as many have said they believe it is genuine.

But the biggest mystery was, if it was genuine, what is its backstory? How could it have come out of nothing without someone having known about it? A secret cult ? A mysterious religion ? Proof once more of aliens from outer space who have come for our women ?

What makes this story all the better is that the proposed solution comes from a retired botanist and antiquarian who has published in the journal of the American Botany Council.

So far the response to this paper, from other botanists at least, has been very positive.

What appealed to me was the implied answer to the questions of why the language seems unknown, why no one knew of this document, why the plants are exotic and so forth.  The answer suggested by the proposal is because it was created by indiginous people in New Spain (e.g. Mexico) who later died of one of the epidemics, whose dialect went extinct with so many others in that period, and whose related documents were all burned by the Spanish as they burned so many documents in order to destroy the culture of their conquered territory.


and the essay itself

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