Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Voynich Manuscript Deciphered

Nicholas Gibbs convincingly argues in the Times Literary Supplement that he has deciphered the 16th century illustrated manuscript known as the Voynich manuscript. He argues that is a copied anthology of medical texts, focused on women's health that trace to classical period sources for the most part, and that the text mostly consists of abbreviations of Latin words found in the source texts.

Previous efforts to decode the manuscript have eluded researchers for many decades, if not centuries.


Mitchell said...

Fake news?

andrew said...

I appreciate the link, although I think that the Atlantic article is too harsh, even if the TLS piece is more of an op-ed piece than a third party journalistic story.

I don't think anyone could read the TLS piece and conclude that it, itself is the solution. It is more like a long "Science Daily" article that presumes that there is a journal article with a complete result to back it up. If there is such a document, awaiting publication, then the author will be redeemed. If there isn't then it is a bit of a hoax.

Honestly, I found his assertion that this is a code (in which a symbol substitutes for words according to an external key) as opposed to a cipher, according to correspondences know to Latin scribes at the time and discernible in part from a standard reference, rather convincing, and his theory on why there are omissions (an index in the source materials is not included in the document, whether or not the index ever got around to being written in fact), rather persuasive.

Time will tell.