[cryptography] Radiocarbon dating of the Voynich manuscript

David G. Koontz david_koontz at xtra.co.nz
Mon Feb 14 05:00:26 EST 2011

On 14/02/11 6:48 PM, Peter Gutmann wrote:
> "David G. Koontz" <david_koontz at xtra.co.nz> writes:
>> Personally I'd hold out for the author being John Ray
> I'd hold out for the author being a medieval monk who'd suffered a stroke.
>> Answers require successful cryptanalysis.
> If it's caused by expressive aphasia or something similar then there's nothing
> to cryptanalyse.

The penmanship seems  clear for a stroke victim.  I think the same might
hold true for most wasting diseases.

David Kahn wrote:

Is it, then, just a gigantic hoax, like the Cardiff giant or the Piltdown
man or the fossils of Professor Beringer?  Nobody involved with it seems to
think so - and this includes those who have been rebuffed by it.  The work
is too well organized, too extensive, too homogeneous.  Nothing repeats
larger than a group of five words, whereas in actual hoaxes, such as the
fake hieroglyphic papyri sold to tourists in Egypt, much longer phrases are
repeated.  Moreover, the words in the text recur, but in different
combinations, just as in ordinary writing.  Even if it were a hoax, there
seems to be no point to having made it so long.  Most critically, the
medieval quasi-science that was seeking the philosopher's stone and the
elixir of life while the manuscript was being written was to credulous to
entertain the concept of a hoax.


The bit about the language likely letting out someone talking in tongues or
being syphilitic.  The longer tome more  in keeping with 'A Mid Summer
Night's Dream'.

The repetition would probably match Friedman's expectations for an
artificial language.  Now is someone going to doodle on parchment to that
extent?  Paper would have been cheaper unless parchment were necessary for a

The work seems intentional.  Whether or not it has meaning may be a separate

More information about the cryptography mailing list