There’s no such thing as an expert in Voynich studies.

Find an expert in medieval manuscripts, check out their special area of expertise – say monastic manuscripts of the Carolingian period.

Show them a page – any page – from a Carolingian manuscript and ask them to explain it.

The expert will describe (1.) the materials, the binding, the style of handwriting, (2) identify the language, translate the written text and (3) also translate the visual text, explaining what the figures represent, why their garments are coloured thus-or-so, what their hand-gestures imply, and give you a brief run-down on where you will find closely similar imagery in other manuscripts AND comparable matter in other media apart from manuscripts.

Call up any of those friendly faces who put up their hands as ‘experts’ on the Voynich manuscript and run through the same routine.

No such thing an expert in the Voynich manuscript.

The best you’ll get are (a) people who’ve really worked to become experts in its post seventeenth-century history (b) people who’ve really worked hard to research some aspect of the manuscript, and get others to attend to same (e.g. Pelling on codicology) and (c) people incredibly expert in their own hoped-for outcomes.

Prove me wrong.



2 thoughts on “There’s no such thing as an expert in Voynich studies.

  1. haha, even when you ask a question about legal matters worldwide on transcriptions, this is considered to be question for the “water cooler” and not for an expert. So i think you’re right!


    • If a transcription is published (and everything online is a published work) then you contact the person to ask permission. As I understand the principle – the labourer is worthy of his hire. You credit who ever did the actual work, even if the work is that of typing up the thing online. Naturally, you have to credit Philip Neal for his transliterations, transcriptions, translations and notes for example.

      I think of it less as about me and another individual person, and more as a way to prevent later researchers having to fight their way through dead-ends and wrong attributions before being able to evaluate the original source. But everyone differs, and a legal specialist is a legal expert, not a ‘Voynich’ expert. 🙂 I sort of have a feeling that not many legal minds would find Voynich writing of much interest – but who knows?


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