The Beinecke Library site’s introduction to the manuscript, and its Orbis catalogue entry, have both been adjusted reccently,
Readers may be interested to know that that as part of this adjustment, a vague allegation by a single person, mentioned by another decades later as a vague afterthought in a letter to Kircher, and for which no evidence has ever been found… has now been “deemed” a fact by the Library. They begin the entry with the proud assertion that the Voynich manuscript “came from the Library of Rudolf II”.
All mention has been deleted of Jacub Horcicky, nicknamed ‘Sinapius’ and given the land and title of Tepenec by Rudolf. As I’m aware, Jakub is the only person certainly to have owned the manuscript before it was bequeathed to Marcus Marci. So what’s wrong with him? Was Jakub too Czech? Too Jewish? Too orphan? Has some fantasy scenario about Jakub nicking the manuscript become reified?
Evidently evidence is not so much in evidence as we might have hoped.
The Beinecke Library now instructs readers to learn the “history” of the manuscript’s research from a set of essays written in the 1970s (Yes, the 1970s!), by Robert S. Brumbaugh, whose reputation in Voynich studies has never been that bright.
Brumbaugh is famous for his inability to correctly interpret imagery, for his inability to interpret the written part of the text, and for his “Christopher Columbus” theory.
Brumbaugh wrote an article in 1987 entitled, ‘The Voynich Cipher Manuscript: a current report’ and died a few years later – that is, thirty years ago, before any of the presently active researchers were out of knee pants.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
All one can hope is that when the facsimile edition comes out with its suitably scholarly introduction, some of this ‘modification’ by the Library will become understandable.
Have those researchers discovered proof that the emperor once had it on his library shelves? That it really *is* in cipher – the growing consensus among present-day researchers is that it is not so likely to be in cipher at all.
Have they found evidence that Jakub’s signature was written by someone else?
Has there been a further series of radiocarbon tests, one which justifies the fairly staggering elasticity of the new dates: from the original “1403-1438” now to “1400? to 1599”.
1599 – what? – is that the “John Dee wrote the page numbers” bit? John Dee (13 July 1527 – 1608 or 1609)
Under the circumstances, I am having difficulty seeing any point to contributing to this study, given that the library seems to have “deemed” the book Rudolf’s, “vanished” Jakub from the story, and made a fairly useful radiocarbon date range into something more elastic than chewing gum.
It has also offered a pretty pointed insinuation that the last worthwhile work was done before most of us were born.
Not terribly encouraging, it seems to me. I guess that also means they don’t consider any of Philip Neals observations made a difference to the study (they surely did).
Should we all down tools and wait for the facsimile edition’s introductory essay? What do you think?
P.S. The header was to be part of that series on ‘events of the thirteenth and fourteenth century’ – but why waste my time and yours? Apparently Voynich research is “deemed” to have ceased in the 1970s.