I’m delighted to hear on the grapevine that a couple of Voynicheros have approached ‘mates of mates’ to write a detailed analytical discussion of the imagery in MS Beinecke 408.
Assuming the grapevine isn’t just spreading another Voynich-meme, this is something to look forward to.
If the person has suitable qualifications and some decades of experience in comparative iconographic studies, we can look forward to their opinion’s being offered in as little as a year or two if the research is conducted independently.
The time might be shortened if they decide to be guided by the opinions of a given theory-team. To shorten it still further, they might assume the results before undertaking any research, and so limit their investigation to a single medium and the desired time and place – e.g. German manuscript art of the fifteenth century, though in that case, the results will certainly be wrong.
On the other hand, if they begin without any prior assumptions and refuse amateur guidance, we might have to wait rather longer. Detailed analysis of imagery which has no known history, which is so difficult to interpret and which is so considerable in its volume, offers a task equivalent to producing a solid doctoral thesis on a hitherto untreated topic. Believe me.
If the grapevine has reported truly, then, I look forward to having some fruitful and informed discussions eventually. So far it has been a quiet life, writing up my research here. But I feel for anyone who takes the task seriously and works in the same way. Comparison for a couple of details in this manuscript, to my knowledge, reduce to imagery on artefacts only fairly recently unearthed and not yet written up by the archaeologists who found them.
As anyone knows who has worked in that field, or in consultation with it, finds are often not written up at all, and it is not rare that the writing-up is only done by the following generation.
To have the chance to discuss research with a fellow sufferer is always a delight, though, so I hope this Voynich rumour does proves to be accurate, and look forward to eventual debate and discussion online.
I could recommend to those Voynicheros – if they haven’t found anyone willing or able yet to undertake their commission – the same people who served as peer reviewers-in-advance for me. Chosen by the publisher, I found them delightful critics and very helpful too.
One pointed out that my only example of non-Jewish micrography in Europe had come from an early copy of Aratus, and that if indeed, as Pelling and others argue, the Voynich hand is affected by Italian humanist style (or even if it is closer to the Caroline), those things by implication adds some weight to the possibility that the Voynich text is derived from antique and very possibly ancient sources.
Another referred me then to the earliest known ‘reading stone’ extant in the Latin west. It is dated to c.1000AD and is shown below, as well as being the header for this post.