To get 2012 rolling, I thought you might like to know that Walter Grosse has just started an English-language blog about his Voynich Manuscript theory.
Briefly, he proposes that each Voynichese ‘word’ super-verbosely enciphers a digit, based purely on the number of letters it contains. So, the first six words of page f1r (in EVA: “fachys ykal ar ytaiin shol shosy”) is f.a.ch.y.s [=5] y.k.a.l [=4] a.r [=2] y.t.a.i.i.n [=6] sh.o.l [=3] sh.o.s.y [=4], i.e. “542634”. By then assigning (somehow) a set of Greek letters to each verbosely enciphered digit, Grosse generates a list of permuted words, and then chooses the one that makes most sense. In this case, “542634” turns out to be two 3-letter words (“542” and “634”), which he reads as σαν ετι, i.e. “As yet”.
Inevitably, though, it seems (from other posts) that he’s experiencing difficulty applying this same ambiguous cipher-breaking methodology to other pages, because he has posted lists of permutation tables followed by the rather dour phrase “0 possibilities”.
In some ways, it’s fascinating to see how old ideas keep coming round in slightly different guises. Brumbaugh similarly converted Voynichese to digits (though not so extraordinarily verbosely, it has to be said), and tried to salvage text from the resulting digit stream, though ultimately accepting somewhat grudgingly that the digit stream was not meaningful. Claude Martin travelled much the same path as Brumbaugh, proposing instead that it was constructed from a deliberately nonsensical digit stream. In my opinion, both Brumbaugh’s and Martin’s digit stream theories explained nothing whatsoever about the nature and structure of Voynichese, and so have nothing to commend them: and σαν ετι I don’t see any reason why I should think differently about Grosse’s superverbose digit stream theory. Sorry to have to point it out, but “it’s like that, that’s the way it is”.
So there is also a depressing fatalism to Voynich theories: that if you wait long enough, someone will inevitably build a contemporary doppelganger of William Romaine Newbold’s ink-craquelure Latin shorthand pareidoiliac theory, or indeed any other theory you may have already seen. Feeling desperate to see yet another Hebrew Voynich theory? Have no fear, like London buses there’ll doubtless be one along any minute. As my grandfather used to chortle, “Aldgate East, Aldgate aht!” 😉