(1) A big hello to Rich SantaColoma as he emerges from the VMs “List Closet” into the bright(-ish) light of the blogosphere. His “New Atlantis Voynich Theory” blog sets out his basic stall – which is that, thanks to his “Nagging Sense of Newness” about the Voynich Manuscript, he harbours strong doubts that it is anywhere near as old as mainstream Voynich researchers (such as, errrm, me, apparently) think it is.

The truth is that historians have basically frittered the last century away on foolish conceits (such as the Roger Bacon thing, the Dee-and-Kelley thing, or the it’s-a-hoax-because-the-NSA-can’t-break-it thing), and so until such time as a single proper codicological and palaeographical analysis comes along to define the research problem properly, we’ll remain in the same old evidential free-fall.

As for me, I’m sticking with John Manly’s assessment (that the quire numbers were added in the 15th century) as a basic starting point for the dating: and if that turns out to be wrong, then so be it. That doesn’t make me “mainstream”, just… old-fashioned, I guess. 🙂

Incidentally, it’s a little-known fact that the Beinecke’s catalogue originally listed MS 408 as fifteenth century, but that in the 1970s (perhaps as a result of Brumbaugh’s wobbly claims?) this got extended forwards to the sixteenth century… I suspect they got it right the first time round.

PS: Rich, given that I think Q13 has a water theme, I’m sticking with the catoblepas (with its heavy head hanging down) rather than the armadillo – given that even Leonardo wrote that the catoblepas was found at the Nigricapo [the source of the Niger river], it was very much part of the mental landscape of the Florentine Quattrocento.

(2) And another big hello to (the apparently email-address-less?) “acevoynich” and [his/her] eponymic “acevoynich’s blog“. Though given [his/her] apparent inability to find Cipher Mysteries, the Voynich Manuscript Mailing List, The Journal of Voynich Studies, voynich.nu, the Voynich Wikipedia site, the Voynich dmoz entry, etc (let alone D’Imperio or The Curse) I have to say I’m somewhat dubious that [he/she] is, as [he/she] claims, actually writing a “thesis”. Does [he/she] really have a research question in mind, or is [he/she] just a [troll/trollette]? Hmmm…

Still, acevoynich feels confident to ask the five key W-questions of the big V-manuscript: who, what, where, when, why. Again, I refer the honourable member to my previous answer: and add that until such time as we have the forensic side (the “What happened?” question) considerably more locked down than it is at the present, I suspect that these W’s are (sad as it is) actually more harmful than helpful. Oh well! 🙁