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The Voynich Manuscript: The Mysterious Code That Has Defied Interpretation for Centuries (Anglais) Broché – 28 août 2006

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3,9 étoiles sur 5 28 Commentaires sur Amazon.com |

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The Voynich Manuscript Since its discovery in 1912, this medieval manuscript has baffled scholars and cryptanalysists with its unidentifiable script and bizarre illustrations. The authors examine the many existing theories about its possible authors and the information it may contain. Full description

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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5 28 commentaires
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 really good book on an ancient, fascinating enigma 11 mai 2013
Par S.W. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I bought this book recently, and I must say I'm impressed. I found it to be very informative. However, I also have to say that it is lacking in the way photos of pages in the MS. The text and the drawings in the MS are discussed, but since the MS is so long and so "illustrated," it's disappointing that so few of the pages in the document are actually shown in this book. But this is still a really good book for what IS in it (or for most of what's in it), in my opinion.

The VMS is one of the most fascinating enigmas (if not THE most fascinating one) that I've become familiar with. Everything about it is mystifying. Who wrote it? Why did they write it? Is it in an "encrypted" natural language, or is it perhaps in a "made-up" language? Just exactly what is the significance of the many plants, of the mostly-naked females, and of the other strange imagery? Is the MS "mystical," or does it have some botanical or medical or religious significance? Do the text and the drawings really even have to do with each other? To this very day, the answers to these questions remain uncertain, though theories abound.

Since the publication of this book, the VMS has been carbon-dated and appears to have been created between 1403-1438, and so it seems unlikely that it's a hoax, as the book several times admits it may be --- and as one of the authors believed (believes?) it was (is?); one thing that's for sure is that it isn't a 20th-Century hoax perpetrated by Wilfrid Voynich himself (or for that matter, by anyone else). Thus, a good bit of what it is in the book is now outdated (most of that stuff is in the last two chapters). But most of it is still "contemporary."

This book discusses many of the theories and "decryptions" that have been put forward, and how they were carried out --- as well as how they were flawed. Probably the best example of a so-called "solution" to the puzzle of the VMS was the very-convoluted one presented by Prof. William Romaine Newbold, who firmly believed, as did Wilfrid Voynich himself, that the MS was the work of Roger Bacon. The best "debunker" in the book is probably Prof. John Mathews Manly, who worked to show that Newbold's "decryption" was wrong.

The book also concerns the many methods of creating ciphers, and their strengths and weaknesses. (A cipher may SEEM "unbreakable" when in fact it's far from it, as the book demonstrates.)

Of all the attempts that have been made to "crack" the MS' "cipher" (if that's even what it truly is), and to figure out how the cipher might have been created in the first place, NONE have produced "results" that are completely respectable, if at all. Could it be that the MS is the product of a "not right" mind, or of someone suffering from migraine hallucinations? Not one "explanation" for the MS seems entirely satisfactory. Perhaps there isn't just one explanation, and there are many different factors at work.

As I said before, I found this book to be very informative. But, in addition to the lack of photos from the VMS, it has some other shortcomings, at least in my opinion. For one thing, on page 152 it says of the MS, "there are no doubled letters." But, earlier, on page 117, in the discussion of James Martin Feely's "Voynichese to Latin" translations of the "Voynichese words" appearing on that page, one of the "Voynichese" letters (the one that looks like a 'c' and that Feely "transcribes" as 'm') clearly appears twice in a row in the words. 'MM' and even 'MMM' also appear in many of Feely's other "transcriptions," and there is one instance of 'NN.' [Edit from Oct.'13: Since I first posted this review, I've realized that there are also many other instances in the book where the same letter shows up twice in a row in Voynichese words!] Inconsistent, unless I've missed something or don't have something straight. And, as someone else pointed out, the authors don't seem to understand alchemy. (I suppose it could well be that the MS was meant as an alchemical experiment.) There were also places where I found the book to be sort of tedious, although it managed to hold my interest nonetheless. (The inclusion of the outdated stuff is a potential problem, as that stuff was still "valid" when the book was published, but at the same time, will fool those who aren't aware of the fact that the MS has been carbon-dated, or of its apparent [approximate] age.)

I must say also that there are a few places in the book that trouble me a bit, for reasons that are rather personal. The authors are apparently atheists who do not believe in the existence of the spiritual world, or in any truly "spiritual" or "psychical" manifestations. I respect those who do not subscribe to any religion and who do not believe in the "spiritual" or the "psychical," and I don't want to argue with any of them here, but to me, the authors' attitude toward these matters is kind of off-putting. I don't doubt that people can and probably have misinterpreted purely "scientific" occurrences as "spiritual"/"psychic"/"divine intervention," but I firmly believe that science cannot account for everything, at least not entirely. But again, I don't want to argue with anyone. I'm not here to shoot anyone because of what they believe or don't believe.

Despite my issues with the book, I really do think it's really good overall!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Engaging adventure 16 mars 2013
Par Green Stone - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book about the mysterious Voynich Manuscript is an engaging adventure into the mystery of this enigmatic 15th century document. Various theories about the meaning and origin of the book are presented, including the possibility that the book was created as a hoax, perhaps by Voynich himself (who allegedly discovered it in the early 20th century in an old church) in order to make himself a fortune. However, the book has been carbon dated, and it is now believed to have been written between 1404 and 1438, making it unlikely it is any kind of hoax.

The one area where this exploration of the Voynich manuscript is ironically weakest, is in precisely the area where I believe most investigation is needed, namely into its possible alchemical and magical associations. THe authors of this book, Kennedy and CHurchill, unfortunately (and rather foolishly) close that avenue of exploration down immediately, stating, (pg 228): "Knowing, as we do, in our modern scientific age, of the impossibility of alchemy..." Such statements are surprisingly foolish and blind for a couple authors who have entertained all other avenues of exploration. ALchemy is neither "impossible" nor dead, it lives today in many practitioners who are aware of what Kennedy and Churchill seem oblivious towards: namely, that alchemy is not identical with chemistry, that it cannot be "outdated" by science, because it is not "merely" an external science. Rather it is a spiritual and hermetic- magical practice using the symbolism of the laboratory to accomplish its ends. A couple books on the subject are Julius Evola's "THe Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art", and Dennis William Hauck's "Sorcerer's Stone: A beginner's guide to Alchemy." Carl Jung wrote extensively about the hidden, inner meanings of alchemy in the last part of his life, and it surprises me that the authors are so dismissive of this enormous treasure of hermetic wisdom.

THe authors, however, show similar disdain and a reductionist view towards other spiritual phenomena, referring for instance to the spiritual ecstasies and visions of Hildegaard of Bingen as "migranous" and as simply hallucinogenic symptoms of her migrane headaches. The authors provide as evidence for their smug reductionist attitude, the "Martian" script of an apparently deluded 19th century psychic, Helene Smith, based upon the investigations of one who sought to prove her a fraud. Perhaps she was a fraud, but the existence of some spiritualist frauds does not conclusively refute the existence of the spiritual and psychic realm.

Such reductionist and dismissive approaches to possible spiritual phenomena preclude the authors from being able to engage in appropriate explorations of the mystery they seek to explore. I think it is telling that while historians, linguists, botanists, cryptographers, archeologists, antiquarians, and others have delved into the mystery of the Voynich manuscript, we have not heard from alchemists or magicians, modern day hermeticists or practitioners of esoteric and occult arts, who may be best positioned to understand the secrets of this document, through the images contained in it.

THe book ends on an interesting note. Churchill suggests that the manuscript may act as a mirror, revealing to its seekers the secrets that they are invested in finding there. In doing this, perhaps the Voynich manuscript demonstrates to us in its own inimitable way, that there may be good purpose in leaving something in undecipherable text. The mirror thereby produced functions in a similar way as some of the operations of alchemy themselves, and thus the Voynich manuscript could be viewed as an alchemical operation begun in the 15th century, which still performs its function upon everyone who looks into it.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Lucid presentation based on diligent research 28 juin 2013
Par P. A. Crossley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The authors present a wide-ranging account of the approaches that have been taken to interpreting the VM. The writing is a bit bumpy, perhaps because of the multiple authors, but that doesn't interfere with the lucidity and cohesion of the book as a whole. I especially appreciated the material on the history of cryptography and cryptanalysis in chapters 4 and 5: an exceptionally clear yet adequately terse account of the methods that underlie the core of efforts both old and new to decipher the script. I'm less sure of the value of attempts to gain insight from the graphics, presented in chapter 6. Yet some consideration of them is absolutely necessary, since they provide the atmosphere that's certainly out of this world, making anyone examining the VM believe there must be something of value hidden within it.

Sadly the book was published before the results of radio-carbon dating of the vellum were published. If accurate, that dating rules out origination prior to the 15th century. However, the samples used for that analysis may have skewed the results, so I don't suppose we've heard the last word in that arena yet.

One thought the book prompted, which so far as I know hasn't been considered. Could the VM be simply a fantasy-fiction work, not deliberately intended to deceive or defraud as a hoax would?
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great book. Full of possibilities 22 mars 2015
Par PYH - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
A great book. Full of possibilities; a nice review of the now long history of this mysterious manuscript. After reading the book, I have a feeling that it is not supposed to be deciphered and it is some sort of Alchemy in a form of book: whoever researches it, finds the truth they are looking for, or they believe in. Nobody got rich with the manuscript, as far as i can tell, but many had the feeling they reached some sort of a personal satisfaction of one's innermost desires.

The last owner of the manuscript donated it but there is a mention that he personally went to the Vatican Library and found out that the Vatican was surprised that they did not have it there, when it should have received from Villa Mondragone in 1912...
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Well researched, well written, engaging and thought provoking 2 juin 2011
Par NCDaisy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
A superb overview of the Voynich Mystery, the authors balance the clinical analysis needed with a thought provoking writing style. Opening every possible door and examining each thoroughly before shutting them, only at the end are we left with their own opinions as to what this thing is and what it might mean. From cryptography to psychiatry to theology to in the dirt historical research, every angle is examined. An excellent recitation and discussion of a fascinating mystery.

I would happily buy an updated version detailing recent technical analysis carried out on the manuscript.

From my view, the it's most likely this thing is simply a 15th century hoax related to alchemy- that "science" was infected with hoaxes. But if it's not the significant improvement in computing power in recent years should eventually crack whatever code exists. So hopefully one day we'll know what those plump nymphs were really up to.
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