A book of illustrations and writings composed in a language no one can understand, the Voynich Manuscript (VM) has had a cult following in certain obscure corners of the bibliophilic world for sometime. This week, researchers at the University of Arizona were able to determine that the book is from the early 15th century, making it older than most people thought.
No one knows who wrote the VM, but two perennial favorites are now out of the running. Roger Bacon, who for some reason figures in a large number of conspiracies and mysteries from the time period, surely couldn’t have written it. He was long dead by the time it was composed. Another leading theory has been that it was created by Wilfrid Voynich, the book dealer for whom it is named. That theory is now out. Voynich wasn’t even born until the late 1800s.
Who wrote the Voynich? What does it mean? No one knows, but lots of people spend their spare time trying to find out. Last year I read The Book of God and Physics, by Enrique Joven, a “literary thriller” of sorts which deals in detail with the VM and those who obsess over it. The book was informative, but Joven, who is a serious scientist and amateur VM sleuth, isn’t much of a thriller writer. If you’re interested in the VM and the various theories surrounding it, The Book of God and Physics might be of interest, but we are still waiting for a really top notch book on the VM to be written.