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John Dee

    > [stolfi:] * The VMS was written by a single person.
    > [Rene:] I'm less than 100% sure myself

Well, I was only telling what *I* am convinced of. Needless to say,
everyone is entitled to their own propbabilities (Chinese theory
included! 8-).

    > [stolfi:] * John Dee never owned it.
    > [Rene:] This we cannot know for sure. There are significant gaps
    > in his diary IIRC. But it is certainly very possible.

There is no evidence that Dee did *not* own the manuscript, of course.
But once we exclude Bacon as the author, we have no reason to favor
Dee over thousands of other scholars, diplomats, and book merchants
that could have been the mysterious "bearer". So for me  
Prob(Dee = bearer) << 0.001. In Voynichologese, that qualifies
as "pretty certainly not" 8-)

In fact, Dee is actually *less* likely to be the "bearer" than, say,
Sendivogius. First, there is the matter of his "negative prestige" at
the Court. Moreover, Dee's diaries are not complete, sure, but we seem
to know much more about his doings than about Michael's. The diaries
include a detailed account of his first (only?) audience with Rudolf,
for instance (and it easy to see why Rudolf did not care to meet him
again 8-). Now, if an egg can be in either of two cupboards, and we
searched half of one cupboard without finding it, that makes it twice
as likely that the egg is in the other one.

Finally, Dee would surely know that the VMS could not be Bacon's ---
and he doesn't come through as someone who would try to swindle the
Emperor of Bohemia.

Note that I am assuming here, for the sake of argument, that the VMS
was indeed "Rudolf's Bacon". But I am fairly skeptical about this
claim, too. If the VMS was never in Rudolf's hands, then the universe
of possible owners is a lot bigger --- and Prob(Dee owned VMS) is
correspondingly lower.

    > [stolfi:] The alleged identification of Dee's hand in the folio
    > numbers has been substantially discredited by Prinke.
    > [Rene:] If I understand correctly, the identification by a
    > credable expert, as recorded in the Beinecke description,
    > actually refers to a page in Dee's manuscripts written by Kelly.
    > Even if the idenfication were correct (which I'm also not too
    > sure about), it would be Kelly, not Dee, and Kelly had a
    > completely different history in Bohemia than Dee.

The first paragraph above applies to Kelley as well: if the VMS is
not Bacon's, he is just one possibility among thousands.  

Also, the "cupboard" argument is relevant to him too -- he left no
diary, but we still seem to know more about his doings in Prague than
about the other "cupboards" there.

    > [Nick:] The *foliation numerals* are in an ordered, standard
    > sixteenth-century hand (which, when put next to Kelly's at the
    > British Library, appeared very similar - but this fell a long
    > way short of definitive identification)... but that the *quire
    > markings* were extremely similar to John Dee's random, careless
    > hand, and that these had been identified as Dee's by several
    > people (on-list and off-list).

Well, I hope that Rafal can comment on that. In any case, the quire
numbers seem to be too small a sample for the positive identification
of one scholar among many.

    > BTW: I'm now quite comfortable with identifying the VMS with
    > Kelly's "boke of Dunstan", especially now that I've read (in
    > Breisach) about Caterina Sforza's alchemical experiments - I
    > couldn't see the link before that. :-)

I thought that the theory "VMS=BoD" had been convincingly dismissed.
Note that there is nothing in the VMS remotely suggestive of alchemy
or gold-making, which I understand was the topic of the BoD. Isn't
that so?

All the best,