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VMs: Manchu theory

  > [Nick Pelling:] the claimed solution appears to be based on
  > finding 50 words of Manchu language out of 200+ pages of (vaguely)
  > Manchu-like script. But (unless I'm mistaken) this seems close to
  > saying that within the EVA transcription, you can find numerous
  > modern English words - far, shy, or, char (and so on).

Indeed, that is what makes this claim highly suspect. (However, Mr.
Banasik apparently claims to know only a couple hundred words of
Manchu. So, if we think of 50/200 instead of 50/35000, there is still
some hope...)

  > Rather, I'm just saying that a 4th century BCE date seems about
  > two millennia out, which is really more than I can comfortably
  > swallow without some exceptionally persuasive evidence. :-o

I agree that the VMS cannot have been compiled that far back. However,
consider that many European manuscripts from the 15th century are
copies (of copies of copies...) of Greek texts from the 4th century
BCE. A foreign visitor to Manchuria who wished to take home a sample
of the local knowledge would presumaby have chosen to transcribe their
most revered books -- which, in China more than in Europe, usually
meant the oldest ones.

The "recipes" section of the VMS, in particular, appears to have the
same number of recipes (365) as the Sennong Bencao, the oldest and
most revered Chinese book of medical recipes; and the number of words
per recipe (average and variance) are also very similar. That book,
which had been translated into other languages of ast Asia, is
traditionally ascribed to a mythical "Green Emperor" of remote
antiquity, who also invented agriculture, tea, and a few other things.
The true date is unknown, but (IIRC) 4th century BCE is about the upper
limit of the range.

All the best,

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