Voynich Conference- Uni of Malta program

from the University’s website:

Conference Programme

DAY ONE – Wednesday 30th November

13:00 Conference Opening – Colin Layfield – University of Malta

13:05 A Few Words about the Voynich – Ray Clemens – Beinecke Library – Yale University

13:30 Keynote Speech – René Zandbergen

Session One – Moderated by John Abela

14:15-14:45 Alexander Boxer:

Fingerprinting Gibberish: A Quantitative Comparison of the Voynich and Sloane MS 3188.

14:45-15:15 Koen Gheuens and Cary Rapaport:

Above and Beyond Voynich Canopies: Tents as a Recurring Motif in Beinecke MS 408.

15:15-15:45 Keagan Brewer

‘I beg your grace to suppress this chapter or else to have it written in secret letters’: The emotions of encipherment in late-medieval gynaecology.

15:45-16:15 Daniel Gaskell and Claire Bowern

Gibberish after all? Voynichese is statistically similar to human-produced samples of meaningless text.


Session Two – Moderated by Michael Rosner

16:15-16:45 Kevin Farrugia, Colin Layfield and Lonneke van der Plas:

Demystifying the scribes behind the Voynich Manuscript using Computational Linguistic Techniques.

16:45-17:15 Claire Bowern and Daniel Gaskell:

Enciphered after all? Word-level text metrics are compatible with some types of encipherment.

1715-1745 Jürgen Hermes:

Polygraphia III: The cipher that pretends to be an artificial language.

17:45-18:15 Andrew Caruana, Colin Layfield and John Abela

An Analysis of the Relationship between Words within the Voynich Manuscript.

DAY TWO – Thursday 1st December

Session Three – Moderated by Lonneke van der Plas

13:00-13:30 Luke Lindemann

Crux of the MATTR: Voynichese Morphological Complexity.

13:30-14:00 Massimiliano Zattera

A new transliteration alphabet brings new evidence of word structure and multiple “languages” in the Voynich manuscript.

14:00-14:30 Katie Painter and Claire Bowern:

Examining the history of Voynich glyphs using phylogenetic methods.

14:30-15:00 Patrick Feaster

Rightward and Downward Grapheme Distributions in the Voynich Manuscript.

Session Four – Moderated by Claire Bowern

15:00-15:30 Tavi Stafford

Seven Habits of Highly Eccentric Paragraphs.

15:30-16:00 Farley Katz

From Voynich to the Beinecke, the Trail of Ownership.

16:00-16:30 Klaus Schmeh and Elonka Dunin

The Voynich Manuscript Compared with Other Encrypted Books.

16:30-17:00 Stefan Guzy

Book transactions of Emperor Rudolf II 1576-1612. New findings on the earliest ownership of the Voynich manuscript.

17:00-17:50 Keynote Speech – Lisa Fagin Davis – Medieval Academy of America

17:50 Closing Remarks – Colin Layfield – Conference Chair


• Conference starts at 1300 CET November 30 (Central European Time – UTC + 1) https://time.is/1300_30_November_2022_in_Valletta

• Conference ends at 1800 CET

• The video recordings of all the talks will be made available to all attendees after the conference.

• The Zoom link for the sessions will be sent to all attendees by email.

All times are CET (Central European Time)

My comment

Looks to me as if the rumoured ‘Rudolfine’ connection is still a near-obsession for some and as if the habit of presuming all anthropoform figures were intended literally… but otherwise the talks continue the decades’-long debate about whether the written text is, or isn’t enciphered.

I intend tuning in Lisa Fagin-Davis’ talk in the hope she will speak to issues of codicology and palaeography. Also, the paper by Bowern and Painter seems as if it may at last provide some historical perspective and comparative discussion of the Voynich glyphs as glyphs.

If I’d known earlier what the topic was that Koen and Cary intended to treat, I’d have reprinted for my readers the matter from the five-part series in which I treated the ‘canopy’ motif. The series was entitled ‘Pegs, Poles and Parasols’ and I’m sure that neither of those authors will have read the original, since they came to the study some years after I’d closed that first (blogger) research blog and moved to word-press. Later, in treating the Voynich map, I wrote again about that ‘canopy’-looking form, describing incidence in the map in terms of wind/star ‘roses’. At the time I treated the motif, it had not been treated at all, and we have seen no original work on the subject since then. It is because neither Koen or Cary is likely to have read that earlier work that it may provide an interesting double-blind comparison for my readers. Later..

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