The Friar And the Cipher: Roger Bacon And the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World

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Broadway Books, Feb 1, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 320 pages
22 Reviews
A compulsively readable account of the most mysterious manuscript in the world, one that has stumped the world's greatest scholars and codebreakers.
The Voynich Manuscript, a mysterious tome discovered in 1912 by the English book dealer Wilfrid Michael Voynich, has puzzled scholars for a century. A small six inches by nine inches, but over two hundred pages long, with odd illustrations of plants, astrological diagrams, and naked women, it is written in so indecipherable a language and contains so complicated a code that mathematicians, book collectors, linguists, and historians alike have yet to solve the mysteries contained within. However, in "The Friar and the Cipher, the acclaimed bibliophiles and historians Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone describe, in fascinating detail, the theory that Roger Bacon, the noted thirteenth-century, pre-Copernican astronomer, was its author and that the perplexing alphabet was written in his hand. Along the way, they explain the many proposed solutions that scholars have put forth and the myriad attempts at labeling the manuscript's content, from Latin or Greek shorthand to Arabic numerals to ancient Ukrainian to a recipe for the elixir of life to good old-fashioned gibberish. As we journey across centuries, languages, and countries, we meet a cast of impassioned characters and case-crackers, including, of course, Bacon, whose own personal scientific contributions, Voynich author or not, were literally and figuratively astronomical.
"The Friar and the Cipher is a wonderfully entertaining and historically wide-ranging book that is one part "The Code Book, one part "Possession, and one part "The Da Vinci Code and will appeal to bibliophilesand laypeople alike.
  

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Review: The Friar and the Cipher: Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World

User Review  - Sarah Faulkner - Goodreads

A bit of a meandering slog, but very interesting in parts. Roger Bacon featured prominently particularly in the first half, but it's not really about him per say. The first 2/3 is really about the ... Read full review

Review: The Friar and the Cipher: Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World

User Review  - Anne Harlan - Goodreads

Not clear what's true and what's not, because their generalizations about history are questionable. No footnotes. Read full review

Contents

Prologue
2
Roger Bacons England
91
CHAPTER EIGHT
100
Autocracy in the Order of St Francis
112
The Scientia Expaimentalis of Roger Bacon
147
CHAPTER THIRTEEN
158
CHAPTER SIXTEEN
223
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
245
Aristotle Plato and Christianity
257
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN
277
CHAPTER NINETEEN
292
Acknowledgments
299
The Conservatives Respond
311
The University of Paris
318
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone are a husband-and-wife writing team and authors of Out of the Flames, a Booksense 76 Selection. They have also written three books on their book-collecting pursuits: Used and Rare, Slightly Chipped, and Warmly Inscribed.

Bibliographic information