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

THE FRIAR AND THE CIPHER: Roger Bacon and the Unsolved Mystery of the Most Unusual Manuscript in the World

LAWRENCE AND NANCY GOLDSTONE

Discovered in Italy in 1912, the mysterious Voynich manuscript appeared to be a 13th-century encyclopedia of natural science, written in obscure code. Many questions surrounded the oddly illustrated work, named for discoverer William Voynich, as cryptologists around the world worked to find a key. They did so within a decade and suggested that the manuscript was written by the English scientist-philosopher Roger Bacon in the mid-1200s. In this fascinating book, the Goldstones explore Bacon's personal history and scientific work leading to the creation of the manuscript as well as the evolution of logic and scholasticism in 13th-century Europe, a period marked by early scientific explorations and outreach to the world beyond Christian Europe. The authors explain how the great thinkers of the time reconciled early scientific exploration with the teachings of both Aristotle and their religions. Part mystery story, part historical text, this book is an engaging look at the lengths to which early scientists and philosophers went to express their views.

Doubleday, 2005, 335 p., color plates and b&w illus., hardcover, $26.00.
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Title Annotation:Books: A selection of new and notable books of scientific interest; book by Lawrence Goldstone and Nancy Goldstone
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 13, 2005
Words:198
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