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Re: Jacobus, Raphael, and Schaffner
> [Rene:] The literature kept in box B at Yale paints a very clear
> picture. There is a copy of a letter from Voynich to Prague
> inquiring about Jacobus and Ferdinand, and there is a reply from
> Prague giving all the details Voynich used in his Philadelphia
> presentation. In fact, this reply from Prague is from March
> 1921, which is exactly one month prior to the above-mentioned
> presentation (!)
> In this first letter Voynich spells Jacobus' name incorrectly
> and is confused about which Ferdinand is meant by Dr. Raphael.
> There really is no doubt in my mind that Voynich had never heard
> of Jacobus before.
Well, I must accept your word fo it, but I am still unhappy.
In the reproduction of the "signature" that I have seen
(I believe it comes from D'Imperio, is that right?), I can see only
the letters "cobj[wide gap]T"; and that, only because I am looking
specifically for Jacobus's name. If I had not heard the name, and was
told to look for faded writing, I would probably read "cibj" or
"cioj", and perhaps miss the "T" altogether.
I suppose that you were able to see a lot more in the actual
photograph at Yale. Otherwise, the fact that Voynich was able to read
Jacobus's name in any recognizable form seems a bit miraculous.
> The alternative would require a very complicated
> conspiracy story.
Not necessarily. IIRC, Voynich claimed to have checked many names at
Rudolph's court as candidates for "the bearer who brought him the
book", before settling on Dee & Kelly.
So, Voynich may well have seen Jacobus name at that time, possibly
misspelled. Even if he didn't know anything else about J, just having
heard the name mentioned in the context of Rudolph's court would be
enough to trigger the "Martian channels" effect...
One more thing: Recently you pointed out to me another letter from
Marci to Kircher (APUG 557 f067r) whose image is in the Kircher site.
I can make out the word "Theorema" --- and I think that Marci's "T"
looks suspiciously similar to the "T" of Jacobus "signature"! See
Even if that similarity is a coincidence, there remains the
possibility that the "signature" may have been written by Marci, or by
any late owner, from Baresch to Beckx. In that case, the signature
would be just someone's guess as to the identity of the author or
"bearer", and would not prove anything. (For Kircher and the
subsequent Jesuit owners, in particular, Jacobus must have been a very
obvious candidate for either role, given the preminence that he is
given in Jesuit chronicles.)
And more: if the book had been for a while in Rudolph's library, I
would expect to see some evidence of that --- say, a seal or
stamp, as we can often see in old books. Is this a reasonable
For all these reasons, I am still unwilling to give "100% certainty"
to the claim that Jacobus (and, by extension, Rudolph) ever owned the
Likely, yes, but by no means certain....
All the best,