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Jacobus, Raphael, and Schaffner

    > [Rene:] No doubt [that Jacobus] owned [the VMS].
Well, I am not entirely convinced.

I think that the "invisible signature" story is a bit shaky. The
writing could be a modern forgery (by Voynich, or by someone who
wished to "help" him), or self-delusion (Voynich may have seen faint
lines in the photograph, thought that they spelled "Jacobus...", and
"enhanced" them by hand). 

Or, if the name is indeed on the book, it may have been written by
some later owner --- who knew about Jacobus and, for some reason,
concluded that he must have been the author.

I am also a bit bothered by the fact that neither Marci nor Baresh
make any mention of Jacobus in connection with the book. Baresh in
particular must have known about Jacobus, since he must have seen
Jacobus's name on it (unless there was yet another owner between the
two!) Yet, although Baresh spends some ink speculating on the book's
origin, he does not think it is worth mentioning that it once belonged
to Rudolph's doctor and chief chemist --- a datum that should have 
make the book more respectable in Kircher's eyes.

Therefore, I would put the odds that Jacobus actually owned the
book at much less than 100%.

Moreover, even if Jacobus did own the book, it does not follow that
Rudolph did too. So, I would give Raphael's story less than 50%

    > [Rene:] No clear evidence whether [Jacobus] sold the MS to Rudolph

>From his biography, it would seem that Jacobus did not travel much,
and did not have many contacts. He also comes out as more at ease in a
laboratory than in a library or bookstore. So I find it hard to
imagine him in the role of bookseller.

    > or Rudolph gave it to him for decryption. The latter is very
    > plausible, given Jacobus' background and reputation.

I don't think that Jacobus was highly regarded as a cryptographer.
I would rather belive that he received the book as a present,
or that he got hold of it when Rudolph's collection was scattered.

    > So, Raphael was in a good position to have information about the
    > court. He was a youngster when Kelly was there, but an adult when 
    > Rudolph died. 
OK, but there is no evidence that Raphael actually saw Rudolph's
"Bacon Manuscript". 

    > Schaffner appears like an honest quack.
Or a honest good doctor --- as good as could be found in those days.

    > He would not have written the VMs, but he could have owned it of
    > course. But then why would he have given it to Jacobus?
As inheritance, or as a present. (What would a dying/retiring doctor
do with a nice but useless medical book?)

Or Jacobus may have become acquainted with the book while studying
with Schaffner, and may have purchased it (either for himself, or for
Rudolph) as soon as he got rich enough. 

>From the bio you posted, Schaffner died in 1608 (at age 44 -- hmm...
was he really such a good doctor? 8-). By then Jacobus had just been
named Imperial Chemist, and he received the title "de Tepenecz" in
that same year. 

So the "signature" may have been written by Schaffner in Krumlov
("please deliver this book to ..."), or by the Jesuits who took care
of his burial at the Clementinum (and who probably inherited Martin's
belongings, as happened later to Jacob and Marci).

(Who knows, perhaps Martin and Jacob knew the key --- and that is
where they got their successful recipes...)

    > Of course, J could have owned it all along (family
    > property) and it may have prompted his interest in pharmacy.
    > But this is all 100% speculation and rather more complicated than
    > the simple "Dee/Kelly brought it to Prague". 
Agreed, especially since J apparently came from a poor and uncultured

But, at this point, the Kelley-VMS connection is 100% conjectural too.
And Raphael's story may be 100% conjecture on his part...

    > They both studied at the Jesuit college at Jindrichuv Hradec
At the beginning of Parte III, Schmidl enumerates the Jesuit
colleges/residences in the region as

  intra Bohemiam complicebatur quatuor : Pragense Academicum, 
  Crumloviense, Commotoniense, Novodomense ; in Comitatu Glacensi
  unum; in Moravia duo : Omolucense Acedemicum, & Brunense cum
  Domo Probationis ; in Silesia nullum omnino
Is Jindrichuv Hradec one of these? (I guess "Pragense" is the
Clementinum, "Crumloviense" is the one at Czesky Krumlov, "Omolucense"
is Omolouc, "Brunense" is Brno.)
    > I tried to read up also on Marci in Schmidl, but since he was not
    > a Jesuit, he is simply ignored.
Did you have time to check the indices of all five volumes?