[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Jacobus, Raphael, and Schaffner

Gabriel wrote:

> On 19 Feb 00, at 4:09, Jorge Stolfi wrote:
> >     > [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). 
> Well, of course it could have been a forgery. One wonders whether 
> Voynich knew about Jacobus before or after he read the signature.

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. The alternative would require a very complicated
conspiracy story.
> > 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!) 

While Baresch may have the MS from Jacobus directly, there is a gap
from 1621 to 1636 during which someone else could also have had it.
For Baresch, the MS was an old and valuable book so perhaps the
name of a temporary owner may not have been that important.

For Marci it is easier to understand. He may not have known of
Jacobus, and in fact he quotes an even earlier owner: Rudolph.

On top of that we may speculate a bit more:
Raphael may well have known who sold the MS to Rudolph, and he
may also have told Marci. But Marci may have deliberately omitted
this name. If it was Kelly, this would be understandable. Kircher
did not look favourably upon alchemy and may have considered Kelly
a con man. Remember that in one earlier letter Marci writes Kircher that
one of his relatives once was present at a successful transmutation
performed by Kelly. This was part of an argument between Marci and
Kircher about the validity of alchemy. We don't know what Kircher
responded, unfortunately.

> > I don't think that Jacobus was highly regarded as a cryptographer.
> > I would rather belive that he received the book as a present,

He was respected as a pharmaceutical expert. For them, there was no
such thing as a crypto puzzle. This was an old and secret language.

> >  OK, but there is no evidence that Raphael
> > actually saw Rudolph's "Bacon Manuscript".
> No, you are right. But evidently they were talking about the same 
> thing. Marci seems quite convinced about it.
> Mind you, *many* people at the court must have known about the 
> ms.

Agreed. And it is probably not relevant whether he was talking
first-hand or second.

Cheers, Rene