Abstract

In the astronomical journal books written in German of Gottfried Kirch (1639–1710), a Christian astronomer and publisher with close connections to Pietists, several entries in Hebrew script are striking. In fact, it is not Hebrew or Yiddish but German in Hebrew characters. There is no doubt that the transcription follows more or less an orthography known from Yiddish. Since the content of these entries is rather banal and reflects daily life, it is possible that they are nothing but a kind of scholarly joke, a private pleasure, and practice of scholarly skills. While these private notes were not capable of academic discourse, perhaps Kirch playfully tried to enhance their status by using an uncommon script in contrast to the astronomical data. In this way, it was possible to cover over the triviality of daily life by a veil of mystery by transcribing it in Hebrew characters.

In: European Journal of Jewish Studies