Jacques Gaffarel

Configuration Des Estoilles En Characteres Celestes in Curiositez Inouyes sur la Sculpture Talismanique des Persans: Horoscope des Patriarches, et Lecture des Estoilles,  Paris 1629




 Jacques Gaffarel


Configuration Des Estoilles En Characteres Celestes, in Curiositez Inouyes sur la Sculpture Talismanique des Persans: Horoscope des Patriarches, et Lecture des Estoilles,  Paris 1629




Titolo e frontespizio dell'edizione pubblicata in latino ad Amburgo nel 1676 e nel 1678



Jacques Gaffarel (Latin: Jacobus Gaffarellus) (1601–1681).

The present map is an important work of Jewish astrology, intended to represent the Heavens using Hebrew Characters, first appearing in expanded 1650 edition of Gaffarel's work.  It was intended to illustrate  the section on astrological practices in the ancient Near East, particularly among the Israelites and Persians.

Jewish astrology developed independently from the mythology and star-gazing of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Gaffarel included in his work a depiction of "the Celestial Constellations expressed by Hebrew characters", and asserted that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet could be interpreted from the constellations and that the heavens could be read as if a book.  For the Hebrew letters, Gaffarel draws from the designs of "Rabbi Chomer."  Among Gaffarel's other sources was Kapol ben Samuel's Amuq amuqim, published in Cracow in 1498.

Jacques Gaffarel (1601-81), was a theologian and orientalist, whose work grew out of the Renaissance Platonist and Christian cabbalist traditions. He served as Librarian to Cardinal Richilieu and was considered a profound astrologer. Curiositez Inouyes  was very well received, and went through several editions in French, as well as being translated into English (Unheard-of Curiosities: Concerning the talismanical sculpture of the Persians; the horoscope of the patriarkes; and the reading of the stars) and Latin.

Gaffarel's work enjoyed phenomenal success. René Descartes read this work with interest and the French physician and mathematician Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655) defended it. Unheard-of Curiosities was one of 1,500 books in the Library of Sir Thomas Browne and one of the varied sources of his encyclopaedia entitled Pseudodoxia Epidemica. Browne alludes to Gaffarel's astrology in The Garden of Cyrus thus:

Could we satisfy our selves in the position of the lights above, or discover the wisdom of that order so invariably maintained in the fixed stars of heaven......we might abate.....the strange Cryptography of Gaffarell in his Starrie Booke of Heaven.

Gaffarel contributed to the debate between Marin Mersenne and Robert Fludd.  Whiled the Theological Faculty at the Sorbonne rejected Gaffarel's work and ridiculed him, Gaffarel gained the protection of the powerful Cardinal Richelieu, who made him his librarian and sent him to Italy, Greece and Asia in search of rare books (reportedly including manuscripts by Pico della Mirandola).   Per cortesia di




 che attualmente mette in vendita una copia dell’edizione del 1650.





La tesi di Gaffarel secondo la quale le stelle e le costellazioni ebraiche sono identificate da lettere del loro alfabeto, tesi graficamente rappresentata nelle due tavole che presentiamo, è anche sviluppata a partire da pag. 576 delle Curiositez nel Chap. XIII: Que les Estoilles, selon les Hebreux, sont rengees au Ciel en forme de lettres,& qu’on y peut lire tout ce qu’il arrive de plus important dans l’univers:





Al seguente indirizzo è possibile leggere l’intera opera nell'edizione del 1629:


per cortesia di

Bayerische StaatsBibliothek digital



E al  seguente

per cortesia di 




Configuration Des Estoilles En Characteres Celestes


Edizione del 1650


Edizione di Amburgo del  1676

Hemisphaerium Boreale Caracterum Coelestium




Edizione di Amburgo del  1678

Hemisphaerium Boreale Caracterum Coelestium





BNF Gallica al  seguente indirizzo

presenta due tavole spurie, 28cm per 26, dei planisferi celesti









aggiornato SETTEMBRE 2019