This is a partial repost. Quite often I find that little details in part of a much larger issue are interesting and worth paying attention to. A few months ago I posted about the Tosaphist apparently named Peter (or not; see here) and I also included a discussion about a whimsical article written by Reform Rabbi Bernhard Felsenthal in 1889 contending that a Talmudic rabbi was named Patrick. In presenting his evidence, he invented three men, probably common Jewish types in Chicago in 1889, immigrants from Germany, Galicia and Lithuania. His Litvak, "Berish Warshawski" attended Volozhin in his younger days (along with his name, this is one of the stereotypical aspects of this designed character). Here is the full quote:
"I agree with you, Mr. Falkenstein [i.e., the German; that he's never heard of a rabbi named Patrick, and Felsenthal must be kidding]," says Mr. Berush Warshawski. "You know I am a Lithuak by birth, and in my younger days I attended the Yeshibhah in Wolosin, and there I read the entire Talmud over and over again. But that I ever found the name Rabbi Patrick in it, this is more than I can say. Or should m memory have ceased to serve me?"
After presenting some evidence, Warshawski the Litvak mounts a challenge:
Mr. Warshawski rises to remark, that the older form of the name was Patricius, not Patrick. How, then, he says, can the Hebrew letter Koph be justified in the transliteration?
Felsenthal then proceeds to deliver a lesson, explaining that the ancient c was always pronounced hard. (Kikero, Kaesar, not Cicero, Caesar as Sisero, Saesar.)
I find this interesting because evidently for Felsenthal part of the stereotype of the former Volozhiner student was that he'd recognize "the older form of the name was Patricius," a bit of erudition — but not too much, since he needs to be told that ancient Latin consonants are not identical with their modern sound values. It's pointless to speculate that the real Warshawski the Wolosiner hardly needed to be reminded of ק'סר, and that if he know "Patricius" he also should have known ק'סר was Casesar. Truthfully, many people probably know ק'סר but never thought about the implications for how the Romans pronounced their consonant c (which was changed from the Greek gamma, derived from gimmel, because Latin received their alphabet via the Etruscans, who did not have that hard /g/ sound, and instead adopted the gamma as a hard c). And of course there were doubtlessly many former Volozhiners who could have out-aleph-protheticaed Felsenthal himself (do read the article for the complete context). But it's interesting to focus a lens onto a stereotype of a kind of Litvak one could meet in Chicago in 1889, a Volozhiner no less. When one reads the article and compares it with the other two types, it becomes even more clear how deliberate he was in constructing them.