But, aside from that - here is something interesting, and possibly something of value, and it's about Faust. I read the first part of Goethe's Faust last October and I loved it, and although I wasn't too keen on the second part, I am eager to revisit the first (I stand by saying it is a perfect October read!). What I didn't know is that the legend of Faust or Faustus (written about most notably by Goethe and Marlowe) is that he was possibly based upon the Manichean Bishop, Faustus of Mileve. In Confessions, Augustine writes,
There had then come to Carthage, a certain Bishop of the Manichees, Faustus by name, a great snare of the Devil, and many were entangled by him through that lure of his smooth language: which though I did commend, yet could I separate from the truth of the things which I was earnest to learn: nor did I do much regard the service of oratory, as the science which this Faustus, so praised among them, set before me to feed upon.
And so, I jotted down the name, and here I am online trying to do a little digging. I've found it's not a matter of typing in "Faustus of Mileve Goethe Faust Marlowe Dr Faustus" or simply "the origin of the Faust legend", although I did manage to find a few bits and bobs. Firstly, via Classics in Minature, I found a piece by Letters from the Dust Bowl on the historical Faust:
This North African Faustus was a bishop among the Manichees, a sect which claimed to base everything on reason. Its members were in fact skilled in astronomical calculations and predictions. But Faustus made greatest pretensions to understanding good and evil. Characteristic of Manichaeism was its incisive dualism, which saw the world as divided between powers of light and darkness. To Augustine, this seemed tantamount to rejecting monotheism, and he preserved for us his trenchant debate against Faustus. Lutherans of a later century found in this record support for their own insistence that the Grace of God is all inclusive, yet everywhere and always present in the world, far surpassing human understanding. As to Faustus' faith in his own intellect, they easily understood that as the influence of the devil, and of course Luther liked to draw a parallel between the Manichees and the Church of Rome, which he charged with also dispensing and manipulating God's Grace.I've read that Faust or Faustus, this German legend, is based on Johann Georg Faust, a German alchemist, and this man led to the development of the myth, however Goethe's Faust (I can't comment on any other interpretations: I haven't read them) is so complex, I can't see why there could not be other sources or interpretations. I do think that this may be worth keeping in mind, but honestly, finding out more information is proving very difficult! Anyone happen to know any more than I do?