Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Book Review: The Gnostic Faustus

Continuing on the theme that some literary works aren't what they appear to be on the surface, let's talk about the Faust story. The official story is of a professor in Germany who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for whatever he wants while he is alive; when he dies, he will serve the devil in hell. Since Faust's life basically sucks at this point, he accepts the offer. Now, remembering that saying certain things could get you killed in nasty ways until relatively recently, lets look at The Gnostic Faustus by Ramona Fradon. This book examines the Faust story, pointing out its similarities to certain Gnostic works, including the Pistis Sophia and the Apocryphon of John, as well as alchemy and tantra.

I don't want to steal any thunder from the book, so I'll keep this short. Read the book, then read your favorite version of the Faust story again. I guarantee that you'll see it in a different light.

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