Skip to main content


Buy Article:

$43.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


The Faust motif provides an opportunity to explore the spectrum of attitudes among Christians toward science and technology by placing them into a historic context. Depending on one's understanding of the relationship of God and the world, the accomplishments of a Leonardo, a Paracelsus, a Faust, an Oppenheimer, or some future scientist credited with the “production” of the first successfully cloned human being can be interpreted as divine or diabolic in origin. I use the example of Faust to demonstrate that the Christian assessment of the scientific enterprise is closely correlated to the level of doctrinaire dualism informing the particular version of Christianity that inspires the assessment. I show that, contrary to what seems obvious, Faust's damnation originated not in medieval times but in early modern northern Europe, reflecting a dualistic obsession with human sinfulness more characteristic of Reformation Germany than of Renaissance Italy. Encouraged by hellfire-and-brimstone preachers, the common folk saw demons, devils, and witches in every dark corner, while humanist scholars sought to recapture the brilliant past of the Greeks and the Romans. Goethe's interpretation represents a return to earlier versions of the story, while some continue to accuse contemporary Faustians of Satanic connections for seeking forbidden knowledge and daring to play God by manipulating the stuff of life.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: Catholic; Christianity; Faust; Goethe; Leonardo da Vinci; Lutheran; Nicolas of Cusa; Reformation; Renaissance; biotechnology; dualism; humanism; nanotechnology; nondualism; science

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2005

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more