Tales of Faustian-like episodes are not limited to the past couple of centuries. Accounts of men signing deals with the devil have been recounted since before the Reformation. Most of the time, the party accused of associating with the devil was forgiven by God and not sentenced to fulfill his contract. It was believed by some, that to conjure up a demon that could be controlled through Jesus was an act of faith- and as such could be used for noble purposes. The first Christian era account of a man courting the help of Satan occurred during the 4th century.
According to legend, Senator Proterius of Caesarea needed Satans help to gain his masters daughters hand in marriage. Fortunately for him, his soul was saved by the prayers of St. Basil. Another account of a deal with the devil occurred in1200s. Theophilus worked in the Episcopal Church. When the bishop of the church died, the new bishop fired Theophilus. In order to get revenge, Theophilus entered a pact with the devil, with the help of a Jewish sorcerer, and renounced his allegiance to Jesus, Mary, and the church.
He later repented- Jesus forgave him and Mary retrieved Theophiluss IOU from the devil. He died in peace 3 days later. The Faust legend of the sixteenth century took place during an era of exploding scientific knowledge; polarization of good and evil; the fragmentation of Christian unity; the dying of the medieval world, and geometrically escalating uncertainty. During the early part of the 16th century, Johann Sabellicus, also known as George Faust, was a noted magician throughout the German lands.
The earliest record we have of him can be traced to a letter written by Johannes Trithemius of Sponheim in 1507, in which he was accused of molesting several boys while teaching at Kreuznach. He was described as a blasphemous, con man who should be whipped. Records from 1509 indicate Faust may have next gone to the University of Heidelber. After studying the magical arts in Cracow, he surfaced in Erfurt in 1513. In 1516 he stayed in the Maulbronn monastery with Abbot Johannes Entenful, possibly by promising the gold he would produce in an alchemists lab.
A few years later, Faust was a popular lecturer on Homer, using such tricks as a magic lantern or a camera obscura. In 1520 the Franciscan friar Dr. Klinge tried to convince Faust of his sinful ways. Faust rejected the monks offer to repent and admitted to signing a pact with the devil in blood. The monk assured Faust that he wold go to hell for refusing his help. In 1527 Faust moved to Wittenberg, but was expelled for his bad reputation. In 1528 he was kicked out of Ingolstadt and in 1532 he was refused safe conduct in Nuremburg.
Although many references were made to his extraordinary gifts, his rejection and alienation increased, as he was labeled a Satanist, blasphemer and heretic by Catholics and Lutherans. A couple of positive notes about Faust- Leonhart ThurnmeiBer von Thurn called him a true philosopher who had the ability to effect genuine transformations and to transport people across great distances and times. The Waldeck Chronicle reported that Dr. Faust had correctly predicted that the forces of the Bishop of Munster on the night of June 25, 1535.
Interesting note- Martin Luther is quoted as saying that he was not afraid of the sorcerer Faust with God as his protector. & Although he did have a bad reputation, it is reported that many of the great minds of his day sought his acquaintance. In 1539 Faust was referred to, by the City Physician of Worms, as an arrogant swindler; but the very next year Phillipp von Hutten wrote that Faust had been correct in his predictions concerning Philipps expeditions. Faust died in 1540 (or 41) probably in Wurthenberg or Regensburg, contrary to legends account of his terrible end near Wittenberg.