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By Paul Zumthor

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A prominent reformer of Nuremberg, he was among the Lutheran stalwarts who resisted compromise. Departing Nuremberg under pressure, he received the protection and favor of the Duke of Prussia. This proved to be a mixed blessing. The devoutly Lutheran duke made enemies for his favorite by disregarding customary academic consultations in appointing him to teach theology at the University of Königsberg. Osiander’s quarrels with his new colleagues in Prussia soon drew in prominent Lutherans throughout Germany.

15 Like the Faustus of literature and lore, he was suspected of confounding things sacred and profane in an illicit manner. org/terms 26 ANDREW WEEKS indeed influenced his thinking. 16 In legends disseminated by his enemies, Osiander was said to have lived and died in circumstances that we recognize as akin to the errant doctor of theology Faustus. Osiander was accompanied by devils in the form of house dogs. One of his devils would be in a room composing his writings while the satanic theologian was occupied elsewhere.

The magician’s conjuration of Alexander the Great flatters but ill serves the curiosity of the imperial ruler of the midcentury globe. To integrate these details of the Faustbuch into their sixteenth-century context, we need to retrace the culture of the devil and the manifestations of what might be called Faustism—a culture pertinent to but more general than its legendary namesake. Finally, we need to explore the fascination with the marvelous and the horrific shared by the Faustbuch with the popular literature of the age.

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