Thursday November 28th 2013 Tim
Christopher Marlowe's version of the
Faustus legend has the Good Angel telling Faust to put away his books
and his learning, pull himself together, get with the program, and find
refuge from the storms of his arrogant imagination by reading scripture.
The Bad Angel tells Faust to take no notice of the Good Angel's
wheedling, to go forward, become lord and commander of the elements,
take what he wants. The two angels describe a neat black and white
within a story that certainly predates the Elizabethans, and
agriculture and is very much all around us today.
When Marlowe was 29, he was stabbed to death by a speculator
called Ingram Frizer. A drunken brawl following
political disagreement, some have suggested. Self
defense on the part of Frizer, others have argued.
Still others think it might have been a Catholic/Protestant
thing. But no doubt, as centuries pass, the Sin of
Simon the Magus continues to define Faust's and our own
alternatives. And in a holiday season it still might
be worth trying to define "magus" in terms of the word
"pathfinder," rather than "witch," or "devil" or the
Hellenist "Zoroaster." And I'm only able to surrender
to such a thought, because I can smell the "Bacobursage"
we're having for supper tonight. It's kind of like a
"Turducken" without beaks, and both The Artist and I
reckon it'll make a neat sandwich on Black Friday.