Doctor Faustus is based on an older tale; it is believed to be the first dramatisation of the Faust legend. Some scholars believe that Marlowe developed the story from a popular 1592 translation, commonly called The English Faust Book. There is thought to have been an earlier, lost German edition of 1587, the Historia von D. Johann Fausten, which itself may have been influenced by even earlier, equally ill-preserved pamphlets in Latin (such as those that likely inspired Jacob Bidermann's treatment of the damnation of the doctor of Paris, Cenodoxus (1602)).
Concerning the fate of Faustus, the Calvinist concludes that his damnation was inevitable. His rejection of God and subsequent inability to repent are taken as evidence that he never really belonged to the elect, but rather had been predestined from the very beginning for reprobation. For the Calvinist, Faustus represents the worst kind of sinner, having tasted the heavenly gift and rejected it. His damnation is justified and deserved because he was never truly adopted among the elect. According to this view, the play demonstrates Calvin's \"three-tiered concept of causation,\" in which the damnation of Faustus is first willed by God, then by Satan, and finally, by himself.
\"Ravished\" by magic (1.1.112), Faustus turns to the dark arts when law, logic, science, and theology fail to satisfy him. According to Charles Nicholl this places the play firmly in the Elizabethan period when the problem of magic (\"liberation or damnation\") was a matter of debate, and when Renaissance occultism aimed at a furthering of science. Nicholl, who connects Faustus as a \"studious artisan\" (1.1.56) to the \"hands-on experience\" promoted by Paracelsus, sees in the former a follower of the latter, a \"magician as technologist\". 1e1e36bf2d