Astrology – Another Excerpt from The Faust Book

Another Excerpt from The Faust Book. Faust explains the true nature of the stars.

“The Faust Book seems to be a very early novel written during the Lutheran church squabbles (1568-81) or shortly thereafter. It comes down to us in manuscript (Historia vnd Geschicht Doctor Johannis Faustj des Zauberers) written in clear hand by a professional scribe in Nuremberg, still in very good, unused condition, and also as a 1587 imprint from the prominent Frankfurt publishing house of Johann Spies.”

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Concerning the Stars
XIX
“A prominent scholar in Halberstadt, Doctor N. V. W., invited Doctor Faustus to his table. Before supper was ready, Faustus stood for a while gazing out the window at the Heavens, it being Harvest time and the sky filled with stars. Now his host, being also a Doctor of Physic and a good astrologus, had brought Doctor Faustus here for the purpose of learning from him divers transformations in the planets and stars. Therefore he now leaned upon the window beside Doctor Faustus and looked also upon the brilliance of the Heavens, the multitude of stars, some of which were shooting through the sky and falling to the earth. In all humility he made request that Doctor Faustus might tell him the condition and quality of this thing.
Doctor Faustus began on this wise: My most dear Lord and Brother, this condition doth presuppose certain other matters which ye must understand first. The smallest star in Heaven, although when beheld from below it seems to our thinking scarcely so big as our large wax candles, is really larger than a principality. Oh yes, this is certain. I have seen that the length and breadth of the Heavens is many times greater than the surface of the earth. From Heaven, ye cannot even see earth. Many a star is broader than this land, and most are at least as large as this city. –See, over there is one fully as large as the dominion of the Roman Empire. This one right up here is as large as Turkey. And up higher there, where the planets are, ye may find one as big as the world.”
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The Third Question
XXII
“But I still do not understand, spake the Doctor from Halberstadt, the action of the stars, how they glitter, and how they fall down to earth.
Doctor Faustus answered: This is nothing out of the ordinary, but an everyday happening. It is indeed true that the stars, like the Firmament and other Elementa, were created and disposed in the Heavens in such a fashion that they are immutable. But they do undergo certain changes in color and in other external qualities. The stars manifest superficial changes of this sort when they give off sparks or little flames, for these are bits of match falling from the stars–or, as we call them, shooting stars. They are hard, black, and greenish.
But that a star itself might fall–why this is nothing more than a fancy of mankind. When by night a great streak of fire is seen to shoot downward, these are not falling stars, although we do call them that, but only slaggy pieces from the stars. They are big things, to be sure, and, as is true of the stars themselves, some are much bigger than others. But it is my opinion that no star itself falleth except as a scourge of God. Then such falling stars bring a murkiness of the Heavens with them and cause great floods and devastation of lives and land. “
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