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Sin and EvilMoral Values in Literature$
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Ronald Paulson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300120141

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300120141.001.0001

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Sin and Evil Redefined: The Enlightenment

Sin and Evil Redefined: The Enlightenment

(p.69) Chapter Three Sin and Evil Redefined: The Enlightenment
Sin and Evil

Ronald Paulson

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Christopher Marlowe, who inherited Ovid's humanism that consequently led to his exile. David Riggs's biography of Marlowe shows “how fully his work articulates the contradiction, inherent in the educational system that bred him, between Christian self-abnegation and humanist self-empowerment.” Marlowe's Doctor Faustus depends upon the dichotomy of sin and evil, piety and morality, inwardness and outwardness. Faustus's Calvinist theology is based on the assumption that one cannot avoid sinning and is therefore doomed to God's predestination; a conclusion which, canceling divine studies, leaves Faustus only necromancy and the devil. Turning to the Manichaean answer to the Problem of Evil, he can counter natural evil only with moral evil.

Keywords:   humanism, Christopher Marlowe, Ovid, David Riggs, Christian self-abnegation, humanist self-empowerment

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