The Faust complex refers to an obsessive desire for knowledge (and power) to the virtual exclusion of all else.
The legend of Doctor Faustus was first related in a play by Christopher Marlowe in 1592 and has been retold in various forms by Goethe, Thomas Mann, and others. The essential feature is that of a scholar who sinfully trades his soul for knowledge and power; academic physicians may subconsciously feel they will be granted the power, knowledge–and health and, like the later versions of the Faustus theme, their sins ultimately forgiven.
Synonyms Epistemophilia, Faust syndrome
Reference MC Mechan, JAMA 1966; 196:156-7