Christopher Cain, professor and expert in Old English and Medieval Scandinavian literature and culture, published an essay analyzing the relationship between Beowulf and the Old Testament, as well as the presence of paganism in this poem. In the essay, it is noted that “the general tone of the poem and its ethical viewpoint are decidedly Christian;” the poet relied heavily upon the Bible, as can be evidenced by “allusions to Cain, the Creation, and the Deluge,” which are all Old Testament allusions (Cain). The characters themselves also serve to represent Christian ideologies, though references to Germanic culture appear frequently. For instance, this is embodied in the scene where Beowulf is fighting to rid Heorot of Grendel, and “Beowulf recognizes it to be God's will that determines the outcome of the fight—” not his own strength (Cain). Further, it is later implied that though Beowulf is an instrument of God in doing this deed, “he is not entitled to enjoy Christian salvation,” since he was motivated by revenge and not salvation, as the former was what drove many non-Christian Scandinavians (Cain).
The story of Beowulf was passed on through word-of-mouth until a monk, or someone who had somehow gained literacy, documented it. Be this as it may, the original translation was lost as soon as the aforementioned monk began writing. Historians and literary experts believe that the original translation included
Beowulf is an example of an epic poem written in Middle English during the Anglo-Saxon period. Beowulf was speculatively transcribed by two Christian monks who are thought to have added Christian elements into the original pagan tale. The basis of Beowulf is a heroic character goes and extricates a kingdom plagued by an evil creature. The significance of Beowulf is that the tale demonstrates medieval warrior culture from Europe. Beowulf has very apparent Christian influences that are very noticeable with even in the first few pages of the poem.
Beowulf might have served as a good moral story to the Anglo-Saxons, but when adapted to christian values, it contradicts itself. As an illustration, Beowulf was originally written to represent the perfect hero according to the Anglo-Saxons. This is evidenced since throughout the whole poem, Beowulf not once demonstrates a fault, and even at the moment of his death, he has not failed in his purpose, as he has defeated the dragon, has died a heroic death: (lines 2702-2711) “Once again the king gathered his strength and drew a stabbing knife he carried on his belt, sharpened for battle. He stuck it deep into the dragon 's flank. Beowulf dealt it a deadly wound.
In the story of Beowulf which materialized and evolved through the hands of Christians, as is obvious by the abundance of biblical allusions present in today’s version of Beowulf. Even as Jesus’s primary motive was not purely to achieve glory, unlike Beowulf, still Jesus sought to spread his influence and to be remembered. “All the princes sat mourning and full of sorrow”(Roberts 91), Beowulf’s princes are closely related to Jesus’s disciples who also deeply mourned Jesus’s deaths. Beowulf receives his restitution in remembrance, as with Jesus, it was his root motivation to perform his miraculous tasks. Chronologically penultimate is Theseus’s restitution.
Many characters in Grendel define themselves throughout the book. Beowulf spends time glorify his name. Unferth and Beowulf labeled with hero status. Wealtheow spread positivity and displayed her selfishness. The shaper used his imagination to believe in a higher power; on the other hand, the dragon believed in nihilism.
Because of Roman influence, the recorded version of Beowulf, which readers now see today, has more biblical imagery than its original, pagan, oral version. These biblical imageries help distinguish characters and settings, to good or evil. The concepts of good and evil are presented through imagery. The imagery provided reveal the Anglo-Saxons’ beliefs and morals. The concepts of good and evil can be seen within Beowulf’s imageries.
Charles Scott Moncrieff’s translation of Beowulf is more linguistically similar to the original text than interpretive of that text which indicates a formal equivalence philosophy. Moncrieff’s translation uses literal translations of the original language, and mirrors the structure and layout of the original text. The first line of Moncrieff’s translation, “Then came from the moor / under misty slopes,” appears to be an exact translation of the original first line. Also illustrated in the first line is the similarity of form. Moncrieff’s translation preserves the medial caesura of the original with backslashes.
Beowulf has been read by millions of readers and critiqued by hundreds of scholars, yet it remains a popular classic worldwide; perhaps the very construct that weaves varying religious contexts has helped to create an enduring interest in this poem. Christian mores mingling with Germanic myth and nature’s religion create a distinctive relationship seldom seen in other literary works. One of literature’s earliest epic poems, Beowulf, contains a unique amalgamation of religious concepts that, at times, seem to contrast each other. Considering the time period and popular worldview of the time during which the poem was written, it is likely that the author was intentional in the style and content of his work Beowulf, written sometime between
Even though there are many examples of christianity in the poem, it points more towards pagan beliefs because of the time of creation, the fact that it talks about vengeance, the ancient belief in wyrd, the use and naming of swords,and the tradition of ship burials . Beowulf was written in the anglo-saxon period by an unknown anglo saxon poet. It is best known by the scholars as The Beowulf Poet. When the poem was written it was influenced by paganism even though christianity is prevalent amongst its verses. Anglo-saxon were invaders of britain (Angles, saxons and jutes) these were all Germanic tribes.