The Influence Of Beowulf's Role In Christian Literature

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Beyond Beowulf’s role in history and its role in literature, it also plays a role in church history, as a Christian text. Beowulf is often seen as a Christian character who holds his moral and virtues above all else. The growth of the church in Anglo-Saxon England greatly influenced Beowulf; in fact, Beowulf himself is a figure of Christ in this epic poem. The conversion of Anglo-Saxon England to Christianity stands out in history. The religion that remains in control of the English people today is the same religion that their ancestors practiced in the seventh century. As the pagan people were brought to the Orthodox Roman religion, a new course was embarked upon. During the first four centuries the Church was an urban institution (Godfrey …show more content…

He exemplifies Christly characteristics when he thanks God for “His grace / Allowing [him] to bring to his people while breath / Still came to [his] lips” the treasure Beowulf had risked his life to get (807-809). Just as God is seen as the ultimate gift-giver, Beowulf demonstrates lordship, giving his treasures to his worthy retainers (Marshall 5). Beowulf’s decision to fight the dragon for his treasure is not motivated by greed, but stems from the love for his people. In a poem that continually celebrates gift-exchange, Beowulf’s gesture to his people is the epitome of lordship and generosity because he sacrifices himself for his people (Marshall 6). Not only did Beowulf give the treasure he won, but he “gives the golden / Necklace from around his throat to Wiglaf, / Gives him his gold-covered helmet, and his rings, / And his mail shirt,” ordering him to use them well, for Beowulf was at his last breath (820-823). Beowulf gives up his earthly treasures just as Jesus proclaims to do so in Matthew 6:19-21. The death of Beowulf shows his Christian side. Unlike Scyld, whose funeral contains many treasures, Beowulf never mentions to Wiglaf that he wants any treasure to be buried with him. In fact, Beowulf gives the remaining of his treasure to

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