Beowulf's Pagan and Christian Elements

The anonymous poet of Beowulf wrote about the Geats and the Danes, Germanic tribes who lived in pre-Christian times on the continent. The plot of the storyline, therefore, has many referrals to pagan beliefs and superstitious traditions. On the other hand, a guy who lived in Anglo-Saxon Britain constructed the poem; therefore, there are cases in the poem of Judeo-Christian values. The poem, therefore, talks of both Wyrd and God of both Germanic Destiny that directs men's lives to inevitable devastation and the Christian God who cares for the lives of His children. The poem fused Christian and Pagan ideals to reflect on the time and place where it was written. Brodeur, the writer of articles states "a period where the virtues of the heathen 'Heroic Years' were tempered by the gentleness of the new idea; an time warlike, yet Religious. Being a good Religious, the poet found himself confronted with the task of treating this at first pagan material in a manner suitable to a Christian audience" (183). Brodeur helps us understand the framework of the poem and starts to help answer they question, why it was written like this and exactly how this storyline was shaped. Another important assertion in this article was when Brodeur says "a Religious understanding of the crazy futility of the primitive Germanic thirst for vengeance; and the reality that Beowulf's main adversaries aren't men but monsters and that the king of the Geats did not seek wars with their neighboring tribes may reveal a Christian understanding for peace among humans" (22). It was also a period in which people such as "Hrothgar and his Danes. . . were punished because of their idolatry" (207). Throughout this poem, we start to see the cross between striving for a Christian God and struggling for pagan vengeance. Christianity and Paganism put together along created a holy surface on which Beowulf was built.

Paganism is a belief thought as a person holding religious beliefs apart from those of monotheistic. Some basic traditions go along with this belief. The first is the custom of worshipping a profusion of Gods. More than ninety percent of the time, it was in the form of a sacrifice. Another custom thinks in fate which is it supposed to control your destiny or tasks in life. That is known as Wyrd. Another custom is values in imaginary things like dragons and magic. Furthermore, they resided in a desolate firmness. They thought in earth-bound take on life. Paganism had become compared by Christians with a sense of indulgence, speaking to the people who are arousing, materialistic, liberal, unconcerned with the future, and bored with religions that tend to be standard. Pagans were set out with excellent sense, to take pleasure from earth or himself. Again, believing in fate, if they were going for the worst they would look at it without bitterness. Finally, they assumed that fame was the only path for you to reach immortality. As you can plainly see, most these customs are a little far-fetched. A few of these irrational ideas explains a great deal of part we see in Beowulf. Some pagan elements we see in Beowulf are Hrothgar's people's activities and basic pagan beliefs along with social importance and old stories.

Christianity is a spiritual belief defined as one who received Religious baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings. This opinion like Paganism, come with some basic traditions. First, they have confidence in one God. They believe that afterlife exists and it is like a utopia. They also have confidence in prayer as a way to give because of God for helping us avoid wicked. Lastly, they have an optimistic outlook that is centered on a man who devoted himself to overpowering bad to create a much better world for his fans. Again, these rules play a significant role and result the utilization of Religious elements in Beowulf. Some examples in this poem will be the narration, Hrothgar's conversation, the Queen's conversation, and Beowulf's talk. Again, these items in the poem are very important to the storyline which is impacted by religious beliefs.

Narration was impacted closely by Christianity and is found throughout the written text of the poem. An example directly from the poem is when the narrator said "A comfort sent by God to that region" (13-17). Here the narrator is discussing Beo. He's the child of Shield Sheafson's. He's also Hrothgar's great-great grandfather. Another example is when the narrator says, "The clear music of an experienced poet revealinghow the Almighty acquired made the planet earth" (81-98). Here, the narrator is talking about displays at Herot and it refers to God as the Almighty. They believe he created the planet earth and that is derived from the Bible. These few types of narration help demonstrate other documents statements pondering how this poem has Christian elements. In "Christina and Pagan Elements" Edward B. Iriving Jr. state governments "You will discover sources to God's creation of the universe, the storyline of Cain, Noah's overflow, devils and hell, and the Last Common sense" (177) Here, Edward B. Irving Jr. is sharing with us that they made personal references to monumental moments in the catholic church's record. The the one which sticks out the most is Noah's Overflow. It is a part in the cathedral bible that represents the independence our faith has fought for and gained. In the same article, the writer also said, "The date of Beowulf is much controverted, but are no conclusive arguments against seeing the poem to age Bede, a date which was well-liked by most Beowulf scholars of the last technology" (179). Again, the writer is providing critical facts supporting us date the time of Beowulf and evaluating it to the timing of the top of Christian practice. Therefore, this may help us identify the reasons for creating the poem. Privately, one like myself could feel that is poem is more focused around the Christian beliefs because there are just more facts demonstrating it. Heading against that, I believe there are only a few theories that prove ideas of pagan faith because again, there are fewer facts in Beowulf and the pagan beliefs was a shaky practice at that time and there are a few limited and complete documents of practice, but it was not as strong as the Christian trust. In 1960, Margaret E. Goldsmith publicized "The Christian Theme of Beowulf" and prolonged over the same lines in several articles culminating in her 1970 reserve, The Mode and So this means of Beowulf. She confirms teachings of Augustine and Gregory in Hrothgar's "sermon" and views the poem as a kind of Christian historical novel. Here is just another documented reserve providing accurate and exact information predicated on research within Beowulf and predicated on the portion written by Edward B. Irving Jr.

On the other hand, there are a few possible and noted facts that compare to the Pagan faith that need to be brought up. "The Christian Terms and Theme of Beowulf" provides a good amount of information upon this. Thomas D, Hill mentions an essential component when he says "Pagan is a term found in at least three different senses in discussing this issue: the literal, the vestigial, and the ethical" (199) The first sense is more practical than the others and refers to documented tactics of pre-Christian religious beliefs in which Germanic people participated. Beowulf includes recorded pagan rituals and the ritual that stands out the the majority are three accounts of pagan funeral rites. The second pagan area includes how pagan rituals and techniques are preserved through poetry. This section is not as clear as the previous area, but it still will bring a good point to the table. For example, the soldiers in Beowulf wore helmets with coated boars to them and the boar was a sacred pet that participate in the Germanic God Freyr. The third area revolves around the ethics and morality of this practice. Therefore, this is actually the real cause of most arguments involving Christian elements and Pagan elements in Beowulf. Thomas D. Hill gives us the background from it when he says "The essential moral code of the poem is unmistakably secular: it's the warrior code of the aristocracy, celebrating bravery, loyalty, and generosity with the hero finding his own immortality in the long-lasting popularity of great exploits carried out in this world" (180). The archetype of the code is not word after word, but like the code of Iliad which is area of the Pagan faith.

As you can view, there are both Christian and Pagan elements being fused into this poem and they're clearly segregated. However, both Religious and Pagan elements are being fused along to form some representation of both religions into one subject, person, or place. First, Beowulf can be viewed in multiple ways. He can be looked at in both religions, but he comes together to for one. A Christian physique and a Germanic Warrior are two ways that Beowulf could be considered in this poem. He can be viewed as a Germanic Warrior for his regular fights. He is having his big brawls with a big monster Grendel, Grendel's troll mother, and a big fire-breathing dragon. It really is somewhat peculiar that he is doing all of this fighting because he was raised as an extremely mature young man. He was known for having great kingly characteristics. He grows into a sensible and effective ruler as he age range. A terrific way to input it is he begins as a heroic monster fighter and transitions to a trustworthy king. That appears and appears like a very impressive accomplishment. Similarly, it could be looked at as a change from a Germanic Warrior to a Christian physique. The poem says "Beowulf was quickly taken to the chamber: the winner of battles, the arch warrior, cam first-looking in along with his fellow soldiers to where in fact the king in his intelligence waited, still wondering whether Almighty God would ever before transform the tide of his misfortunes. " This great estimate is from lines 1310 to 1315. This is great to confirm the point that he's a Christian shape because he is asking for the forgiveness of God. He desires to be forgiven and know that of his wrongdoings are forgiven. These wrongs were mostly of him struggling with. This passage shows that the culture of the Anglo-Saxons got some both Christians and brutal warriors. Therefore, this fits in perfectly compared to that question which one was he. Overall, Beowulf can be seen in this particular culture because it has so many immediate relationships with it.

In "The Religious Terms and Theme of Beowulf" Thomas D. Hill discussions well about the mixture of the religions when he says "Many scholars, and perhaps most ordinary viewers, have simply accepted this strange mixture of pagan storyline and Christian teller as perhaps illogical and slightly puzzling deliberately and implications, however what sort of poem is" (200). Here the writer of this portion of this research reserve is describing how to mixture of the two religions to form Beowulf is ways to cause problems for the reader. Scholars feel the author intentionally attempted to mistake the reader to allow them to pick a aspect between Religious and Pagan in the mean time; the author might well have tricked them and mixed the two. That is why it is necessary to read among the lines.

In conclusion, Religious and Pagan elements play an enormous role in Beowulf. This poem offers many choices for the audience to choose. It allows them or offers them the power to build their own version of the poem. It offers clear hint and examples of both religions and that is why is it difficult to split up or determine where this poem originates. Maybe that is something that we should not find out. The writer could be aiming to leave the visitors a message predicated on these facts. These types of religious practices may be the key to finding what we realize beyond our history. It keeps your brain open and gives the reader the straight away to let their mind race and think about the structure of Beowulf. It is obvious that the Christian, Pagan question is securely connected and this it will most likely not be fully proven or solved anytime soon. However, predicated on what scholars know, the best think to this writer would need to be a Christian poet with a Pagan former. The thing that would help the most would know the night out. This might lead to almost every unsolved question about Beowulf. Scholars have favored in educationally guessing the time during the later period. This later period is just about the late tenth century entering the first eleventh century. On these grounds exclusively, however, scholars can make no firm decision about the labor and birth time of Beowulf.

Work Cited:

Bjork, Robert E. , and John D. Niles. "Christian and Pagan Elements. " A Beowulf Handbook. Lincoln: U of Nebraska, 1997. 176-92. Print.

Donoghue, Daniel, and Seamus Heaney. "The Christian Vocabulary and Theme of Beowulf. "

Beowulf: A Verse Translation: Authoritative Content material, Contexts, Criticism. NY: Norton, 2002. 198-201. Printing.

Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur "Vengeance the Pagan and Christian Inspiration. " Religious and Pagan Elements of Beowulf. Pace University, Web. 19 Jan. 2017.

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