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What specific elements in Beowulf reflect a Christian point of view? 

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hnewberry | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted April 30, 2012 at 5:01 PM via web

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What specific elements in Beowulf reflect a Christian point of view? 

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 30, 2012 at 5:42 PM (Answer #1)

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Throughout Beowulf, there is a tension between elements of Christianity and of pagan beliefs. One very prominent example is the Anglo-Saxon idea of wyrd, or fate, which seems to exist alongside the Christian notion of Providence, or the will and workings of God. For example, the narrator claims that Grendel, himself the "outcast of the Lord" and a descendent of Cain, would have killed more Danes except that:

God in his wisdom and the man's (Beowulf's) courageous spirit had withstood that wyrd and him. The lord ruled all the human race as he still does."

On the other hand, the only explicit references to Judeo-Christian faith are to the Old Testament, as the reference to Cain above indicates. Though the poem was probably committed to paper by a monk, it takes place in a pagan world. Many of its concerns, like the role of Providence in the lives of people, are Christian in nature, and some scholars have even argued that Beowulf represents a Christ-like figure in the poem. 

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