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Why is there an infusion of Christian elements in the pagan poem, Beowulf?

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kalliem20 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted June 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM via web

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Why is there an infusion of Christian elements in the pagan poem, Beowulf?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 11, 2012 at 1:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Beowulf emerged from a pagan Anglo-Saxon oral tradition, but its popularity continued well into the period when northern Europeans adopted Christianity, around the eighth and ninth centuries. In fact, the earliest surviving manuscript of Beowulf dates to around 1000. This manuscript, which was probably a copy made from older copies, would almost certainly have been executed by a Christian monk. So it is natural that this story, which had its origins in a pagan world, would nevertheless contain strong elements of Christianity. In fact, it is highly possible that Beowulf was intended (or had been intended) to be didactic in nature, containing lessons about Christianity expressed in the older idiom of Anglo-Saxon epic poetry.

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