Look at the religious references in Beowulf. What are the names used for God?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is interesting that the many references to the Christian God in this text focus on his power, majesty and strength, presumably because these were the kind of attributes that were respected and idealised in Anglo-Saxon society. In the text references to God therefore describe him as "the Almighty," "Eternal Lord" and "Almighty Judge." What is interesting to note is the way that whenever a character gains glory and power for himself, the text is always very clear to attribute that success to God, ultimately, rather than any effort on that individual's own part. Note the following example:

Afterwards a boy-child was sent to Shield,
a cub in the yard, a comfort sent
by God to that nation. He knew what they had tholed,
the long times and troubles they'd come through
without a leader; so the Lord of Life,
the glorious Almighty, made this man renowned.

God is described as "the Lord of Life," and "the glorious Almighty." The rise of the "boy-child" in this quote is clearly said to be the result of God himself, rather than anything else. It is therefore correct to identify the theme of Christianity as being incredibly prevalent in this text, and it is interesting to reflect on the way in which that Christianity is explored and desribed. The references to God seem to focus on his power and might, rather than his "softer" qualities such as his love, mercy and grace. This suggests that although Anglo-Saxon society was, ostensibly at least Christian at the time of writing this text, their view of God was still one that focused on qualities of strength, power and judgement.

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