Why does Beowulf contain so many references to Christianity?    

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hmartin17 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Anglo-Saxon culture, stories were often passed down orally. A poet or bard would sing/recite the stories without writing them down. By the time Beowulf was finally written down near the year 1000, many of the Anglo-Saxons had converted to Christianity, which is likely why so many Christian references were added to finalized text. 

Though Beowulf contains many pagan themes such as dragons and sea monsters, Christian references are prominent. In fact, Beowulf's triumph over Grendel and his success as a king is often attributed to God. For example, in lines 1270-1272, the text says, "but Beowulf was mindful of his mighty strength, the wondrous gifts God had showered on him; he relied for help on the Lord of All." Because Beowulf relies on God, God grants him victory. Christian themes like this one permeate the story of Beowulf because Anglo-Saxons were converting to Christianity during the time period in which Beowulf was written down.