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Christian Allegory In Beowulf

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Nick Curtis

on 6 October 2015

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Transcript of Christian Allegory In Beowulf

What is Christianity?
A religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Teaches that there is only one God in existence and that God is the creator of the universe, the earth and man.
Jesus was the son of God.
The Christian holy book is called the Bible.
Christianity emphasizes the battle between good vs. evil and the ability of humans to pick their destiny.
What is Paganism?
Paganism is an umbrella term that covers many different belief systems.
Pagan religions are polytheistic; they believe in more than one God.
Pagan religions believe in the immortality of the spirit. Life is an unending cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Pagans believe they are in the hands of fate.
Pagans also believe in the existence of creatures and monsters.
Examples of Christianity in Beowulf
Christianity is directly referenced multiple times in Beowulf.
"He bore the curse of the seed of Cain. Whereby God punished the grievous guilt of Abel's murder." This quote is referring to Grendel and makes reference to the Bible by comparing him to Cain, who was cursed by God for murdering his brother.
" But now with God's help this hero has compassed." This quote is referencing Beowulf's victory over Grendel, attributing his success to the assistance of God.
In addition, Beowulf repeatedly acknowledges God as his savior throughout the poem.
The Presence of Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf
Beowulf contains elements of both Christianity and Paganism.
This fusion is a reflection of the time the poem was written.
Beowulf is believed to haven been written around 700 AD by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet.
Anglo-Saxon conversion to Christianity began in the year 597 AD.
Although the poem was written after the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, Pagan traditions were still present in their culture.
Overall, the Christian influence is more apparent than the Pagan influence.
Thank you!
What Christianity is.
What Paganism is.
The blend of Christianity and Paganism in Beowulf.
Examples of Christianity in Beowulf.
Examples of Paganism in Beowulf.
Good vs. evil in Beowulf.
Beowulf's Christ like qualities.
The three monster's Devil like qualities.
Beowulf as an allegory for salvation.
Good vs. Evil in Beowulf
The Christian concept of good vs. evil is seen throughout Beowulf.
Beowulf represents good and the three monsters he faces, Grendel, Grendel's mother and the dragon represent evil.
The struggle of good vs. evil in Beowulf can be aligned with the struggle of good vs. evil in the Bible between Christ and the Devil.
Beowulf is a representation of Christ and the three monsters are a representation of the Devil.
Christianity In Beowulf
By: Nick Curtis, Jake Lezotte , and Shawn Lutzko
Examples of Paganism in Beowulf
Paganism is referenced multiple times throughout Beowulf.
The concept of Wyrd is referenced in Beowulf. Wyrd is a Pagan concept referring to fate.
The use of named swords is a Pagan derived element. An example of this in Beowulf is Hrunting, the sword given to Beowulf by Unferth.
Ship burials, a Pagan practice, are described in Beowulf.
We Will Discuss
Beowulf as an Allegory for Salvation
Salvation means being saved from certain death. In the Bible, Jesus is seen as the savior of man from the Devil and sin.
Similarly, Beowulf is the savior of the Danes from Grendel and Grendel's mother and the savior of the Geats from the dragon.
In the Bible, Jesus died for the salvation of mankind. Much like this, Beowulf laid down his life for the salvation of his people in his battle against the dragon.
These similarities, combined with the Christ like qualities of Beowulf and the Devil like qualities of the three monsters in Beowulf, show that the story of Beowulf was clearly written as an allegory for Christian salvation.
How Beowulf is like Christ
Much like Christ, Beowulf sacrificed his personal life in order to battle evil.
Both died for the salvation of others.
Both possess heroic qualities.
Both conquered evil. Beowulf killed Grendel, Grendel's mother and the Dragon. Jesus conquered sin and saved mankind from the Devil.
How the Three Monsters are like the Devil
Grendel and his mother live in a dark and gloomy underwater cave isolated from mankind. This can be likened to the Devil living in hell.
Grendel, Grendel's mother and the dragon oppose Beowulf as the Devil opposes Christ.
Much like the Devil in the Bible, the three monsters in Beowulf are adversaries of good.
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