Christian Influence on Beowulf and The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki In Beowulf the Christian influence is revealed through approximately 70 passages in which the form of expression or the thought suggests Christian usage or doctrine (Blackburn 3); The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki is in its own way infused with Christian values even though it preserves remnants of the cult of Odin. The Christian element seems to be too deeply interwoven in the text of Beowulf for us to suppose that it is due to additions made by scribes at a time when the poem had come to be written down. The Christian element had to be included by the original poet or by minstrels who recited it in later times. The extent to which the Christian element is present varies in different parts of the poem, from about ten percent in the first part to much less than that throughout the rest of the poem.
Christianity had recently took hold in England at the time of the writing of Beowulf. Many people believe that Beowulf is a Christian story, when in fact it is not. Instead, the poem reflects a society that has a deep pagan background and has brought with it stories from its pagan past. Beowulf is a Germanic tale that was likely first composed in the first half of the eighth century, but it was not until the late tenth century that it was committed to parchment. At the time of its writing, the Germanic tribes were clearly pagan, as seen by such evidence in the text as Beowulf’s cremation at the end of the epic and the direct reference to swearing oaths at “pagan shrines” (line 175). As Christianity’s teachings and values began to take root in these pagan societies over the decades and eventual centuries, the stories of the Bible began to be worked into the tale as it was told, retold, and retold even again. When it came time to be written—probably by a Christian monk (or monks) whose beliefs, it is fair to say, flavored the work—the bards and storytellers had crafted an epic with the Christian permutations already in it. However, that is not to say that the writer was ignorant when it came to what message he desired to relate to the reader.
Beowulf predates the conversion of Anglo-Saxon England to Christianity, and “it is admitted by all critics that the Beowulf is essentially a heathen poem” (Blackburn, 1897, p. 205). Beowulf is interpreted from an oral custom to a composed original copy amid the European Medieval times. It is important for the copier to adjust the lyric to be adequate for a world that is overwhelmed by the Christian Church. The force of the Congregation for this period is relatively supreme, and it is unsatisfactory for barbarian or agnostic saints to be elated over the powers of insidiousness. By adjusting the rapscallion lyric to contain obscure suggestions to Christianity, the transcriber makes the epic story acceptable to his Christian group of onlookers. At the point when Beowulf is thought to be a Christian story, solid moral stories may be found in the characters of Beowulf and Grendel. Beowulf, the Geatish warrior, is a purposeful anecdote for Jesus Christ. In spite of the fact that Christ is not suggested, but he continuous speaks to God around the reference and attributions to Lord of the active parts of the story. Beowulf makes satisfactory to the Christian culture of medieval
...hem greatly. The Beowulf poet makes sure to include small but meaningful references to the paganistic background of the epic poem. There are too many pagan symbols scattered throughout the work to be ignored, and too many rules of the Christian religion are broken by the characters of the poem for an argument to be made against the paganism of Beowulf. Also, we must not forget that ideas such as fate and revenge, which are shunned in Christianity, are two of the main themes in this story. Consequently, even though the Beowulf poet may have been Christian, as for the poem itself, all signs point towards paganism.
Ward & Trent, et al. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907–21; New York: Bartleby.com, 2000
This theory testimony examines religious divergence in this writing called Beowulf as which this is taken place in the pagan circle, this poet is embolden by a Christian group. The poem shows the main divergence of Beowulf that is imbued with the religious opinions of the Middle Ages. There is good versus evil and spiritual symbols, along with the impression of good versus evil in the characters of Grendel and Beowulf.
Shippey, T.A.. “The World of the Poem.” In Beowulf – Modern Critical Interpretations, edited by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987..
Beowulf is an anonymous poem that takes place in Denmark and Geatland, the modern day Sweden. It tells the tale of a kingdom in Denmark, ruled by King Hrothgar, which is in peril and how a hero comes to save it. Beowulf was estimated to be written in the 8th to 11th century during the Anglo-Norman period making it the oldest surviving epic poem in historians’ possession. Though parts of the original manuscript were destroyed in a fire, around 1731, the work has still proven useful to scholars and researchers today. It was first translated in 1818 by Icelandic scholar Grímur Jónsson Thorkelin, J. M. Kemble wrote the first modern English translation in 1837. It has been a great influence to modern writers, like J. R. R. Tolkien (Snell).
Beowulf was written around 1000 A.D. and tells of a time between 400-600 A.D. The people of the time were recovering from war and lost hope of seeing better days, which is where Beowulf came into play. The British longed to have a hero figure – someone who represented strength and courage. The fictional story of Beowulf is not only a story of a hero but of a man of faith. Religion is a prominent feature in the tale but only after many years of being passed down through oral tradition (a tradition in the Anglo-Saxon culture).
Beowulf blends patristic references into a pagan narrative that previously focused only on Anglo-Saxon ideals. For 12 years, king Hrothgar has suffered at the hands of the terrible monster Grendel, who no man has been able to kill. However, when the mighty monster slayer Beowulf hears of Hrothgar’s plight, he at once goes forward to put an end to Grendel. Soon after they received fervent greetings on the Danish coast, the men prepare for the night, and Beowulf realizes that “God in His wisdom must allot the victory as He thinks fit” (43). Beowulf knows that he serves God, the resolver of all problems. The monks who altered the story taught that the pagan god Wyrd does not exist but merely acts as a capability of God. By getting rid of the main pagan god, the monks show God’s almighty power and his ability to control good and evil and decide right from wrong. All evil beings exist because they battled against God and lost; and for rebel...