Beowulf Christian Beliefs

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The epic poem of Beowulf is one of the most well known stories in European history. The poem, believed to be first written in 1000 CE, though probably around at least 300 years older, is a story of a Geatish hero by the name of Beowulf who travels to the Danes to earn valor and heroism for his name. In the epic there are many examples of what Thomas Hill refers to as “peculiar spiritual atmosphere”, this is the combination of both pagan and Christian beliefs and values in the epic. While many other early medieval texts are either emphatically and militantly Christian or unapologetically pagan or secular, in their viewpoint Beowulf is neither (Hill 198-199). Beowulf is in fact unlike any other writing of the era and “a presentation of a radical…show more content…
These people were primarily of Anglo-Saxon descent meaning that while they were most likely Christian, they were relatively new to the religion and before then held very strong conservative pagan beliefs. Anglo-Saxons loved the idea of old objects, for example if a sword in the poem of Beowulf was good, then it was always old. This can also come in the form of bloodlines. If a family is old and can trace back their bloodline throughout the ages, then they are well respected. This is a very pagan belief (as Christianity could not endorse this due to it being relatively new itself), and showed that Anglo-Saxons knew that their bloodlines and the roots of their culture came from the Germanic warrior tribes of the east. “A secular Anglo-Saxon aristocrat, whose claims to prestige and authority depended in part on an ancient and therefore necessarily pagan lineage, would be much less inclined to ignore the achievements of his pagan ancestors than a monk cut off from his own family and culture” (Hill 200). The…show more content…
They are considered to be Noachites, that is, “gentiles who share the religious heritage and knowledge of Noah and his sons without having access to the revealed knowledge of God which was granted to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a tradition culminate by the revelation of the Law to Moses and continued by the charismatic tradition of prophecy in Israel. Every reference in the poem which touches on religion can be understood in these terms except for one-lines 179-83 in which the poet apparently condemns Hrothgar and the Danes for idol worship” (Hill 202). The epic holds the values of Pagan ancestors and their Christian beliefs to be values that should be upheld in their most important traditions. Even if their ancestors weren’t Christian, they still followed their value system. Many of the characters in the epic seem to talk in a monotheistic perspective that the Germanic warriors of the time would not have used. This shows evidence that the epic was recorded by a monk who held strong Christian values. For example, after the warriors finished their sea voyage to the Danes, they praised God for giving them safe journey, while the warriors of the time would have been more likely to praise either Thor or Odin, gods of the religion practiced at the time in that area. Also, the condemnation of idol worship, when Beowulf condemned the idol worship
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