Beowulf and the Bible

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Joe Rosa
11/02/10
Prof. Thompson
Hist. 3127

Beowulf and the Bible

Throughout the epic poem, Beowulf, our main hero puts others before himself. Over the many years of research and analysis of the poem, scholars came to the conjuncture that the author of Beowulf was indeed Christian. However, we know so little of the author that one could not even attach a name to this medieval poem. So the presumption of the academic authority is really all we have to go by, other than the reader’s own interpretation. But can the poem not also be considered pagan by the same comparison? One would most likely find more substantial evidence in the Christian theory, however, there are a few indications throughout the poem that hints towards a pagan author. Be that as it may, there could hardly be any debate over the author’s use of allegorical interpretation and heavy symbolism to support morals and meaning to instill a virtuous code of ethics into the reader. As the Christians believe that Jesus was sent here by God to protect mankind and to ultimately die for our sins, the unknown author of Beowulf places our hero in Denmark, fighting off monsters for a country he is not even from. It may come off as a bold statement, and may even be considered a cliché, to compare anyone with Jesus; however, both put mankind before themselves and ultimately sacrificed their lives for the benefit of others. Most importantly, and maybe more convincingly, their friends betrayed both right before their death. Before Beowulf’s battle with the dragon, his companions ran out of fear, just as Judas sold Jesus out. In theory, Beowulf reads as an allegorical text just as much as the Bible. The poems use of monsters alone show a strong similarity to the biblical stories we are all used to. One can easily find a fair comparison between Beowulf’s encounter with the first monster in the poem, Grendel, to the very familiar story of David’s run in with Goliath. Here we have our...
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