Judith

Topics: Bible, Cotton library, Nowell Codex Pages: 2 (528 words) Published: September 21, 2013

Judith is a 349- line poetic fragment. It is one of five articles in the British Library, MS. Cotton Vitellius A.xv. It is a document originally made up of two manuscripts. The first of the pair known as the Southwick Codex, is thought to of been produced during the twelfth century. The Nowwell Codex also known as “The Beowulf Manuscript” is about 150 years older and dated between A.D 980 and 1020. The manuscripts were combined in the 17th century. Like much of the other works housed at the Cotton Library this manuscript was damaged in the fire of 1731. It is believed to be based on the Book of Judith, found in the Roman Catholic Bible. The poem is incomplete, it begins in midthought and it has been a source of debate among scholars who debate the length of the original poem and the relation of the surviving fragment to its whole. Many scholars believe that probably only 98 lines of Judith have been lost which would mean that 78 percent of the poem survives today. There are many differences between the Vulgate and old English version of Judith. These differences are important because of their literary value and because they make many wonder if the meaning of this poem is political persuasion or human experiences. The poem represents Judith as a maiden not a widow, it leaves out any account of her later life. Many of the biblical characters are left out in the Old English version. In the Vulgate Judith appears at the feast, this is omitted in the poem. The poem puts less emphasis on how Judith dressed herself in order to catch the attention of HOLOFERNES. She doesn’t say anything to lead him to believe that she approved of his intentions with her. In the poem there is no conversation between them; Holofernes simply orders that she be bought to his room. His death is a result of his drunkenness, not her seduction. . In the bible version Judith’s people are shown as more religious than military. They follow elders and priests rather than Kings and Generals....
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