Beowulf, Christlike or Coincidence? Essay

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Beowulf, Christlike or coincidence? The story of Beowulf is credited as the “the title of the earliest existing Anglo-Saxon epic. It tells the story of Beowulf, a Norse hero and warrior who fought and conquered several monsters that terrorized Denmark and Sweden. The poem combines elements of Anglo-Saxon culture with Christian moral values...”. This story has caused many academic debates due to all the symbolism, both Christian and pagan. The story has many contradicting religious themes in the story. Many scholars maintain the belief that Beowulf was altered in an attempt to help the Christian church spread its beliefs, turning the epic into conversion propaganda. When the Beowulf story was thought to have originated, the Anglo-Saxon culture was still a pagan society. Christianity had yet to grip it's stronghold on the region. However, by the time it was starting to be written down and not just passed along by oral tradition, Christianity was well ingrained into the fabric of everyday society. Many historians belief the first telling of the epic began in the eighth century, and while Christianity was already a presence in the area, it was nowhere near as prevalent as it was in the eleventh century, which is when we find the first written account of the Beowulf story.(wiki). The parallels between Christianity that make Beowulf out to be a Christ like figure, in a story that is obviously pagan in nature is strong evidence to indicate that the story was used as a tool to make the conversion easier. Examining other historical examples of the Church using pagan holiday traditions, such as winter solstice events that are implemented in the celebration of Christmas, reinforces the argument of religious propaganda. From the beginning of the tale, there are strong connotations drawn between Beowulf and Jesus. When Beowulf arrives, Hrothgar says, “Blessed God

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