Although many individuals have pointed to connection between Christianity and Paganism that is represented within Beowulf; this connection is nonetheless bears repeating and is important to understanding some of the thematic and historical reasons for why such a connection…
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This menacing creature is most certainly not unlike the Devil that is defined by the Hebrew Old Testament as having existed long before the formation of the world (Major 7). Says Hrothgar, “(fate) often saves the undoomed man when his courage is good” (Chickering 34). As such, the reader can quickly denote that the idea of fate is something that is unique to the that author’s understanding/interpretation of pagan belief as compared to Christian thinking.
Yet, within the very same text and within the very same page, the author denotes, “(after a) signal from God, the sea become still” (Chickering 34). Naturally, the juxtaposed imagery of the God the Bible calling for the waters to be stilled on the Sea of Galilee is a relevant comparison to the way that this same action is completed within Beowulf. Whereas the depiction of Christ calming the troubled Sea of Galilee in the New Testament allows for the men on the ship with Him to be saved from the natural elements, the calming of the sea that was performed in Beowulf at a sign from God was performed as a function of keeping men safe from sea monsters; adding an even further level of pagan parallels to the Christianized interpretation of the Sea of Galilee story (Saur 88). In such a way, even though the predetermined nature of fate is represented within the text, it is presented right alongside a clear reference to the Christian God; a character that has, in terms of religious understanding and belief, extended the right of free will to all mankind.
Whereas pagan lore is replete with images of vengeance and the need to defend one’s clan or immediate family, the Bible, especially the New Testament, does not focus upon the need for vengeance and instead channels peace, love, sacrifice, and charity above such human virtues as vengeance. With that being said, the author
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