Just to clear things up a bit, the confusion regarding Christian behavior before the founding of Christianity can be explained as follows: references to a Creator or use of allegory were later inserted by the person who eventually recorded the oral poem. The deduction that Beowulf was in fact a “Christian”–as in one who follows the Christian faith (at that point, nonexistent)–is in effect proven false, as simply being chivalrous and honor-bound does not automatically make Beowulf a Christian (i.e. a square is a rectangle, a rectangle does not have to be a square…).
Religion plays a contradicting role in Beowulf because on one side the Germanic code states that honor is gained throughout life by doing deeds and on the other Christianity maintains that glory occurs in the afterlife. The Pagan warrior culture is set up to retaliate rather than mourn while the Christian faith suggests a forgiving attitude towards ones enemies. Although Beowulf is Christian, it seems likes he can’t (or won’t) give up his Pagan warrior values. Maybe that is why on page 20 when Beowulf refuses to fight Grendel with a sword, he weighs in both values by fighting Grendel like a Pagan but doing it with chivalry like a Christian.
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