An inquiry into the possibility that the unknown poet of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf may have been influenced by the Scriptures, particularly viewed from a typological method of interpretation



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In this thesis "An Inquiry into the Possibility That the Unknown Poet of the Anglo-Saxon Poem Beowulf May Have Been Influenced by the Scriptures, Particularly Viewed from a Typological Method of Interpretation," the investigator attempts to reconstruct the religious background of the typical eighth-century Englishman closely enough related to a religious establishment so that he could have had access to a library containing the Classical and Biblical materials which appear to have influenced the writing of the poem. The investigator pays close attention to the possibility that such a poet may have been motivated to insert religious materials into Beowulf, to the particular religious works with which he may have been familiar, and to the manner in which he may have interpreted them if he followed the allegorical and typological method common to the churchmen of his day. The investigator then turns to the poem itself looking for parallels to the Bible, in which she includes some of the pseudoapocryphal material available to an eighth-century Catholic living in certain sections of England as well as the Canon. Noting that the parallels may form an allegory; that is, the adventure of Beowulf in the first section appears to resemble one adventure of David and the stories of Beowulf in sections two and three seem closely related to the story of Christ, the investigator observes that part one may deliberately foreshadow some of section two and most of section three. Other possible parallels are also mentioned.