In the heroic epic Beowulf, there are various examples of religious beliefs, both Christian and pagan. These examples play a major role in the tale, and include things such as God’s love (Christian) and making sacrifices to several gods (pagan). Explanations of these beliefs are necessary to understand this epic and here six of these beliefs will be discussed, three Christian and three pagan.
One of the many Christian beliefs is expressed at the beginning of the tale, when the creation of the earth is explained. The epic describes creation by saying that The Almighty (God) made and shaped the earth. The explanation given matches that of the first book of the Bible, Genesis. This belief is used to help introduce Grendel and where he came from.
Many are intermingled and left to be understood by the practitioner. Royal possessions, and even royal members themselves, were ordained, therefore pure, clean, and protected. Christian belief is used when king Hrothgar"tms throne is described as being protected by God. One of the biggest and final pagan beliefs is given at the end of the epic, when Beowulf"tms body is burned. Such actions were resorted upon when none of their prayers to God were seemingly answered. A second pagan exercise is done when Grendel attacks the first Geat, and drinks the Geats"tm blood from his veins, and then snaps his mouth shut, killing the Geat. Even more, some believe this act gives the drinker the victim"tms soul. One last display of a Christian belief is shown at the end of the tale, in which the men are said to have praise to God for the souls of the fallen to be able to make it to Heaven. Pagans believe this deadly beverage makes them stronger, and in some cases godly. Not only are Christian beliefs displayed in Beowulf, but also pagan practices are used. A first of these is the ritual of sacrificing to the stone gods, the making of heathen vows, hoping for Hell"tms support, and the Devil"tms guidance in driving the warriors"tm affliction off. Numerous Christian and pagan beliefs are given in Beowulf, and many can be interpreted as both Christian and pagan. Pagan practices such as drinking of another"tms, or a victim"tms blood, are believed to give the drinker all the unfortunate"tms powers and knowledge.