Untydras ealle: Grendel, Cain, and Vṛtra: Indo-European 'śruti' and Christian 'smṛti' in 'Beowulf'


This paper examines some of the Christian allusions in Beowulf. While some of these may be interpolations, the reference to Cain and Abel seems well-intergrated into the poem. On the other hand, the references to a divine flood appear on closer inspection to be grounded in Indo-European rather than Christian myth. I conclude that Beowulf is essentially a ‘Germanic’ story representing a pre-Christian world-view and that the integration of the ‘Cain and Abel’ mythologem into the story does not imply a large-scale adoption of Christian ideas.

In Geardagum 27: 1–32.
Benjamin Slade
Benjamin Slade
Associate Professor of Linguistics

My research interests include formal semantics and syntax, historical linguistics, South Asian and Caribbean languages, and the use of computational concepts in formal linguistics.