Although primarily a pagan poem, Beowulf contains Christian allusions that cannot be ignored. There is no mention of Jesus in Beowulf, and references to God seem based on the Old Testament rather than the New. But King Hrothgar and Beowulf sometimes refer to a single, all-powerful God, and there are instances of symbolic rebirth in the poem, such as Beowulf's emergence from the mere after his defeat of Grendel's mother. The fight with the dragon, late in the poem, especially seems to have Christian overtones. Counting the thief, Beowulf is accompanied by 12 associates, most of whom desert him (reminding us of Christ's apostles). We are told that God's will is done throughout the poem. Still, many of the Christian references have the feel of afterthoughts. It seems more likely that they were added to the work as it developed — not necessarily by one
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