Reading Beowulf, Magnifying Christ

What Tolkien Taught Me About the Gospels

I first read Beowulf as a sophomore in college. At the time, what I knew of the poem was what most high-school kids know—that Beowulf was a Germanic superhero who killed some monsters, but that was about it. So being a young, inquisitive, literary type, I was greatly excited to be reading the poem for a British literature survey class at Vanderbilt in 1988.

I was not prepared for the disappointment. After Our Hero dispatches two monsters, Grendel and . . .

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