These texts also demonstrate that women’s power waned in the shift between pre-Christian and Christian Europe.
Judith makes two spectacular appearances in the Old English corpus: she is the brave heroine of a poem which is included in one of the most famous manuscripts of the late Anglo-Saxon period, the Nowell Codex, which also contains the heroic epic, Beowulf.
The Old English poem Judith explores Anglo-Saxon representations of femininity and masculinity by constructing a double-gendered hero who differs from the biblical version of the same woman.
This thesis explores the thematic relationship between the Old English poem Judith and the Old English epic Beowulf. I focus on seven narrative similarities between the two texts that are used to distinguish between the heroes, Judith and Beowulf, and their enemies, Holofernes, Grendel, and Grendel’s mother.