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The Rhetoric Of Oferhygd In Hroðgar’s “Sermon”

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Chapter Summary

Beowulf s arguable impulsiveness and inconceivable success portend a susceptibility to oferhygd, fear of which explains wise (1698b) Hrogars anxieties over Beowulf s future conduct. A Germanic fatalist might argue that destruction occurs merely from an unpredictable incident the giants endure, not as an administered punishment. The hermeneutical skills Lerer obviously associates with literacy are metaphor or analogy, mostly in the specific context of Christian book-learning, the acquired code or key for an abstract hermeneutical system. Ancient giants given to audacity and Beowulf s potential as a giant inspire the gidd of Heremod. The poetic Solomon and Saturn contextualizes the struggle between fate and warning as a Christian one, and Hrogar seems to offer pseudo-pagan wisdom of comparable substance. The tyrant represented by Heremod and by Hrogars imagined king in the sermon is depicted elsewhere in Daniel.

Keywords: Daniel; Heremod; Hroðgars sermon; oferhygd



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