Anxiously Pursuing Peace: Defining and Defending Christian Faith in Texts of Old English Reflective Wisdom

David G Pedersen, Fordham University

Abstract

This project examines how The Old English Boethius, Solomon and Saturn II, The Wanderer, and The Seafarer use the vernacular to negotiate Christian identity in light of existential anxieties that seem to have been intrinsic to the Anglo-Saxon religious imagination. The authors of each of these texts recognize that peace of mind should characterize the truly faithful Christian. But these texts also give free voice to concerns about humankind’s lack of certainty regarding the nature and authority of God—concerns, I argue, that seem to be derived from cultural preoccupations and anxieties—and they seek, with varying degrees of success, their own expressions of Christian identity that embrace the anxiety this uncertainty creates. By exploring religious identity using methodologies commonly applied to the exploration of such subjective domains as gender, race, and class, I uncover conceptions of Christian identity in these texts that challenge the ideas of Christianity operating within Latin language and Roman Catholic orthodoxy. These challenges display levels of apologetic nuance, philosophical rigor, and subjective agency that have not been sufficiently recognized in studies of Old English literature.^

Subject Area

Medieval literature|English literature

Recommended Citation

Pedersen, David G, "Anxiously Pursuing Peace: Defining and Defending Christian Faith in Texts of Old English Reflective Wisdom" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10280614.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI10280614

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