Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Singer, Stella

Subject Headings

English literature -- Old English, ca. 450-1100 -- History and criticism, Civilization, Anglo-Saxon, in literature -- History and criticism, Christian literature, English (Old) -- History and criticism, Anglo-Saxon Old English Judith


The Anglo-Saxons were a people who took great pride in their heritage and culture. However, they faced various challenges in preserving the pagan traditions of their Nordic ancestors while being heavily influenced by Christianity. Many Anglo-Saxon texts demonstrate these cultural challenges, but the Book of Judith, found in the Nowell-Codex, attempts to unify the two conflicting cultures by uniting Anglo-Saxon and Christians traditions in a distinctly Old English format. The Old English adaptation of the Latin Vulgate Judith text portrays the actions of the heroine in light of Christianity while incorporating deeply-rooted Anglo-Saxon traditions. Judith is the unifying figure within the story, because she exemplifies both Anglo-Saxon and Christian ideals. Judith's dual characteristics create a picture of a unified Christian/Anglo-Saxon woman, whose morals, virtues, and heroic actions are reflected in the minor characteristics of the story. From the Old English writing style, to the opening feast, to the beasts of battle, to the collection of the spoils of war, the Nowell-Codex Judith is filled with traditional Anglo-Saxon imagery that creates a cohesive Anglo-Christian world for readers and listeners of the time to emulate