The Tension between Heroic Masculinity and the Christian Self in the Old English Andreas

  1. Jacek Olesiejko ORCiD: 0000-0002-7047-2498


The article’s aim is to elucidate the religious transformations of the secular notions of identity and masculinity in Andreas. Andreas is a religious poem composed in Anglo-Saxon England around the ninth century. It is an adaptation of the Latin recension of the Acts of the Apostle Andrew, but the poet uses heroic diction borrowed from Old English secular poetry to rework the metaphor of miles Christi that is ubiquitous in Christian literature. The poet uses the military metaphor to inculcate the Christian notion of masculinity as the inversion of the secular perception of manliness. He draws upon a paradox, attested in the early Christian writings, that spiritual masculinity is true manliness, superior to military masculinity, and that it is expressed through patient suffering and the acknowledgment of defeat. The poem inverts the notions of war and victory to depict the physical defeat of the martyr as a spiritual victory over sin and the devil.

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Anglica Wratislaviensia

56, 2018

Pages from 87 to 107

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