Genesis, lines 1002-1103

God asks Cain where Abel is and Cain responds that he does not know, “I was not my brother’s keeper.” God curses Cain and says that he will receive punishment and exile for his crime. Cain replies meekly enough, but fears being murdered in turn. God says that Cain need not fear that, and marks him for ever. Cain settles in the east and has his first child, Enos.  Together they build a city. More children are born: Iared and then his son Malahel and then his son Mathusal. The Lameh is born, who takes two brides, Ada and Sella. One of their children was Iabal, who was the first harper. Also Tubal-Cain was born who was the first blacksmith. Lameh says to his wives that he has killed a man with his own hands, and, in this version (i.e., different from that of the Bible), the man Lameh has killed is his own ancestor, Cain. [I am using the spelling of the MS for these names rather than normalizing so that listeners are more easily able to follow along].

Genesis, lines 918-1001

God tells Eve that she must suffer and bring forth children in pain. He commands Adam to leave paradise and suffer upon the earth, bringing forth bread by the sweat of his brow. Adam and Eve are expelled from paradise, which is then guarded by an angel with a flaming sword. They settle in a new country, and Cain and Abel are born. Both brothers bring offerings, but God refuses to look at Cain’s. Cain becomes so angry that he murders his brother, and from that act grew forth all subsequent crimes.

Genesis, lines 790-917

Adam rebukes Eve, and Eve says that she grieves as much as he does. The two then try to clothe themselves. God comes to walk in paradise and wonders what his children are doing. Adam replies that he was hiding due to shame because he was naked. God questions Adam, and Adam blames Eve for his disobedience. God questions Eve, and she says that the snake tricked her. God then curses the snake always to go on its belly and to have constant strife between it and the descendants of Eve.

Genesis, lines 683-789

Eve finally talks Adam into eating the apple. The serpent is well pleased and returns to hell to inform Satan of his success. Adam and Eve suffer great remorse for their disobedience, and when God comes to walk in paradise, they hide, ashamed that they are naked.

Genesis, lines 588-683

The serpent’s lies and manipulations finally convince Eve to eat the apple, and at once heaven and earth seem brighter to her through the vision lent by the serpent, who talks her into bringing the apple to Adam. She tells him how sweet the fruit is and argues that he must eat the apple or risk angering God’s messenger (the serpent).

Genesis, lines 441-587

An adversary of God travels to earth to lead Adam astray. We learn of two trees, one is the tree of life, the other the tree of death. Eating of the second tree causes one to learn of good and evil, but also to live in labor and sorrow. The devil turns himself into a snake and winds around the tree of death. He seeks to tempt Adam, saying that he has been sent from God as a messenger. Adam refuses to eat the fruit of the tree of death. The snake then goes to Eve and tries to convince her to eat of the fruit.

Genesis, lines 337-441

Satan complains about hell and decides that, since he and his devils cannot directly defeat God, he can instead lead the children of men astray.  Then the children of men will be servants of the devils.

[There is another apparent missing leaf in the manuscript here]

Genesis, lines 234-337

God leaves Adam and Eve to inhabit Eden.

[At line 235, begins “Genesis B,” a part of the poem that Eduard Sievers showed had been translated into Old English from an Old Saxon original. This philological determination was then shown to be true when a portion of the Old Saxon poem was found in the Vatican Library].

We now turn to the fallen angels, brooding in hell. Their leader complains about his torments and explains how he came to be there. We have the story of the fall from heaven.

Genesis, lines 169-234

God creates Eve from a rib of Adam and commands them to be fruitful and multiply.  He gives dominion of the earth and seas to them.  There is a long description of paradise, which includes the four noble rivers.

[There is then another break in the manuscript, probably a single lost leaf.  The narrative picks up just as God is telling Adam and Eve not to eat from the fruit of one particular tree… ]

Genesis, lines 103-168

In these lines, God creates the world.  He creates light and the first day occurs, followed by the first evening.  On the second day God divides the seas from the earth and makes the firmament of the sky. On the third day he joins the waters into one sea and creates a dry place, named earth.

[At this point there is a significant gap in the manuscript, with possibly three full leaves missing. Among the lost material is the rest of the creation, including God’s making Adam.]

Genesis, Lines 47-102

In these lines God punishes the renegade angels, sending them to hell. Those angels who remain in heaven are peaceful and prosperous. God then begins to create the earth.

Genesis, lines 1-46

The Anglo-Saxon poem Genesis, from the Junius Manuscript, lines 1-46.

Here are the opening lines of Genesis, the first poem in the Junius Manuscript. My plan is to post a podcast of between 40 and 100 lines of Old English poetry read aloud each weekday, followed, perhaps, by a lecture on the poem as each poem is finished. With a little luck, we can work our way through the entire Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records in a little over a year.

Lines 1-46 tell how God ruled the realm of heaven with the “guardians of souls.” But the leader of angels begins to become prideful and seeks to have a throne in the northern part of heaven. So God becomes angry and fashions a fiery prison for Satan.