Some lines, of course, are a matter of interpretation. For example, when the poet writes, "Then saw I mankind's Lord come with great courage when he would mount on me," we can excuse it as a heroic rendering of the crucifixion -- after all, Jesus probably wasn't skipping along gleefully. Others, though, simply cannot be rectified with the Gospel accounts. Here are a few examples:
- Strong fiends seized me there, worked me for spectacle; cursèd ones lifted me. On shoulders men bore me there, then fixed me on hill; fiends enough fastened me. According to the Biblical accounts, Jesus carried the Rood himself. When he grew too weak, Simon of Cyrene bore it.
- The young hero stripped himself--he, God Almighty--strong and stout-minded. In the Gospel accounts, his clothes are removed and soldiers gamble for the garment.
- Then they worked him an earth-house, men in the slayer's sight carved it from bright stone, set in it the Wielder of Victories. Then they sang him a sorrow-song, sad in the eventide, when they would go again with grief from that great Lord. That the poet refers to the disciples as "warriors" (hilde-rincas) so often doesn't really bother me, since that is clearly metaphorical language designed to depict Jesus as a temporal lord. They didn't "work him an earth-house," though -- they used Joseph of Arimathea's tomb.