The importance of dating such literature is not only historical, for, in interpreting literature, knowledge of the setting in which a work was composed is of great importance.
As Amos puts it, '[it] is as if we knew that Sir Philip Sidney wrote in the late sixteenth century and Wallace Stevens in the mid-twentieth century, but could not assign even relative dates within that period to the work of Dickens and Shakespeare' (pg 1). Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991.] Russom, Geoffrey.
"This book will be a milestone, and deserves to be widely read.
The early Beowulf that overwhelmingly emerges here asks hard questions, and the same strictly defined measures of metre, spelling, onomastics, semantics, genealogy, and historicity all cry out to be tested further and applied more broadly to the whole corpus of Old English verse." Andy Orchard, Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon, University of Oxford.
Bredehoft Beowulf and the Containment of Scyld in the West Saxon Royal Genealogy - Dennis Cronan History and Fiction in the Frisian Raid - Fred M.