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The classic study of the saint's life, presented with new introduction and bibliography.Everyone knows of St Patrick, but what do we know about him? Simply that it was he who `converted the Irish to Christianity'. The strange fact is that for two hundred years or so after his death, although his name was remembered with respect, everything else about him was forgotten. E.A. Thompson pieces together the story of his life, drawing his evidence from the only real clues that exist, Patrick's own writings, not from the later Lives. He reveals him as coming from a well-to-do nominally Christian family in Britain, being captured by Irish raiders and forced into slavery in Co Mayo, converting to a most earnest Christianity, and eventually escaping from Ireland to the fulfillment of his calling. As a bishop, he is shown to have been a man of profound originality, and his writings - his Confession and his Letter to Coroticus - further display his character. It is no surprise that a host of legends became attached to his name, and the biography is completed with a look at some of those early legends. Preface to paperback edition by COLMAN ETCHINGHAM, Maynooth.
E.A. THOMPSON was Professor of Classics at Nottingham University.
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Thompson has presented Patrician scholars with some intriguing new hypotheses in a field where hypotheses abound. These have the virtue of relying solely on the only reliable source bearing on Patrick, namely his own writings. HISTORY Those who want to know what manner of man Patrick was, something about the Roman world in which he originated, and the problems he faced among the Irish will find this book helpful and satisfactory. Patrick is allowed to emerge from his own accounts. And what an impressive figure he was! TABLET A scholarly work, written with enormous clarity and humour, that will provide thought-provoking and entertaining reading for all who are interested in the history of Christianity and of late antiquity. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW (Alfred P. Smyth)