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A Glimpse Into St. Patrick's Personality

  • Mar 5, 2009
Edited and translated by John Skinner, this version of THE CONFESSION OF ST. PATRICK includes not only St. Patrick's confession, but his letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus and the Faeth Fiada or "Deer's Cry" hymn that has become associated with St. Patrick. Contrary to what many people believe, THE CONFESSION OF ST. PATRICK is not an autobiography. There are some autobiographical elements contained within, but it's more of a long letter written towards the end of his life in defense of a personal attack made against him by those in a position of power and authority. The Confession is seeped in theology and scripture and the editor has been very helpful in noting the particular passage from the Bible that Patrick uses. Even in modern times, Patrick's intelligence and education have come under attack. Reading his Confession it becomes quite clear that no matter what else you might say about St. Patrick's intelligence or authority, he was definitely a person rooted in the Bible.

"A Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus" is a written attack against the British soldier Coroticus who raided some villages in Ireland, killing many people and taking others as slaves. The people Coroticus attacked, killed, and kidnapped were members of Patrick's flock. The letter illustrates how deeply Patrick cared for the people he was shepherding and how personal he took the raid. It's a very vivid and emotional piece of writing.

"Deer's Cry" is not a hymn that St. Patrick wrote, but it has become closely associated with him. It's only a few pages long and gives another glimpse into the character of Patrick.

The prologue by John O'Donohue and the introductory essays by editor and translator John Skinner provide valuable information in understanding the texts and the man who wrote them. Recommended for anyone who has a serious interest in St. Patrick, though those looking for a true autobiography would be better off reading a biography about the man first and then coming to THE CONFESSION OF ST. PATRICK.

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About this book


The autobiography of one of the most popular saints in history, now available in a new translation.

Beyond being recognized as the patron saint of Ireland (perhaps for having chased some nonexistent snakes off the Emerald Isle), little else is popularly known about Saint Patrick. And yet, Patrick left behind a unique document, his Confession, which tells us much about both his life and his beliefs. This autobiography, originally written in the fifth century, and short by modern standards, is nonetheless a work that fascinates with its glimpse into the life of an intriguing man, and inspires with its testament of faith. Here, in this new edition from internationally acclaimed translator John Skinner, the character of Patrick, his era, and his world vividly come to life.

Also included in this volume is the only other document known to have been written by Patrick, a letter he wrote to the soldiers of Coroticus--also Christians--who had raided parts of Ireland and taken away prisoners who were then sold into slavery. This letter is a wonderful demonstration of Patrick's rhetorical fire. Quite irate, Patrick harangues his fellow Christians, and the results are every bit as autobiographically revealing as the Confession.

John O'Donohue, author of Anam Cara, provides an insightful foreword that re-creates the unique spirituality of Patrick and of the Irish people, and shows how it applies to our lives today.

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ISBN-10: 0385491638
ISBN-13: 978-0385491631
Author: John Skinner
Publisher: Image

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