Discover how a boy became devoted to the people who enslaved him, returned to their shores, and changed Ireland forever... He was taken from his home in England and dragged across the sea to Ireland. When he escaped, he traveled on the European continent, lived for a while as a monk, and then returned as a missionary to the people who had enslaved him. Many legends surround the life of St. Patrick. He competed with Druids and negotiated with tribal leaders. He traveled all over the emerald isle bringing both Christianity and the Roman Empire to its shores. J. B. Bury, the first modern biographer of St. Patrick, sought to find the man beneath the layers of myth and legend. Explore Patricks place in history, the influence of earlier Christians on Patricks work, the political and social conditions in the Roman Empire at that time, and much more. This new edition of Burys classic biography has been re-edited, introduced by Jon M. Sweeney, and includes sidebar notes from other biographers, mystics, historians, and storytellers of Ireland.
J. B. Bury
J. B. Bury (1861-1927) was an Irish historian, and an expert on the Greek and Roman Empires, the Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, and the author of many scholarly works, including History of the Later Roman Empire (still in print), Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians (recently reissued), and the present biography of St. Patrick.
Irelands Saint: The Essential Biography of St Patrick
by J B Bury, ed. with an introduction and notes by Jon M. Sweeney
(Paraclete Press / Veritas, Ôé¼18.50)
J B Bury, who died in Rome in 1927, was an eminent historian at Trinity College, where he was both professor of Modern History and Greek. In 1902 he moved to Cambridge, where this book was written. He specialised in the Roman and Byzantine Empire. At Cambridge, Bury became mentor to the historian of the Crusades, the medievalist Sir Steven Runciman, who later claimed that he had been Burys first, and only, student.
This book, the first modern biographer of St Patrick, sought to find the historical man beneath the layers of myth and legend. Bury explores the saints place in history, the influence of earlier Christians on his work and the political and social conditions in the Roman Empire at that time. This then is the Roman Patrick, rather than the Celtic Patrick of so much recent popular writing.
Since the book was first published in 1905 there have been many developments in the historiography of St Patrick and early Christian Ireland, though it is a topic that is still very controversial. Today many would want to see Patrick for himself, as expressed in his own writings and to leave aside as untrustworthy the traditional Irish accounts of his life, most of these being compounded for reasons of tribal and clerical intrigue. Bury felt that some reliance could be placed on them.
This new popular edition of Burys classic biography has been re-edited with an introduction by Jon M Sweeney, and consists of Burys text shortened and amended with sidebar notes from other writers. It thus neatly allows access to an important classic work, but frames it with the insights of modern scholarship.
As an American import, though well produced, it is perhaps a little expensive for its size. Though not perhaps for the academic, those with an interest in the early days of the Church in Ireland will certainly enjoy reading it.
Jon M Sweeney, who lives in Vermont, is the author of many books that present the Catholic Middle Ages to a wide audience. An uneasy Episcopalian, he describes himself as almost a Catholic. Drawn to the ancient and medieval, he is a frequent guest speaker to groups of all denominational backgrounds on the full richness of the Catholic tradition and imagination. Sometimes the best reform, he claims, is a return to what was terrific in the past.