The only surviving contemporary texts that provide insight into the life of Saint Patrick were both written by the legendary patron saint of Ireland. By Patrick's own account, his life and ministry were controversial in his day, and the myths and legends that have surrounded this enigmatic Christian leader have continued to generate speculation and curiosity to the present day.
Roy Flechner (University College Dublin) brings the the best available critical tools to the task of seeking to reconstruct Saint Patrick's life and mission in Saint Patrick Retold: The Legend and History of Ireland's Patron Saint (Princeton UP, 2019). What emerges is a vivid relief that fills in the gaps of what we can know about this characteristically guarded autobiographer from the best available scholarship of late Roman Britain. Flechner's account promises to serve as a standard text in the long tradition of Patrician scholarship for decades to come, and takes seriously Patrick's own accounts of the conflicts that surrounded his early disappearance from his native Britain and his sojourns on the emerald isle. Saint Patrick Retold won the Hagiography Society Book Prize in 2020, and is just releasing in paperback edition March of 2021.
Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.