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James UssherTheology, History, and Politics in Early-Modern Ireland and England$
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Alan Ford

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274444.001.0001

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Religion, History, and Protestant National Identity

Religion, History, and Protestant National Identity

(p.119) 6 Religion, History, and Protestant National Identity
James Ussher

Alan Ford (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Ussher's work had so far covered the broad sweep of western European Christian history. There remained the obvious task of applying his formidable scholarship to domestic events in early 17th century Ireland, to creating an Irish protestant history. This Ussher did in A discourse of the religion anciently professed by the British and Irish (1622), which traced the roots of the Church of Ireland back to St Patrick, and contrasted Patrick's proto-Protestantism to the antichristian Catholicism of Ussher's ‘misguided countrymen’. His skills and worldwide reputation as a scholar, linguist, historian, and theologian gave this ‘origin myth’ a powerful aura of intellectual respectability, and permanently shaped the way in which Irish Protestants saw themselves down to the late 20th century.

Keywords:   Irish history, protestant history, St Patrick, origin myth

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