May 2008




Master of Arts (MA)


Michael P. Graves

Primary Subject Area

History, Church; Religion, Clergy; Speech Communication


Patrick, Benoit, Image, Ireland, Confession, Apologia


Since 1995, William L Benoit’s “Image Restoration Theory” has been applied in various different contexts. While most applications of this theory have been used to analyze modern day apologia, little work has filtered ancient artifacts through Benoit’s theory. This thesis aims to analyze St. Patrick’s defense rhetoric as seen in his autobiographical letter Confession. Emphasis is first placed on the historical account of the life of Saint Patrick in order to establish a foundation for analysis of Confession. An extensive literature review of “Image Restoration Theory” follows before the application of Benoit’s theory to Confession. The author concludes by describing Patrick’s defense strategies. Special attention is given to Patrick’s main two strategies, mortification and transcendence. Using these two strategies, Patrick defends his ministry and work among the Irish by focusing on his humility and appealing to a higher authority. Future scholars will find this thesis useful in designing approaches to specific ancient and modern apologia.