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Richard Archdeacon

Irish Jesuit (1620-1693)

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Archdeacon, RICHARD, an Irish Jesuit, whose name is sometimes given as Archdekin or Arsdekin, b. at Kilkenny, March 30, 1620; d. August 31, 1693. He entered the Society of Jesus, at Mechlin, September 20, 1642, and taught humanities, philosophy, theology, and Holy Scripture at Antwerp and Louvain. He wrote a treatise in English and Irish on Miracles, a “Life of St. Patrick” with a short notice on Ireland and the so-called prophecy of St. Malachy, an Irish saint, and the principal controversies about the faith. This he called “Theologia Quadripartita”; it was meant for use chiefly in Ireland. The book sold very rapidly, more than a thousand copies having been disposed of in a few months. He subsequently published it as a “Theologia Tripartita”, and in the preface informs his readers that he had more time at his disposal for writing than he had for the preceding book. The “Tripartita” passed through thirteen editions. The twelfth edition contains the “Life of Oliver Plunkett and Peter Talbot“. The work is remarkable for its order, conciseness, and lucidity. In spite of its numerous editions, beginning with the year 1671, it was put on the Index in 1700, donee corrigatur. Although at least the Antwerp edition of 1718 was corrected, especially as regards the peccatum philosophicum, and the Cologne edition of 1730 was “revised and corrected”, yet in the Index of 1900 he is still referred to as an author previously condemned. He left in MS. a “Theologia Apostolica” Hurter speaks of him as auctor gravis et probabilista. Webb in his “Compendium of Irish Biography” (Dublin, 1878) declares of the treatise on miracles that “it is said to have been the first book printed in English and Irish conjointly.”

T. J. CAMPBELL


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