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Journal > Volumes > 40 (2009) / 4 (Winter)
Domesticating the Counter-Reformation: Bridging the Bardic and Catholic Traditions in Geoffrey Keating’s The Three Shafts of Death
Brendan Kane
University of Connecticut

This article explores how traditional cultural forms could be employed to introduce Tridentine Catholicism to an Irish audience. The paper focuses on Geoffrey Keating’s Trí bior-ghaoithe an bháis (The three shafts of death) and compares his use of Gaelic poetry and the works of church fathers and classical authors as pious exempla. This is a unique didactic use of Gaelic poetry side-by-side with more traditional authorities. Keating cites nearly every source he uses in compiling his text, the exception being the bardic material, most of which was composed by his contemporaries. The article posits that Keating was attempting to present contemporary, continental confessional views as artifacts of an ancient and pious Irish tradition. As such, this aspect of Trí bior-ghaoithe an bháis represents a project to draw a native genealogy for innovative religiosity, and thus an effort to domesticate the reforms of Trent.

Pages: 1 029 - 1 044