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The Imitation Of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis

The Imitation Of Christ (original 1418; edition 2007)

by Thomas A. Kempis

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6,18844655 (4.11)62
Title:The Imitation Of Christ
Authors:Thomas A. Kempis
Info:St. Paul Publications, Paperback, 328 pages
Collections:Your library, Currently reading
Tags:Meditations, Christianity

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The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (1418)



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Read this for a class and was pleasantly surprised. It's both an unmistakable product of its time (denouncing the secular entanglements of the medieval Church--I can't help but feel the Avignon Exile was at the back of his mind) and a surprisingly relevant devotional. A Kempis explores the ideas of Augustine and Plato and produces a simple exegesis that emphasizes faith and grace. ( )
2 vote 9inchsnails | Mar 7, 2016 |
Experience for yourself one of the great classics of Christendom, and one of the most widely read books of all time! First published in the 15th century, Kempis’s devotional masterpiece is still relevant and readable for audiences today. The praise that has been lavished on this wonderful work for the past 500 years has not been exaggerated. It’s meditations on the life and teachings of Christ provide encouragement to the soul and convey a deep desire for intimacy and communion with our great God!

"When people study the Imitation, they become in tune with what is really important in life. Each word is music; every passage is a profound truth, and reading a passage a day will assuredly change your life."
- Amazon reviewer

"The Imitation of Christ is a treasure chest of Christian wisdom and truth, a kind of medieval Christian book of Proverbs."
- C. K. Galer

"The Imitation spoke to my heart, rather than my mind, and provided me with strength, inspiration, and fortitude to grow in my spiritual life."
  Stormrev1 | Aug 25, 2014 |
There is always something fresh and inspiring to contemplate, no matter where I open this book to! I didn't read this cover to cover, but picked it up now and then. CLASSIC Christianity. ( )
2 vote alrtree | Jun 17, 2014 |
After the Bible, The Imitation of Christ is probably the best known and best loved book in Christendom. Its author, Thomas a Kempis (1380 - 1471) had a wide knowledge of the Scriptures and classical philosophy, and although most of his life was spent in a Dutch monastery, he also possessed a deep understanding of human nature. His acquired wisdom convinced him of man's complete dependence on God's love and the empty futility of life without it. The book has exercised a profound influence for over 500 years, and Thomas More, Ignatius Loyola and John Wesley are among the many who have acknowledged their debt to it.
2 vote RubislawLibrary | Feb 1, 2014 |
With the exception of the Bible, no Christian writing has had so wide a vogue or so sustained a popularity as this. And yet, in one sense, it is hardly an original work at all. Its structure it owes largely to the writings of the medieval mystics, and its ideas and phrases are a mosaic from the Bible and the Fathers of the early Church. But these elements are interwoven with such delicate skill and a religious feeling at once so ardent and so sound, that it promises to remain, what it has been for five hundred years, the supreme call and guide to spiritual aspiration. It describes true Christian ideals loved by both Roman Catholics and Protestants. Kempis has commented on the worldly preoccupations i.e. lust, ambition, corruption, vanities that prevent us from the eternal truth of Heaven and Divine. It clearly renounces the worldly vanities and aspires for the eternal truth.The treatise "Of the Imitation of Christ" appears to have been originally written in Latin early in the fifteenth century. Its exact date and its authorship are still a matter of debate.
1 vote StMartinLecompte | Sep 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas à Kempisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gonnelieu, R.P. deContributormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Kempis, Thomas aAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Lelen, J. M.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Beeching, H. C.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bigg, CharlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Challoner, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chalmers, ThomasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Croft, AloysiusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardiner, Harold C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kepler, Thomas S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klein, Edward J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, Ronald A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lelen, J. M.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Little, W. J. Knoxsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malcolm, HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merkx, P.A.H.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oakley, Michaelsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Payne, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sherley-Price, LeoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ullman, C.Prefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitford, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,' says Our Lord.
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‘The Imitation of Christ’ first appeared 1418. It was published anonymously but spread quickly around Europe. A Latin manuscript from 1441 exists, but there was a German translation as early as 1434. A French translation appeared in 1447, a Spanish edition in 1482, and an Italian one in 1488. The first English translation appeared in 1503, which was just Book 4, but the other three books followed in the same year and a complete translation appeared in 1556. In 1663, an Arabic edition was printed in Rome, and in 1837, a Hebrew version printed in Frankfurt. 

It has since been translated into many languages, and has won for itself a variety of celebrity admirers. John Wesley and John Newton were men of the Evangelical wing of the Church yet both named this Catholic manual as important in their conversion, while General Gordon took it into battle with him. Thomas More, St Francis Xavier and Dr Johnson were other famous devotees.
 The work is comprised of four books, though they are not all found in all manuscripts, and neither are they always in the same order. This makes little practical difference to the reader, however. This manual of devotion is pitched at a challenging level of Christian experience, but does not offer an ordered journey. Like a merry-go-round, the same themes are visited again and again throughout the books; Thomas is a teacher who believes in repetition. Book 4 is unique in that it has a specific subject, the Eucharist, and explores our attitudes towards the bread and wine. But even here, the author weaves in themes familiar from the other three books: human worthlessness, the need for humility, advice on temptation and adversity, disdain for the attractions of the world, contempt for scholarship, sorrow for sin, forgiveness of perceived injustice, submission to God in all things and ardour for union with the life of Jesus in his death and resurrection.

There is a manic-depressive feel to much of the writing, which can be disturbing for the modern reader. Although Thomas calls Christians to an equanimity that is neither too happy when things go well or too sad when things go badly, the author’s own mood tends to be either one of extreme despair and self-hate or an ecstatic happiness at the sweetness of God and the joy to be found in him. To an extent, this mirrors the character of the God he describes who both loves us unendingly whilst also preparing eternal punishment for the unfaithful. Kempis offers no resolution to this paradox; but sensed in all he writes is the fire of personal dismantlement through which humans must walk in the cause of their spiritual development. Here is a radical and disturbing self-help book, penned for the 14th century monk.

Thomas writes as a monk for monks, but clearly his passion and insights spill well beyond the cloistered world of the monastery. One writer called it ‘The diary of a soul on its way to perfection,’ which captures well the author’s spiritual ambition both for himself and others. As he himself says in the second book, ‘Disdain that which is superficial, dedicate yourself to your inner being and you shall see that the Kingdom of God grows inside you.’ St Augustine was patron of Thomas’ monastery and it was he who famously said, ‘Oh God, you have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their place in you.’ The restless Thomas a Kempis could not have agreed more.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140440275, Paperback)

One of the best-loved books of Christianity after the Bible, The Imitation of Christ is a passionate celebration of God and His love, mercy and holiness, which has inspired conversion and stimulated religious devotion for over five hundred years. With great personal conviction, Thomas a Kempis (1380 1471) demonstrates the individual's reliance on God and on the words of Christ, and the futility of life without faith. Thomas spent some seventy years of his life in the reclusive environment of monasteries, yet in this astonishing work he demonstrates an encompassing understanding of human nature and his writing speaks to readers of every age and every nation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:05 -0400)

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This is a passionate celebration of God and his love, mercy and holiness, which has inspired conversion and stimulated religious devotion for over 500 years. With great personal conviction, Thomas a Kempis demonstrates the individual's reliance on God and on the words of Christ, and the futility of life without faith.… (more)

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