This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Imitation Of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis

The Imitation Of Christ (original 1418; edition 2007)

by Thomas A. Kempis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,05450825 (4.11)66
Title:The Imitation Of Christ
Authors:Thomas A. Kempis
Info:Filiquarian (2007), Paperback, 216 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:nonfiction, religion, spirituality, philosophy

Work details

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis (1418)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 66 mentions

English (42)  Dutch (4)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read devotional work next to the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic. Apart from the Bible, no book has been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ. The text is divided into four books, which provide detailed spiritual instructions: "Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life", "Directives for the Interior Life", "On Interior Consolation" and "On the Blessed Sacrament". The approach taken in the Imitation is characterized by its emphasis on the interior life and withdrawal from the world, as opposed to an active imitation of Christ by other friars. The book places a high level of emphasis on the devotion to the Eucharist as key element of spiritual life.
  StFrancisofAssisi | May 17, 2019 |
Logos Library
  birdsnare | May 16, 2019 |
A justly famous devotional work of the 15th century in an accessible translation.

Creasy's translation allows the modern reader to really get into and understand the premises of The Imitation of Christ. It is highly recommended.

The work itself is a masterpiece of devotional literature: even though Thomas a Kempis may have lived almost six hundred years ago, many of his comments makes it seem that he understands you today. It truly speaks to the unchanging condition of mankind.

The author's goal is to increase devotion to Christ and writes compellingly to that end. He uncovers a lot of the difficulties and challenges under which we live and directs us in every respect to Christ. It is a work worth going over time and again.

The author lived in medieval Catholicism and the work reflects this at times, but the language and concepts are easily accommodated.

Highly recommended.

**--galley received as part of early review program ( )
1 vote deusvitae | Oct 15, 2018 |
In Latin: "De Imitatione Christi)
  St-Johns-Episcopal | Jun 28, 2018 |
Benjamin Franklin's Virtues Journal lists "humility" as the thirteenth virtue, with the catchphrase "Imitate Jesus and Socrates" as guidance for practising humility. But what does this mean? It is easy to shrug this off with assumptions about the "What would Jesus do?" heuristic, but to specify what Franklin meant by imitating Jesus or Socrates led me to this classic text of Christian devotion from the early fifteenth century. Franklin was, at least towards the end of his life, a monotheist, and he doubted the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. I read Kempis' work in a similar spirit. Kempis advises us to ...imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart."Book Two: The Interior Life" was especially enlightening, in that it echoes Epictetus. Epictetus would have us "indifferent" to externals, and while his assumptions about God or "the gods" echoes Heraclitus, Kempis is more to the point: If you attend to God and yourself, you will little be disturbed by what you see about you.Instances of Stoic philosophy are scattered through Book Two, less so in Book Four which looks at the taking of Holy Communion. The ongoing dialogue between "The Voice of Christ" and "The Disciple" clearly links Jesus with God (as in the Trinity), and there is clearly a Christian focus. Of course, this is a translation, and while I looked at another translation online, the differences were mostly in readability, as opposed to differences of opinion (as far as I can see). There are frequent references to what is "manly": love, self-conquest, not complaining. But also, an appreciation for the ups and downs of life. God grants His grace one moment, then withdraws it another. This is a normal thing. We should be grateful for when we experience God's grace, and patient when God withdraws His grace. Further, we should be aware that nature is about the self (as in survival), whereas grace is about the community (the social). So, "nature" would have us proud, whereas grace would have us humble. Yet, I did not have this sense of simply buckling oneself to everyone else's will - it was about self-conquest in the spiritual realm, rather than self-flagellation. I could relate this to Epictetus's and Seneca's ideas about managing our impressions - being "indifferent" to them - and James Allen's As A Man Thinketh amplifies Kempis' themes (indeed, Allen now reads as a diary-version of Kempis' Book Two). Most importantly, Kempis reminds us that "all is not lost" as we can never get it right:You are a man, not God. You are flesh, not an angel.I found this work mesmerising, enlightening, beautiful. Have I found the answer to Benjamin Franklin's riddle? Well, not quite. Franklin has a number of other riddles that will require a reading of Aristotle's Ethics, and there is more to be gleaned from St. Teresa of Ávila's Interior Castle. Yet I can feel that I am nearing an understanding. Of course, Mortimer Adler would say that if I cannot explain it, then I do not understand. Thankfully, Kempis tells me that I am a man, not God, so I can give myself a break. But I am glad that I took Alder's advice and I have started making notes in the margins of my books (in pencil only!), for I shall be returning to this book again and again and it will sit with my copy of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography for ready reference. ( )
  madepercy | Feb 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (135 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas à Kempisprimary authorall editionscalculated
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
Gonnelieu, R.P. deContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kepler, Thomas S.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klein, Edward J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knox, Ronald ArbuthnottTranslatorsecondary 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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
'He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness,' says Our Lord.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Book description
‘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.
Haiku summary

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)

(see all 9 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 21 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.11)
0.5 1
1 13
1.5 2
2 17
2.5 2
3 77
3.5 13
4 126
4.5 12
5 212

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Bridge Logos

An edition of this book was published by Bridge Logos.

» Publisher information page

Mercer University Press

An edition of this book was published by Mercer University Press.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 135,661,817 books! | Top bar: Always visible