Black cloth binding with gilt title on the spine and front board.
F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.
A fine Folio rendition which has lost its slip case
Only the Bible has been more influential as a source of Christian devotional reading than The Imitation of Christ. This meditation on the spiritual life has inspired readers from Thomas More and St. Ignatius Loyola to Thomas Merton and Pope John Paul I. Written by the Augustinian monk Thomas à Kempis between 1420 and 1427, it contains clear instructions for renouncing worldly vanities and locating eternal truths. No book has more explicitly and movingly described the Christian ideal.
The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, is a Christian devotional book first composed in Medieval Latin as De Imitatione Christi (c. 1418–1427). The devotional text is divided into four books of detailed spiritual instructions: (i) “Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life”, (ii) “Directives for the Interior Life”, (iii) “On Interior Consolation”, and (iv) “On the Blessed Sacrament”. The devotional approach of The Imitation of Christ emphasises the interior life and withdrawal from the mundanities of the world, as opposed to the active imitation of Christ practised by other friars. The devotions of the books emphasize devotion to the Eucharist as the key element of spiritual life.
The Imitation of Christ is a handbook for the spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, which Thomas followed. The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read Christian devotional work after the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic. The book was written anonymously in Latin in the Netherlands c. 1418–1427. Its popularity was immediate, and after the first printed edition in 1471–2, it was printed in 745 editions before 1650. Apart from the Bible, no book had been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ at the time.
Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380 – 25 July 1471) was a German-Dutch canon regular of the late medieval period and the author of The Imitation of Christ, published anonymously in Latin in the Netherlands c. 1418–1427, one of the most popular and best known Christian devotional books. His name means “Thomas of Kempen”, Kempen being his hometown.
He was a member of the Modern Devotion, a spiritual movement during the late medieval period, and a follower of Geert Groote and Florens Radewyns, the founders of the Brethren of the Common Life.
Kempis’s 1441 autograph manuscript of The Imitation of Christ is available in the Bibliothèque Royale in Brussels (shelfmark: MS 5455-61).
He also wrote the biographies of New Devotion members—Gerard Groote, Floris Radewijns, Jan van de Gronde, and Jan Brinckerinck. His important works include a series of sermons to the novices of St. Augustine Monastery, including Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ, Meditations on the Incarnation of Christ, Of True Compunction of Heart, Soliloquy of the Soul, Garden of Roses, Valley of Lilies, and a Life of St. Lidwina of Schiedam.
The Brethren of the Common Life (Latin: Fratres Vitae Communis, FVC) was a Roman Catholic pietist religious community founded in the Netherlands in the 14th century by Gerard Groote, formerly a successful and worldly educator who had had a religious experience and preached a life of simple devotion to Jesus Christ. They believed that Christianity should be practiced not only in formal religious settings, but also in everyday life, and they sought to promote a practical spirituality that emphasized personal piety and devotion. Without taking up irrevocable vows, the Brethren banded together in communities, giving up their worldly goods to live chaste and strictly regulated lives in common houses, devoting every waking hour to attending divine service, reading and preaching of sermons, labouring productively, and taking meals in common that were accompanied by the reading aloud of Scripture: “judged from the ascetic discipline and intention of this life, it had few features which distinguished it from life in a monastery”, observes Hans Baron.
The Brethren of the Common Life were an important religious movement of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and their emphasis on education, personal piety, and social justice had a profound influence on the religious and intellectual culture of Europe.
Gerard Groote (October 1340 – 20 August 1384), otherwise Gerrit or Gerhard Groet, in Latin Gerardus Magnus, was a Dutch Catholic deacon, who was a popular preacher and the founder of the Brethren of the Common Life. He was a key figure in the Devotio Moderna movement.
Devotio Moderna (lit., Modern Devotion) was a movement for religious reform, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience, and simplicity of life. It began in the late 14th-century, largely through the work of Gerard Groote, and flourished in the Low Countries and Germany in the 15th century, but came to an end with the Protestant Reformation. It is most known today through its influence on Thomas à Kempis, the author of The Imitation of Christ, a book which has proved highly influential for centuries.
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