Synopses & Reviews
Purchase one of 1st World Library's Classic Books and help support our free internet library of downloadable eBooks. Visit us online at www.1stWorldLibrary.ORG - - 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. Manuscripts of the Latin version survive in considerable numbers all over Western Europe, and they, with the vast list of translations and of printed editions, testify to its almost unparalleled popularity. One scribe attributes it to St. Bernard of Clairvaux; but the fact that it contains a quotation from St. Francis of Assisi, who was born thirty years after the death of St. Bernard, disposes of this theory. In England there exist many manuscripts of the first three books, called Musica Ecclesiastica, frequently ascribed to the English mystic Walter Hilton. But Hilton seems to have died in 1395, and there is no evidence of the existence of the work before 1400. Many manuscripts scattered throughout Europe ascribe the book to Jean le Charlier de Gerson, the great Chancellor of the University of Paris, who was a leading figure in the Church in the earlier part of the fifteenth century. The most probable author, however, especially when the internal evidence is considered, is Thomas Haemmerlein, known also as Thomas a Kempis, from his native town of Kempen, near the Rhine, about forty miles north of Cologne.
The spiritual classic by a Kempis, the second most widely read spiritual book after the Bible, has had an astonishing impact on the spiritual lives of countless saints, peasants, and popes for centuries. Even today, the soul-searching words of the fifteenth-century cleric Thomas a Kempis continue to resonate, unbounded by time or geography. Drawing on the Bible, the Fathers of the early Church and medieval mysticism, his four-part treatise shrugs off the allure of the material world, blending beauty and bluntness in a supremely spiritual call-to-arms.
This beautiful translation by Ronald Knox and Michael Oakley is considered by many teachers, writers, and readers to be the best English translation ever, and one that greatly enhances the life-changing insights of Thomas a Kempis. Illustrated.
"If we could construct a composite picture of all great Christians--Catholic or non-Catholic--of the last five hundred years who found The Imitation substantially beneficial, enlightening, and inspiring, we would need no further proof that familiarity with this great classic is an integral part of a mature spiritual life and even a path to holiness."
--Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R., Author, Arise From Darkness
The treatise "Of the Imitation of Christ" appears to have been originally written in Latin early in the 15th century. Its exact date and its authorship are still a matter of debate, however the most probable author is Thomas Haemmerlein, known also as Thomas a Kempis.