Item description for The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis & Ronald Knox ...
Overview Thomas a Kempis' masterpiece, completed in 1427, shows the way by which the faithful may follow Christ's teachings.
Publishers Description 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.
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More About Thomas A. Kempis & Ronald Knox
Thomas a Kempis (ca. 1380-1471) was an Augustinian monk in the Netherlands during the pre-Reformation period. Carl Anderson is the Supreme Knight and chief executive officer of the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic fraternal service organization with more than 1.7 million members. He is the author of "Called to Love, " "Our Lady of Guadalupe, " and the "New York Times" bestseller" A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World.""
Thomas A. Kempis was born in 1380 and died in 1471.
Thomas A. Kempis has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Imitation of Christ?
A MUST for all Christians!! Mar 29, 2007
What a great, timeless classic. This has become a fabulous guide for our family to help us become more Christ-like! Check out "The Imitation of Christ for Children" by Elizabeth Ficocelli for the children, too!
Listening with the Heart Jan 11, 2007
"Want to know the best advice I ever heard?" asked Larry King, in an interview published today in Canada's National Post newspaper: "I never learned ANYTHING while I was talking." 50 years experience at the interviewer's microphone and Larry's best advice comes down to one word. "Listen!"
Coincidentally (or maybe not!) I picked up this just-received book, sent to me by a dear friend who recalled my reviewing an earlier published edition of this same "Ronald Knox translation." And it literally it fell open to these words,
"By all means ask questions, but LISTEN to what holy writers have to tell you . . . often enough, (when we hear) Holy Scripture, we are distracted by mere curiosity; we want to seize upon some point and argue about it, when we ought to (listen) and move on."
I flipped open "The Imitation" just now and my eyes (lately fixated on my newest pride and joy were these: (p 32 under the heading, "ABOUT SELF-CONFIDENCE, AND HOW TO GET RID OF SELF-CONCEIT")
"It is nonsense to depend for your happiness on created things (and) why all this self-importance? Do not boast of riches, if you happen to possess them . . . nor about the important friends you have; boast rather of God's friendship.
"Do not give yourself airs, if you have physical strength or beauty; it only takes a spell of illness to waste the one, or mar the other. Do not be self-satisfied about your own skill or cleverness; God is hard to satisfy, and it is from him that they come, all these gifts of nature.
"He reads our thoughts, and will only think the worse of you, if you think yourself better than other people. Even your good actions must not be a source of pride to you: If you have any good qualities to show for yourself, credit your neighbor with even better qualities: that is the way to be humble.
"To be humble is to enjoy undisturbed peace of mind, while the proud heart is swept with gusts of envy and resentment."
Seven years ago (on my birthday actually) I wrote my very first review for this site.com -- for an earlier re-print of this same translation. This latest version, from Ignatius Press of San Francisco, is far-and-away the most beautiful and features cover art by Andrea Solario (1480-1540) from the "Galleria Borghese, Rome" -- painted about a century after Thomas a Kempis produced his "Imitation." Inside artwork includes some marvelous, same-period woodcuts by Albrecht Durer.
In his (2005) FOREWARD to this new edition, psychologist and priest Benedict Groeschel (seen by millions on his "Sunday Night Live" TV show on EWTN) recalls stealing his first copy of the "Imitation" from the public library in his Caldwell NJ hometown - slipping it into his schoolbag intending to return it "to its rightful place on the shelf, in two weeks time, the ordinary period for a book loan in those days."
"The title suggested to my 12-year-old mind that this must be a story about someone who pretended to be Jesus. I went and sat by a window . . . the spring sun (shining) on the oak table, I can still see my blue-sweatered arm around the book as I began to read:
"'Vanity of Vanities - all is vanity except to love God and serve him alone.' At that moment I was electrified, and I sat there reading page after page . . . . for two hours, mesmerized by the book!"
As for the translation? Is it really the best-ever? I stand by my thoughts of seven years ago:
"I have several translations of the Imitation but I keep coming back to this one. I believe many readers will find this translation 'flows' better than the others, written as it is in a warm, gentle and accessible style by a master translator and communicator, Monsignor Ronald Knox. A convert to Catholicism who produced an acclaimed Latin-to-English translation of the Bible, Knox completed the first 30 or so chapters of the Imitation before his death in 1957. He wrote to Michael Oakley, two months before his passing: "If I die without finishing my translation, please tell my executors that you are to finish it." The younger Latin scholar did a splendid, seamless job of completing Knox's superb translation of what was--until this century--the second most widely read book in the world. What a delight that this version is once again available, [50 years] after its first publication. If you purchase only one copy of the Imitation in your lifetime, make it this one."
And now for something different.... Nov 4, 2006
Going into the details of questions of authorship (did Thomas a Kempis actually write this, or did he translate it, et cetera) is not quite as important to me as the import of the message and how it is phrased.
The Imitation of Christ is essentially a minor treatise, but a better and more helpful description might be personal record and observance, on how to realize the Christ within. It has the conversational style, rendered in lovely prose by Knox (and for the sections left uncompleted after his death, Oakley), which can successfully draw the reader into a conversation with the author about his own spiritual and personal development.
It is not like reading the Beattitudes or the Ten Commandments, where instructions or broad pronouncements are supposed to be self-evidently obvious to the reader, who is assumed to be earnest in his quest for understanding. Instead, it is like discussing one's personal life, one's very serious doubts and concerns about one's conduct and inner life with an ardent, energetic and thoughtful monk.
It is a book to ponder over and indeed, non-Christians and Christians, the areligious and religious, alike can benefit from actively thinking about some of the arguments Kempis makes about, say, criticizing others when so much work still needs to be done on oneself (nothing less than a pithy expatiation on casting the first stone!). Indeed, the first great modern proponent of Vedanta, Yoga, and Hinduism, Swami Vivekananda, said that while he loved and read many different works from all sorts of cultures, the two he always carried with him were the Bhagavad Gita and The Imitation of Christ. Quite an endorsement, considering that Protestants and Catholics alike have gained so much from it from all these centuries.
a spiritual classic Aug 5, 2006
I first read this book early in my spiritual journey. Then, a decade later I pulled it out and read it again. Each time it impacted me deeply, powerfully.
I find it amazing that a monk (the author might not have been Thomas a' Kempis, we don't know for sure) was able to write a book that has resonated with Christians and non-Christians, Protestants and Catholics, seekers and believers for more than 500 years.
Some people say it's the second best-selling book of all time (trailing only the Bible). I'm not sure. But I do know that it has helped a lot of people just like me discover how to follow and imitate the greatest person to ever live.