Thomas à Kempis

Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471) was a medieval Dutch monk steeped in the mystical tradition of his time. A member of the Brothers of the Common Life, he was ordained a priest in 1413. His well-loved work, The Imitation of Christ, was written between 1420 and 1427 presumably as four booklets intended to instruct the novices of his community. It is one of Christian history’s best-known works on spiritual devotion. This small book sidesteps academic pretension to consider larger truths. “A poor peasant who serves God,” Thomas wrote, “is better than a proud philosopher who . . . ponders the courses of the stars.”

Books by Thomas à Kempis