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The Imitation of Christ (Paraclete Essentials) Paperback – October 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Paraclete Essentials
  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155725608X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557256089
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (546 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,109,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

If you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Jesus.

The Imitation of Christ has enjoyed an unparalleled place in the world of books for more than five hundred years. 5000 different editions have been published over the centuries, and it has been translated into almost every language in the world. Thomas a Kempis was a late medieval Catholic monk, a simple man, who looked deeply into what it means to know God and have a relationship with Jesus. He wrote about humility, patience, simplicity, and persistence--virtues that are for every age.

" When I graduated from high school, my pastor gave me a book. The book I received as a gift was The Imitation of Christ. On the title page, he wrote: ' You will have a happy life by adhering to the wisdom in this book.' "

--Br. Benet Tvedten, from the Introduction

About the Author

Thomas a Kempis (ca.1380-1471) was a German monk and a practical mystic. His classic The Imitation of Christ has long been a favorite of Christians of all denominational backgrounds. It is said that Thomas's book has been the most read of any book other than the Bible.

Customer Reviews

An inspirational and beautifully written classic, translated into modern, easy to read language.
Bruce Wells
I have always wished that I could find one that was in hard-back, as well as leather bond that was excellent in quality and priced reasonably.
This book can only deepen the spiritual life of the Christian, especially the Christian who wishes to draw closer to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter Abelard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 182 people found the following review helpful By Mark Blackburn on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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, almost 40 years after its first publication. If you purchase only one copy of the Imitation in your lifetime, make it this one.
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117 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Mark Blackburn on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"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 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.
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142 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Adam C. Roberts on October 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a pastor I see so many people who are miserable. They are depressed, filled with worry and have so little joy in their lives. This book speaks specifically to those problems.
In a nutshell this book says that we are miserable because we are trying to find joy in other people and in other things and everything out there will fail us and let us down. The only thing that provides true happiness, peace and contentment is God. The Imitation of Christ goes through exercises on how we can detach ourselves from worldly things to focus on God. Once we are focused solely on God and have the faith that God will provide everything we need, then we can really enjoy the world around us. Enjoy it because once we receive true happiness from God we can see how beautiful the world is and enjoy it as the gift God created it to be, instead of something that we grab onto in the hopes that it will provide us our happiness and security.
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92 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on June 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm not a Christian but I have almost completed a minor in Christianity at the college I attend. I study Christianity because of my interest in European history. This book, written by a 15th century cloistered monk, is amazing for its strong use of language to convey how one should interact with God through Jesus. But even outside the sphere of religious thought, there are some good statements that could apply to everyday life, although Thomas would scoff at the idea that someone could do this independent of God. Consider the following short excerpts:
"It is only by patience and true humility that we can grow stronger than all our foes." --pg. 40
"For every bodily pleasure brings joy at first, but at length it bites and destroys." --pg. 52
"Alas, a long life often adds to our sins rather than to our virtue!" --pg. 58
These are just a few quotes from a book that has many memorable lines. Most of the book deals with how man should submit himself to Christ. The format Thomas uses is dialogue, between Christ and a disciple. Like Plato's use of dialogue, it is an effective means of getting his ideas across. Thomas even examines the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and concludes that only through pure thought and hard work at patience and humility can one be able to effectively use these sacraments to become one with Christ, and through him, God.
The only downfall I can see with this book is that it is aimed at the cloistered, or as Thomas calls them, the "Religious." Thomas sees the process of submitting to God as more then a full-time job. Because of this, most people would be shut out of union with Christ. But the book was written to help those in the monastery.
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