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The Imitation of Christ: A Spiritual Commentary and Reader's Guide Paperback – July 1, 2005
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About the Author
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.”
Father Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., is a teacher, writer, and poet. Ordained a Redemptorist priest in 1980, he taught the history of moral theology and Christian spirituality at the Alphonsian Academy of Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University for more than twenty years, reaching the rank of Ordinary Professor. In 2008 he was installed as the John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology as a scholar-in-residence at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He also serves as the Karl Rahner Professor of Catholic Theology at the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana. Raised in Staten Island, New York, and educated there through high school in local Catholic schools, he graduated from Dartmouth College and went on to receive four master's degrees, as well as doctorates from Harvard University, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, and the Graduate Theological Foundation. Billy is the author of numerous books and articles, both popular and scholarly.
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I was very pleased to see these new leather zip-cover versions, as I've gone through a couple soft cover versions with daily wear and tear, in and out of the backpack, etc. There are two versions in these similar covers, two different translations by two seperate publishers. The one pictured here is my personal favorite, published by TAN, it is the same trusted and true old translation that is found in the beloved old 'Confraternity of the Precious Blood' versions.... that familiar little blue soft-covered version with stunning b&w detailed pictures to meditate upon as you read. This version was originally translated from Latin by Richard Challoner D.D., and is more true to the original translation. Though it is written in an older style of proper English, it is easy enough for most people to comprehend, and the older writing style has much artistic, poetic charm that is often times lost in some of the newer 'up-to-date' English translations. Remember, this is the second most translated and published book in history next to the Holy Bible! The other new leather zip-cover version available now looks nearly identical to this, but rather than a Cross on the front cover, it has a 'Chi Ro' design and omits the authors' name. This version, equally impressive, is put out by the Catholic Book Publishing Co., and is the same translation (edited by Clare L.Fitzpatrick) that is available in the small red hardcover version that is quite popular by the same publisher. This too is an excellent version, but the translation is much more modern and more readable by the everyday layperson, or anyone who wishes to hear this timeless wisdom in a more easily accessible version without the 'thee's, thou's, and shall's" of the aforementioned version. It's personal preference, example...
first line of the TAN version = "He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness," ..... as opposed to the CBPC's version, "No one who follows Me will ever walk in darkness." (John 8:12).
~But, to be truly enlightened and touched by these timeless words of wisdom of the Spiritual Life, I reccommend buying both versions, and absorbing both as to get a better understanding of these holy and guiding words. There are those who may say that A' Kempis's writings are 'not for everyone', as most of his writings were written to give guidance to the young novitiates of his monastic order where he served as Novice Master for a time, but please do not let that turn you away from the holy and life changing power of his spiritually uplifting direction that still speaks to many today. If you have any call to any form of holiness, or just want to enhance and reinvigorate your daily spiritual life, there is no way that you can go wrong with Thomas A 'Kempis and this, his most well known and loved body of work.
Happy I bought it.
Also important to note: no table of contents or page numbers were printed in my copy. This wasn't a huge deal for me, since I can number pages and write out my own table of contents, but given the other issue, I'm thinking it might be some type of random printing error.
Don't read this book if you don't want to be convicted because every page is dripping with truth.
Is it possible for there to be too much truth in a book outside of the bible? Maybe. There was just so much packed in here that I felt I had to swallow a steak whole instead of taking little bites.
It's a long read but I feel well worth it.