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Thomas a Kempis was born at Kempen near Dusseldorf in 1380. At thirteen he left the local grammar school to join his elder brother John, who had attached himself to the Congregation of the Common Life. In 1399 Thomas' mentor Florentius allowed him to travel to Zwolle to seek admission to the new monastery at Mount St Agnes. He was professed in 1406 and received the priesthood in 1413. Thomas wrote many other devotional works besides The Imitation of Christ, his masterpiece, as well as biographies of Gerald Groote and Florentius Radewyn. He died in 1471. The Very Revd Robert Jeffery was born in 1935 and ordained in 1959. He has written on matters of Church history, spirituality, mission and ecumenism. In 1978, he became Archdeacon of Salop, and was Dean of Worcester from 1987-96 and subsequently Canon and Sub-Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. He retired in 2002 and is an Hon Doctor of Divinity of Birmingham University. Max von Habsburg is the author of Catholic and Protestant Translations of the Imitatio Christi 1425-1650 (2011).
If a man tells you that he is fond of the Imitation, view him with sudden suspicion; he is either a dabbler or a saint...Heaven help us if we find easy reading in the Imitation of Christ -- Ronald Knox None, I believe, except the Bible, has been so universally read and loved by Christians of all tongues and sects -- Thomas Carlyle The most influential devotional book in Western Christian history -- Professor John van Engen