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THOMAS A. KEMPIS (c. 1380 - 25 July 1471) Thomas was born at the Lower Rhine town of Kempen, Germany, in the sovereign Prince-Archbishopric of Cologne. His father John was a blacksmith and his mother Gertrude was a schoolmistress. In 1392, while attending a noted Latin school, Thomas encountered the Brethren of the Common Life, followers of Gerard Groote's Modern Devotion. He became a prolific copyist and writer. Thomas spent his time between devotional exercises, composition, and copying. He copied the Bible no fewer than four times, one of the copies being preserved at Darmstadt, Germany in five volumes. In its teachings he was widely read and his works abound in Biblical quotations, especially from the New Testament.