Thomas à Kempis


Thomas à Kempis
Thomas à Kempis
Born 1380
Kempen, Germany
Died 25 July 1471
Zwolle, Netherlands
Nationality German
Other names Thomas von Kempen
Thomas Haemerkken
Thomas Hammerlein
Thomas Hemerken
Thomas Hämerken
Occupation monk
Known for The Imitation of Christ
Monument on Mount Saint Agnes in Zwolle "Here lived Thomas van Kempen in the service of the Lord and wrote On the Imitation of Christ, 1406–1471"
The reliquary with the relics of Thomas à Kempis
Thomas à Kempis on Mount Saint Agnes - (1569)

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380 – 25 July 1471) was a late Medieval Catholic monk and the probable author of The Imitation of Christ, which is one of the best known Christian books on devotion. His name means, "Thomas of Kempen", his home town and in German he is known as Thomas von Kempen. He also is known by various spellings of his family name: Thomas Haemerkken; Thomas Hammerlein; Thomas Hemerken, and Thomas Hämerken.

Contents

Life

He was born at the Lower Rhine region in Kempen, Germany, County of Cleves ca.1380.[1] His paternal name was Hemerken, Kleverlandish for little hammer. His father John was a blacksmith and his mother, Gertrude was a school-mistress.[1]

In 1392 he followed his brother, Jan, to Deventer, Netherlands in order to attend the city school. While attending school in Deventer, Thomas encountered the Brethren of the Common Life, followers of Gerard Groote's Modern Devotion. He attended school in Deventer from 1392 to 1399.[1]

After leaving school, Thomas traveled to Zwolle, Netherlands to visit his brother again, after Jan had become the prior of the Mount St. Agnes monastery. Thereafter, Thomas was invested at the Mount St. Agnes monastery in 1406. He did not become ordained as a priest, however, until almost a decade later. He became a prolific copyist and writer. Thomas received priest's orders in 1413 and was made sub-prior of the monastery in 1429.

The monastery was disturbed for a time because of the pope's rejection of the bishop-elect of Utrecht, Rudolf van Diepholt; otherwise, Thomas's life was a quiet one, his time being spent 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.

Kempis died in 1471 near Zwolle in the Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht, seventy-five miles north of his birthplace.

Works

Thomas à Kempis was a copyist and writer. Kempis copied two Bibles, each in ten volumes. Kempis wrote the biographies of New Devotion members—Gerard Groote, Florens Randewijns, John van de Gronde, and John Brinckerinck.[2] His important works include a series of sermons to the novices of St.Augustine monastery, including Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ, Meditations on the Incarnation of Christ, Of True Compunction of Heart, Soliloquy of the Soul, Garden of Roses, Valley of Lilies, and a Life[3] of St. Lidwina of Schiedam. Kempis's 1441 autograph manuscript of The Imitation of Christ is available in the Bibliothèque Royale in Brussels(catalog : MS 5455-61).[2]

Quotations

The following quotes are attributed to him:

"Without the Way,
there is no going,
Without the Truth,
there is no knowing,
Without the Life,
there is no living."
"If thou wilt receive profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faith, and seek not at any time the fame of being learned."
"At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done."
The Imitation of Christ, Book I, ch. 3
"For man proposes, but God disposes"
The Imitation of Christ, Book I, ch. 19
"If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him. "
The Imitation of Christ, Book II, ch. 7
"In angello cum libello" (with slight variations), "In a little corner with a little book"
— Shortened form of a motto often ascribed to, or associated with, Thomas a Kempis. The complete saying as reported by an early biographer is a mixture of Latin and Dutch and runs as follows: "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, sed non inveni, nisi in hoexkens ende boexkens", "I have sought everywhere for peace, but I have found it not save in a little nook and in a little book."[4]

Veneration

A monument was dedicated to his memory in the presence of the archbishop of Utrecht in St. Michael's Church, Zwolle, on November 11, 1897. Because of the closing of this church, in 2006 his shrine was moved to a historical church in the centre of Zwolle.

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Notes

  1. ^ a b c Kempis (2004). On the Passion of Christ according to the four evangelists. Ignatius Press,. pp. 9–12. http://books.google.com/books?id=1Z-UcOVsLhYC&lpg=PA11&pg=PA9#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  2. ^ a b William C. Creasy (2007). "Introduction". The Imitation of Christ. Mercer University Press. pp. xix-xx. 
  3. ^ Vita Lidewigis
  4. ^ See F.A. Wright & T.A. Sinclair, A history of later Latin literature (1931), p. 361 ([1]). Franciscus Tolensis, Vita Thomae a Kempis, 12: "Ostenditur adhuc ejus effigies, sed admodum deformata poenèque obliterata, cum hoc insigni symbolo, In omnibus requiem quaesivi, sed non inveni, nisi in hoexkens ende boexkens: Hoc est, in abditis recessibus & libellulis." (Thomae a Kempis opera omnia, ed. Henricus Sommalius, 1759 edition, I, p. 29 ([2]))

References

  • This article incorporates Public Domain material from the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. VI: Innocents — Liudger, Schaff, Philip.
  • Thomas à Kempis (2007), The Imitation of Christ, Filiquarian, ISBN 1-59986-979-9 
  • Thomas à Kempis (2005), The Imitation of Christ: A Spiritual Commentary and Reader's Guide, Ave Maria Press, ISBN 0-87061-234-4 
  • Thomas à Kempis (1989), William C. Creasy, ed., The Imitation of Christ, Mercer University Press, ISBN 0-86554-339-9 
  • Thomas à Kempis (1955), Harold C. Gardner, S.J., ed., The Imitation of Christ, Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-375-70018-7 

External links



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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Thomas à Kempis — • Author of the Imitation of Christ , born at Kempen in the Diocese of Cologne, in 1379 or 1380; died 25 July, 1471 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Thomas a Kempis     Thomas à Kempis …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Thomas A Kempis — Pour les articles homonymes, voir a Kempis. Thomas a Kempis Thomas a Kempis (1380 1471) est un moine chrétie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas a kempis — Pour les articles homonymes, voir a Kempis. Thomas a Kempis Thomas a Kempis (1380 1471) est un moine chrétie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas a Kempis — Thomas von Kempen, zeitgenössische Darstellung Thomas von Kempen, lat. Thomas a Kempis (* um 1380 in Kempen als Thomas Hemerken [Hämmerlein]; † 25. Juli 1471 im Kloster Agnetenberg bei Zwolle, Niederlande) war ein Augustiner Mönch und Mystiker… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas à Kempis — Thomas von Kempen, zeitgenössische Darstellung Thomas von Kempen, lat. Thomas a Kempis (* um 1380 in Kempen als Thomas Hemerken [Hämmerlein]; † 25. Juli 1471 im Kloster Agnetenberg bei Zwolle, Niederlande) war ein Augustiner Mönch und Mystiker… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • THOMAS A KEMPIS — THOMAS HEMERKEN dit (1379 env. 1471) Né en 1379 ou 1380 à Kempen en Rhénanie (d’où lui vient son surnom «a Kempis»), Thomas Hemerken rejoint son frère Jean, en 1393, chez les Frères de la vie commune à Deventer, où il commence par suivre des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Thomas à Kempis — see KEMPIS Thomas à …   English World dictionary

  • Thomas a Kempis — Thomas a Kempis, s. Thomas von Kempen …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Thomas a Kempis — d.h. von Kempen, latinisirter Name des Thomas Hämerken (Hemerken, Hämmerchen), des Verfassers der seit dem Jahr 1500 in zahllosen Uebersetzungen und Exemplaren verbreiteten »vier Bücher von der Nachfolge Christi«; wahrscheinlich 1379 zu Kempen im …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • THOMAS a Kempis — Canonicus Regular. Ordin. S. Augustin. in dioecesi Coloniensi, floruit saeculô 15. Opera eius 3. Volumin. prodierunt, Duaci, Antverpiae, etc. Inter quae praecipuum est, de Imitatione Christi: Reliqua sunt, Soliloquia Animae, Hortulus rosarum,… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale


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