Thomas à Kempis (kĕmˈpĭs) [key], b. 1379 or 1380, d. 1471, German monk, traditional author of The Imitation of Christ, b. Kempen, Germany. He was schooled at Deventer, in the Netherlands, the center of the Brothers of the Common Life founded by Gerard Groote. He joined the Augustinian canons (1399) and was ordained a priest (c.1413). His convent was Mt. St. Agnes, near Zwolle, in the Netherlands. Thomas worked principally at copying and writing. A number of his treatises on the monastic life and little devotional essays have been translated into English. The great devotional work The Imitation of Christ (c.1427) has traditionally been ascribed to him, although some scholars have contested his authorship. See Imitation of Christ, The.
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