Friday, April 07, 2017

Books read in 2017: No. 11 -- The Imitation of Christ

by Thomas A Kempis

translated by Rev. William Benham

Started: March 19
Finished: April 7

Notes: Originally written in Latin in the 1400s, this here is a 1905 translation. Apparently there is some debate about the true author, but generally a German monk known as Kempis is considered to be that author. Though I'd never heard of this book, apparently it was quite popular throughout the last handful of hundreds of years, especially in Catholic circles. Here's to finding out what it's all about.

Mini review: While nearly all of this material would be familiar to those who know their Bible, it is the sheer weight, the force, the seemingly never-ending barrage of the subject here that to some extent damns it in the eyes of a modern audience. Most of this can be boiled down to, "we are not worthy." The rest of it is basically, "worship God." To a reader of the Middle Ages or even the early Renaissance, this might have been old hat, but I'd have to believe many would still tire of its ongoing woefulness. To the modern ear, it reads as rather pleadingly pathetic, at least to some extent. However, in fairness, one has to keep in mind when this was written and, if possible, by whom. Also, again in fairness, I don't believe most Christians today would necessarily have a problem with the subject matter itself, just the extent to which it is taken.


Charles Gramlich said...

Some folks still today love to linger at masochistic length over suffering.

Ty said...

True enough. And some seem to want to make sure others suffer. Though not themselves, of course.