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Thomas A. Kempis
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Religious Figure
    (circa 1380-July 25, 1471)
    Born in Kempen, Germany
    Birth name was Thomas Haemerken
    Catholic monk and mystic
    Wrote 'The Imitation of Christ' (circa 1418)
    Also wrote 'Sermons to Novices,' 'Sermons to Monks,' 'The Soul's Soliloquy,' 'The Life of the Good Monk' and 'A Manual of Doctrine for the Young'
    He briefly handled the monastery's finances until he was removed from the post for his absentmindedness and for being too 'simple in worldly affairs.'
    'The Imitation of Christ' was published anonymously and some scholars have challenged his authorship of it.
    He was reportedly denied canonization because when he was exhumed, scratch marks were found on the lid of his coffin, leading to the conclusion that he had been buried alive and failed to accept his fate with saint-like equanimity.
    The 'he isn't a saint because he reacted badly to being buried alive' story is also told about John Duns Scotus, suggesting that either prematural burial was a major occupational hazard for medieval theologians or the same urban legend was attached to both figures.
    The vast majority of scholars concluded he wrote 'Imitation of Christ.'
    Thomas More said 'Imitation of Christ' was one of the three books everyone ought to own and John Wesley called it the best summary of the Christian life he had ever read.

Credit: C. Fishel


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