Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Imitation of Christ.

Several years back, I located and downloaded a copy of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis in pdf format. I can't recall exactly where I found it - though anyone looking for a pdf copy can go here. I'm not a fan of reading pdfs on a PC, so I printed the 114 page document.

The book is one that needs to be read regularly. I don't suppose one could read it too many times.
After receiving a Kindle for my birthday, I wanted to put a copy of the book in the Kindle. Amazon.com says the Kindle can read pdfs, but, frankly, I didn't care for the way the pdfs looked when one was downloaded onto the device.

I went looking for a copy the book formatted as mobi..; easy enough by going to Project Gutenberg. After downloading the file, I uploaded it to Kindle and I've been rereading it.

There is a minor problem with this version; this work, translated by Rev. William Benham uses archaic English. From the first book, chapter one :

"Of the imitation of Christ, and of contempt of the world and all its vanities

He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,saith the Lord. These are the words of Christ; and they teach us how far we must imitate His life and character, if we seek true illumination, and deliverance from all blindness of heart. Let it be our most earnest study, therefore, to dwell upon the life of Jesus Christ.

His teaching surpasseth all teaching of holy men, and such as have His Spirit find therein the hidden manna.But there are many who, though they frequently hear the Gospel, yet feel but little longing after it, because they have not the mind of Christ. He, therefore, that will fully and with true wisdom understand the words of Christ, let him strive to conform his whole life to that mind of Christ.

What doth it profit thee to enter into deep discussion concerning the Holy Trinity, if thou lack humility, and be thus displeasing to the Trinity? For verily it is not deep words that make a man holy and upright; it is a good life which maketh a man dear to God. I had rather feel contrition than be skilful in the definition thereof. If thou knewest the whole Bible, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what should all this profit thee without the love and grace of God? Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, save to love God, and Him only to serve. That is the highest wisdom, to cast the world behind us, and to reach forward to the heavenly kingdom.

Reading a book filled with words like "followeth", "surpasseth" and "knewest" can get a bit tedious.

My pdf copy was a different translation - by Aloysius Croft and Harold Bolton - where, thankfully, "followeth" becomes "follows" and "surpasseth" becomes "surpasses". After a Google search, I found a website ( online-convert.com ) that will convert pdfs to mobi........free.

Free is good.

I'm 25% thru with Benham's translation. I'll finish it, I suppose; no point in changing horses in mid stream. At least, I'll have another version for the Kindle next time I read the book.

1 comment:

Al said...

As I am not home when typing this,I am not sure what translation I have been using for the past few years, but it doesn't have all the archaic language. I have worked my way through it several times reading a page or 2 a day at a time. & even after the many times I've been through it, there is still plenty to glean.
I should add that people need to be sure it is a Catholic edition. Some years ago the book started gaining popularity with protestants & Moody put out an editted version that cuts out anything that is distinctly Catholic. The section on the Eucharist had a disclaimer saying the author didn't mean the catholic meaning.