The late Middle Ages have often been described as a time of general moral and ethical decline, and especially as a time of anti-clericalism, hence also of widespread secularization, which ultimately led, as a counter-reaction, to the Protestant Reformation in 1517. In reality, however, there were many religious reform movements underway already since the late fourteenth century, most famously the

Devotio moderna

, initiated and deeply influenced by Jan van Ruysbroeck (1293-1381), Geert Groote (1340-1384) and Thomas a Kempis, who all aimed for a new form of spiritual, individualized piety, closely related to, but not to be confused with, medieval mysticism. They insisted on a simple life style (

simplicitas Christianismi

) and a passionate dedication to Christ. Groote formed a circle of…

1445 words

Citation: Classen, Albrecht. "Thomas à Kempis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 January 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2, accessed 17 April 2024.]

2 Thomas à Kempis 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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