The 'Modern Devotion' appears in nearly every textbook account of medieval spirituality as the characteristic expression of later medieval religious life. One written testimony to this 'Modern Devotion', The Imatation of Christ', was to prove the single most influential devotional book in the history of Western Christianity. Yet apart from the Imitation itself, the spiritual works that taught this 'New Devotion' have rarely been translated into English and have never been gathered in a single place. With the publication of this volume, Van Engen has made available the essential sources of the devotional movement that later medieval people looked upon as 'modern' or 'new'.
Themovement originated with a Dutchman of patrician stock, Master Geert Grote, and was carried forward in communities that came to be known as the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life. Eventually they acquired counterparts in oders, the regular canons and canonesses of the Windesheim Congregation. This volume contains several works by the founder himself, Geert Grote, as well as representative lives of the Brothers and Sisters, translated for the first time from Latin and medieval Duthch. To illustrate the range of spiritual teaching these communities developed, Van Engen has chosen to translate works from several generes. Finally, Van Engen offers a modern translation of Gerard Zerbolt of Zutphen's Spiritual Ascensions as a kind of religious summation of the entire movement. Though little is know today, it proved the single most widely read work inside the movement itself.