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AN EDITION IN MINIATURE

Imitatio Christi.
Cologne: Cornelius ab Egmond, 1647.

Despite its small size, the engraved frontispiece for this miniature edition of 1647 carries a profound message: Christ bears his cross up the hill on which he will be crucified, followed by seventeenth-century men and women who do likewise. This accords with the author’s repetition of Christ’s admonition to his followers to take up their own crosses and to follow him (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 14:27). This Latin edition was based directly on the author’s Brussels manuscript of the Imitatio Christi. The text was prepared by Heribert Rosweyde (1569–1629), a Flemish Jesuit who inspired a group of colleagues, the Bollandists, to seek out and publish the most authoritative hagiographical texts found in monastic libraries.