Devotio Moderna

Devotio Moderna

Devotio Moderna, or Modern Devotion, was a religious movement of the Late Middle Ages. It came into advocation at the same time as Christian Humanism, a meshing of Humanism and Christianity. Christian Humanism advocated studying the fundamental texts of Christianity to come to one's own relationship with God. The 15th century laity were able to study the scriptures by the advent of the printing press. With the ideals of Christian Humanism, Devotio Moderna recommended a more individual attitude towards belief and religion and was especially prominent in cities in the Low Countries during the 14th and 15th centuries. It is regarded sometimes as a contributing factor for Lutheranism and Calvinism. It was also a major influence upon Erasmus, who was brought up in this tradition. The origins of the movement are bound up with the career of Geert Groote of Deventer (Netherlands). From his work two kinds of communities formed, the Brethren of the Common Life, consisting mainly of laymen, as well as monasteries in the area of Windesheim near Zwolle.

The book The Imitation of Christ, written by Thomas a Kempis, a Brother of the Common Life, outlines the concepts of Modern Devotion, based on personal connection to God and the active showing of love towards Him (e.g., in the blessed sacrament of the altar or during mass).

See also


  • Spirituality renewed. Studies on significant representatives of the Modern Devotion. Edited by Hein Blommestijn, Charles Caspers and Rijcklof Hofman (Leuven: Peeters, 2003), (Studies in Spirituality Supplements, 10.) Pp. v+275 incl. 12 ills.
  • This movement has been referenced in the name of the Colorado rock band, Modern Devotion.

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