Seminary Dean Releases New Edition of “Most Read” Book

Dr. Paul W. Chilcote, Ashland University professor of historical theology & Wesleyan studies and academic dean of Ashland Theological Seminary

8/28/12 ASHLAND, Ohio - Dr. Paul W. Chilcote, Ashland University professor of historical theology & Wesleyan studies and academic dean of Ashland Theological Seminary, has released a new edition of “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis. Next to the Bible, this work is the most widely read devotional work within the Christian community.

“It focuses the contemporary God-seeker on a religion of the heart—a vital connection with God in our innermost being,” Chilcote said. “It advocates the cultivation of virtues, like humility and purity of intention, by inviting the spirit of Jesus to dwell richly in our lives. It emphasizes the need to translate that life of love into daily action.”

Chilcote’s new edition provides a modern English translation of these meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus in a way that is accessible to the contemporary reader. His substantive introduction and facing-page commentary place the work in its original context; clarify the text’s roots in the Bible, the early Church, and medieval mysticism; and explain its influence—spanning 500 years—on spiritual luminaries from saints to popes and its continuing significance today.

The book was published by SkyLight Paths Publishing, which seeks to create resources from different spiritual traditions that both challenge and inspire. With nearly 50 titles to its credit, the SkyLight Illumination Series, in which this book is published, offers today’s spiritual seeker an enjoyable entry into great classic texts.

According to United Methodist bishop Rueben Job, “This new translation and commentary is robust enough for the serious scholar and yet accessible to the hesitant seeker. It should be in the hands of all who desire to build or maintain a vital connection with God. This book will stay on my desk with other treasured devotional classics.”

Chilcote joined the Ashland University community as a professor at the Seminary in the summer of 2008, having served as visiting professor of evangelism at Duke Divinity School. Prior to that, he helped to establish two new seminaries, one in Zimbabwe, Africa, and the other in Orlando, Fla. He has been involved in theological education on three continents and was appointed Academic Dean of the Seminary June 1 of this year. This is Dr. Chilcote’s 18th book.

Ashland Theological Seminary is a graduate division of Ashland University. With campuses in Ashland, Detroit, Cleveland and Columbus, Ashland Theological Seminary integrates theological education with Christ-centered transformation as it equips men and women for ministry in the church and the world.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.