An assoc. of pious priests and laymen founded by Gerhard Groot(e)* of Deventer (Neth.) and Florentius* Radewijns (1350 to 1400). The Sisters of the Common Life, together with two cloisters for regular canons (see Clergy). were founded soon afterwards. The theol. of the Brethren of the Common Life was that of practical mysticism;* their object, the furtherance of piety; their occupation, the study of Scripture, copying and circulating useful books, manual labor, preaching, and popular educ. Their organization was monastic, but without lifelong vows. Their spreading of the Scriptures and piety (commended by Luther) exerted a wholesome influence; but, emphasizing Christ in us to the virtual exclusion of Christ for us, they were unable to effect a real Reformation. See also Gerhard of Zutphen; Luther, Martin, 2; Thomas à Kempis.
A. Hyma, Brethren of the Common Life (Grand Rapids, 1950).
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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