"...the Imagination (or love, or sympathy, or any other sentiment) induces knowledge, and knowledge of an 'object' which is proper to it..."
Henry Corbin (1903-1978) was a scholar, philosopher and theologian. He was a champion of the transformative power of the Imagination and of the transcendent reality of the individual in a world threatened by totalitarianisms of all kinds. One of the 20th century’s most prolific scholars of Islamic mysticism, Corbin was Professor of Islam & Islamic Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Teheran. He was a major figure at the Eranos Conferences in Switzerland. He introduced the concept of the mundus imaginalis into contemporary thought. His work has provided a foundation for archetypal psychology as developed by James Hillman and influenced countless poets and artists worldwide. But Corbin’s central project was to provide a framework for understanding the unity of the religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. His great work Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn ‘Arabi is a classic initiatory text of visionary spirituality that transcends the tragic divisions among the three great monotheisms. Corbin’s life was devoted to the struggle to free the religious imagination from fundamentalisms of every kind. His work marks a watershed in our understanding of the religions of the West and makes a profound contribution to the study of the place of the imagination in human life.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Esotericism and Cognitive Science





from The Heterodoxology Blog:

"The latest issue of Aries has just been published: A special issue on Esotericism and the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR), edited by Markus Altena Davidsen and myself. As we explain in our editorial, “What Cognitive Scienece Offers the Study of Esotericism”, Western esotericism and CSR have developed in parallel over the past couple of decades, each, in their own ways, pushing the academic study of religion into new territory. Given that esotericism is full of psychologically rich sources (from visions and trances to hidden correspondences and esoteric hermeneutic techniques), it seems that much could be gained from bringing these two fields together. My Occult Minds project has already been taking steps in this direction. The intention behind the Aries special issue, however, is to push this agenda in a collaborative way, by publishing articles on esoteric subject matter informed by a range recent theories of cognition, together with a response article by someone in the field of CSR. We were happy to get Jesper Sørensen in this role, a central figure in the “Aarhus school” who has worked on problems that are  directly relevant to esotericism." ... READ MORE



Friday, February 10, 2017

Fascist Traditionalists in the News


Corbin has sometimes been accused of coming from the same right-wing tradition as Julius Evola. Although he did have some elitist tendencies, and his political sensibilities were entirely undeveloped and naive, the whole tenor and intention of Corbin's ecumenical and inclusive work stands in stark opposition to the fundamentalism and ethnic supremacism of the "fascist Traditionalists" who used religion as justification for their vile political intentions.



By JASON HOROWITZ FEB. 10, 2017 NYTimes

ROME — Those trying to divine the roots of Stephen K. Bannon's dark and at times apocalyptic worldview have repeatedly combed over a speech that Mr. Bannon, President Trump's ideological guru, made in 2014 to a Vatican conference, where he expounded on Islam, populism and capitalism.
But for all the examination of those remarks, a passing reference by Mr. Bannon to an esoteric Italian philosopher has gone little noticed, except perhaps by scholars and followers of the deeply
taboo, Nazi-affiliated thinker, Julius Evola. "The fact that Bannon even knows Evola is significant," said Mark Sedgwick, a leading scholar of Traditionalists at Aarhus University in Denmark.... READ MORE


Sedgwick has a relevant post on Corbin etc HERE



Friday, February 3, 2017

Imaginal Love






If a butterfly in Brazil can change the weather of the Americas and by extension the world (and even if it cannot), the great hope animating this fine book is that the sheer beauty of thought can transform the beleaguered weather of our human conditon. Such courage is exemplary and inspiring. And real. In addition, the reader of Imaginal Love will get a clear picture of the profound and productive, yet complex, relation between Hillman and Corbin and gain an appreciation for the latter’s influence on the more purely artistic milieux of the later 20th century North American scene. Beautifully written, Cheetham's book gives us a taste for the sacramental value of metaphor and therefore transformation: a splendid reading experience. - Todd Lawson, Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies, University of Toronto






Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Philosophy in Islam: The Concept of Shiʿism as a Philosophical Genre
Abstract
ABSTRACT:
It has been recently argued that there are problems in identifying Islamic philosophy with Shiʿism. This is despite the fact that many Islamic philosophers were actually Shiʿi. An interesting and connected question is whether there is such a thing as Shiʿi philosophy, and many commentators use this term. It looks plausible that a particular theological and religious orientation would be reflected in philosophy. After all, all these views are theoretical and abstract and need to be connected logically, so it would seem likely that they would all be aligned in some way. However, there are problems with such a view, and these rest on two main points. Firstly, theology does not necessarily bring along with it a metaphysics, and so different theological views may be linked with contrary or similar philosophical approaches. To give an example, both Mullā Ṣadrā and Mīr Dāmād were philosophers, and both were Shiʿi, yet they defended entirely different ontologies. Secondly, theology does not necessarily involve a particular style of writing. Some theologians are interested in writing in such a way that only those sympathetic to them understand what they are saying, but many are not. Some direct their work to a particular audience while others seek to address a more general audience. In fact, Shiʿi philosophers often make sure that there is nothing Shiʿi about their work since they want to resonate with the Islamic world as a whole, not only the Shiʿi minority. If we look at a range of Shiʿi philosophers, it will be argued that it is difficult to detect a specific theological line that they embody in their philosophies, and so we should be careful about using the concept of Shiʿi philosophy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Imaginal World and Modern Oblivion: Kiarostami’s Zig-Zag by Joan Copjec



The Imaginal World and Modern Oblivion: Kiarostami’s Zig-Zag

Joan Copjec

Filozofski vestnik | Volume XXXVII | Number 2 | 2016 | 21–58



A zigzag path carved into a hill winds from base to crest, where it is crowned by a lushly-leafed tree standing solitary and upright like a kind of hieratic bouquet: this image recurs in three ¨lms – Where Is the Friend’s House? (1987); Life and Nothing More (1992); and Through the Olive Trees (1994) – which critics refer to as “the Koker trilogy,” simply because they are all set in the same location, the village of Koker in Northern Iran. Easily mistaken for a “found” image, part of the natural geography of the films’ actual setting, the recurrence of the image would seem to raise no questions nor require explanation. And yet there can be no confusing this image with natural geography, for as we learn from interviews, the films’ director, Abbas Kiarostami, did not just stumble upon this peculiar landscape while scouting locations. He had his ¨lm crew carve the pronounced zigzag path into the hill. An artiœcial landscape, then, inserted by Kiarostami into the natural setting, it replicates, as it turns out, a miniature found in a manuscript executed at Shiraz in southern Persia at the end of the fourteenth century. In the miniature, just as in the Koker trilogy, a sinuous path curls up the side of a hill atop which sprouts a single, °owering tree. This miniature graces the cover of Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, a book on Islamic philosophy in which the book’s author, the infuential Iranologist, Henry Corbin, praises the miniature as “the best illustration… which has come down to us today” of what he calls “visionary geography.” Distinct from natural geography or physically “situated space,” which is organized according to pre-established coordinates, visionary geography is, instead, “situative.” Neither purely abstract nor purely concrete and sensible, visionary geography is a “third” or intermediary realm between the abstract and •ƒ–the sensible; it functions as a creative forecourt of sensible reality, as the origin of [actual] spatial references and [that which] determines their structure.” In this realm the sense-perceptible is raised and pure intelligibility lowered to the same level, matter is immaterialized and spirit corporealized or, “to use a term currently in favor,” Corbin adds, “an anamorphosis is produced.” In Arabic this intermediate space is called alam-al-mithal: Corbin translated it: monde imaginal, the imaginal world...


(download)





Thursday, January 19, 2017

Traversing The Imaginal Knowledge


“The Possibility of Traversing The Imaginal Knowledge- Remarks of Muhammad B. Abd Al-Jabbār Al-Niffarī on Vision (Ru’yah) and Absence (Ghaybah)” 

Koltaş, Nurullah,
Journal of Faculty of Theology of Bozok University, 
10, 10 (2016/10) pp. 165-183.

Abstract 

Among the various aspects those make the Sūfī world view unique, the lore or the knowledge attained through the purification of the self plays a vital role. For, it has its roots in Revelation. Despite the diversity in methods (usūl), many representatives of Sūfī thought are in agreement concerning the nature of this profound knowledge. The ways differ in accordance with the capacity of the ones who demand it. However, the authenticity of it enables seekers to lead a life akin to that of the Perfect Man. In order to gain this sort of inward knowledge, the sufīs appeal to the opinions of the masters of theoretical Sufism (irfān-i nazarī) who define the ways to understand the truth that lies behind the veils. One of these masters is Muhammad b. Abd al-Jabbār al-Niffarī, the writer of al-Mawaqif wa al-Mukhatabat. Niffarī’s work consists of mawqifs those written in an almost abstruse language. Niffarī explains many sufi terms including the staying, veil, gnosis, vision, etc. skilfully. In this article, we will try to explain the nature of veils and unveiling in the context of vision as a suprarational means of attaining the truth. Then we will try to find out the role of vision through imagination. Finally, we will try to explain the relation of vision with the absence. 

Keywords: Staying, vision, absence, gnosis, veil


Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Unseen Partner (update)




Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Unseen Partner by Diane L. Croft 

The Unseen Partner

by Diane L. Croft

Giveaway ends January 31, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway


The Unseen Partner
Love & Longing in the Unconscious
by
Diane Croft


Don't miss this gorgeous book! I have waited years with great anticipation for this book. 
It is even more beautiful than I expected. It's really a volume to treasure. My congratulations
to the author for the perfect completion of a long labor of love. Here's my 
contribution to the small flood of positive reviews:


"In the tradition of Jung’s Red Book and Edinger’s The Living Psyche, Diane Croft’s The Unseen Partner is a beautifully illustrated, gorgeously produced and deeply moving account of personal transformation. Croft’s presentation of her own visionary recital in the company of the invisible guide who dictated these poems will be inspiration and solace to all who find themselves suddenly strangers in the strange and often frightening realm of the autonomous psyche. We should be grateful for such a gift." - Tom Cheetham

Visit the website for more reviews and details about this book. Here is an introduction:

The Unseen Partner records one woman's descent into the collective unconscious, a universal field of reality transcending time, space, and matter. For three years, the author recorded the primordial poetry she found there. It took almost two decades of struggle to make sense of the experience and to write about it in this book.

Drawing heavily on the discoveries of C.G. Jung, as recounted in his Red Book, this book explains our human need for the transcendent -- a dimension not somewhere else, but inextricably a part of us. Her living account demonstrates that we live in both a physical world and a spiritual realm simultaneously.

It is also available on amazon.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017




The Octopus: A Meditation on Creative Imagination 

by Tom Cheetham

Phi Beta Kappa Lecture 
The Connecticut College Department of Philosophy, 
Blaustein Center for the Humanities, 
March 29, 2013


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Spiritual Light in the work of James Turrell



Cosmopolis, no. 3-4, 2016

Daniel Proulx



Daniel Proulx, philosophe et religiologue. Spécialiste de la pensée de Henry Corbin et du rôle de l’imagination dans l’expérience spirituelle, il tente de contribuer à un renouveau des études sur Henry Corbin en valorisant l’aspect philosophique de son œuvre. Il poursuit actuellement un doctorat de philosophie à l’Université catholique de Louvain sur la conception de l’histoire chez Henry Corbin. Il est membre actif des associations des amis de Henry Corbin et de Gilbert Durand.

Résumé

En reversant le rapport usuel à l’espace et à la lumière James Turrell, ne propose pas une simple modification ou altération d’un espace, il propose, en faisant de la lumière, non pas ce qui fait voir une œuvre, mais l’œuvre elle-même, une véritable transfiguration qui laisse un instant transparaître ce que l’on pourrait facilement caractériser comme la nature spirituelle d’un espace. Ce texte propose une analyse de l’œuvre de Turrell en se demandant si son travail n’est pas une représentation visuelle, mais aussi expérientielle pouvant aider les philosophes à comprendre les nombreuses descriptions mystiques qui font appel à la lumière.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Paris - November 26 2016


Henry Corbin - Champion of Inter-religious Dialogue

The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism (2003)

A deep reading of Tom Cheetham's The World Turned Inside Out could have the effect of turning the reader inside out! Not only will a person discover in this book a thorough understanding of the remarkable and important vision of Henry Corbin, the great French scholar of Iranian Islam. The reader will also be engaged by a politically useful understanding of the religion of Islam generally, of mystical and negative theology, of monotheism, of the philosophy of imagination, of language and the textures of textuality, and of the nature of reading and thinking. Among other things, a careful reading of this book can inform current interpretations of the politics of terrorism, its wars and the wars against it. In short, there exists here a shaking of the foundations of human perspectives that comes to nothing short of a radical revisioning of all attempts to make sense of the life and meaning of being in the world. - David L. Miller, Watson-Ledden Professor of Religion, Emeritus, Syracuse University, Core Faculty Member, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Author of Christs, Three Faces of God & Hells and Holy Ghosts.

A remarkable creative synthesis of the genius of Henry Corbin, the silent precursor of archetypal psychology. Tom Cheetham gives the gift of a metaphysics of interiority balancing pervasive, destructive, suffocating, spectator consciousness. And it is a convivial interiority, filled with spiritual presences. The soul can breathe again because it has found its homeland, the Soul of the World. - Robert Sardello, author of Freeing the Soul from Fear.

This book is a penetrating and comprehensive introduction to and survey of the remarkable work and thought of Henry Corbin. It serves an important purpose in making Corbin's work more accessible in English. - Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies
The first book in English devoted to the great French author Henry Corbin, The World Turned Inside Out is an excellent introduction to and survey of Corbin's work and thought. Corbin is unique among twentieth-century scholars of Islam in his ability to imaginatively enter the world of the Sufi gnostics, and to apply their insights to the modern world. The World Turned Inside Out provides us with a bracing and stimulating overview of this seminal author's work and its implications: this is a book for all who suspect that, to paraphrase Plato, there is more to life than that which can be grasped in one's hands. - Arthur Versluis, Editor of Esoterica and author of Wisdom's Children: A Christian Esoteric Tradition.

This book does an absolutely splendid job of opening up Corbin's thought to the general reader. Corbin's work addresses our contemporary situation in a most direct way as this book shows, and the author has made an important contribution to both the philosophy of religion and the history of religions. This is an interesting, careful and important piece of work that I hope will gain the recognition that it deserves. - Charles J. Adams, Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies, McGill University

L'Association des Amis de Stella et Henry Corbin has sponsored a French translation of this book. I am deeply grateful to Les Amis and to the translator, Hélène Senglard-Foreman. The book is available in French as L'Envers du Monde, published by Entrelacs. Available on their website HERE.

The Corbin Trilogy
By Tom Cheetham
Reviewed by M. Ali Lakhani
Read more ...

Buy the book from:
Spring Journal Books
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk
amazon.fr
Distributed in Europe by Daimon Publishers.







Saturday, November 19, 2016

Support CAIR





Since the November 8 election, CAIR has seen a tremendous increase in support in terms of volunteers, donations and expressions of solidarity. More than 1,000 people [as of Nov. 18] have volunteered to help CAIR defend the civil rights of all Americans under a Trump administration.

Thousands of people of all faiths have donated to CAIR, including Lucy “Xena: Warrior Princess” Lawless, who tweeted her support, writing: “We're helping by donating to @NAACP @HRC @PPact @CAIRNational and fearless news organizations.”

Major law firms have offered to work pro bono for CAIR and to defend the civil rights of the Muslim community. One top lawyer wrote to CAIR: “As an American Jew, I cannot stand by silently in the face of the rising hatred and violence being experienced by the American Islamic community.”

Support CAIR’s critical work as we enter a challenging era under policy-makers who have a history of Islamophobia and bigotry.

To show your support, go to: https://www.cair.com/donations/general-donation/campaign/#/donation

Tuesday, October 11, 2016



- Egil Asprem

Correspondences 4 (2016) 1–34   
ISSN: 2053-7158 (Online) correspondencesjournal.com

Abstract Scholars agree that the imagination is central to esoteric practice. While the esoteric vis imaginativa is usually attributed to the influx of Neoplatonism in the Italian Renaissance, this article argues that many of its key properties were already in place in medieval scholasticism. Two aspects of the history of the imagination are discussed. First, it is argued that esoteric practice is rooted in a broader kataphatic trend within Christian spirituality that explodes in the popular devotion literature of the later Middle Ages. By looking at the role of Bonaventure’s “cognitive theology” in the popularization of gospel meditations and kataphatic devotional prayer, it is argued that there is a direct link between the scholastic reconsideration of the imaginative faculty and the development of esoteric practices inspired by Christian devotional literature. Secondly, it is argued that the Aristotelian inner sense tradition of the scholastics left a lasting impression on later esoteric conceptualizations of the imaginative faculty. Examples suggesting evidence for both these two claims are discussed. The article proposes to view esoteric practices as an integral part of a broader kataphatic stream in European religious history, separated out by a set of disjunctive strategies rooted in the policing of “orthopraxy” by ecclesiastical authorities.

and this is very worthy of note:




– February 20, 1981
by James Engell 



Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Unseen Partner - a book not to be missed!



The Unseen Partner
Love & Longing in the Unconscious
by
Diane Croft


Don't miss this gorgeous book! I have waited years with great anticipation for this book. 
It is even more beautiful than I expected. It's really a volume to treasure. My congratulations
to the author for the perfect completion of a long labor of love. Here's my 
contribution to the small flood of positive reviews:


"In the tradition of Jung’s Red Book and Edinger’s The Living Psyche, Diane Croft’s The Unseen Partner is a beautifully illustrated, gorgeously produced and deeply moving account of personal transformation. Croft’s presentation of her own visionary recital in the company of the invisible guide who dictated these poems will be inspiration and solace to all who find themselves suddenly strangers in the strange and often frightening realm of the autonomous psyche. We should be grateful for such a gift." - Tom Cheetham

Visit the website for more reviews and details about this book. Here is an introduction:

The Unseen Partner records one woman's descent into the collective unconscious, a universal field of reality transcending time, space, and matter. For three years, the author recorded the primordial poetry she found there. It took almost two decades of struggle to make sense of the experience and to write about it in this book.

Drawing heavily on the discoveries of C.G. Jung, as recounted in his Red Book, this book explains our human need for the transcendent -- a dimension not somewhere else, but inextricably a part of us. Her living account demonstrates that we live in both a physical world and a spiritual realm simultaneously.

It is also available on amazon.