"...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


Thursday, April 21, 2016

God is Beautiful

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5167-5
400 pages
February 2015, Polity

Reviewed by Todd Lawson:
doi: 10.1093/jaarel/lfw015
First published online: April 7, 2016

"... Though he does not mention it, the pioneering and prolific French scholar of Islamic thought,
Henry Corbin (d. 1978), was the first “Westerner” to have noticed, in several publications,
the literary-cum-existential power of this mode of reading/being and its instrumentality in ... "

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Todd Lawson on Ibn 'Arabi - May 7 in Berkeley

Ibn 'Arabi Society Lecture Series: An afternoon with Todd Lawson

Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley, CA
Saturday, May 7, 2016
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Water, Light, Knowledge: Towards an Ecology of Imagination

Robert Darr headshotTodd Lawson is emeritus professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Toronto where he taught for 25 years. He has published widely on Qur’an commentary (tafsir) the Qur'an as literature, Sufism, Shi'i Islam and the Babi and Bahai traditions. His book on Jesus in Islamic thought, The Crucifixion and the Qur'an was published in 2009 (Oneworld), his Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam in 2011 (Routledge). The article, "Qur'an and Epic" appeared recently in The Journal of Qur’anic Studies (2014: 16.1). This and other of his publications are available at www.toddlawson.ca. He is now writing a book on the Qur'an as sacred epic. He lives in Montreal.
"Water and Light pervade the writings of Ibn 'Arabi as they do the Quran itself. In the poetic literalism of Ibn 'Arabi's discourse, these everyday realities are frequently involved in specific events of knowing. Knowledge appears to be built upon water and light. Water and Light are also essential "hormones of the imagination" – they are elements of the natural realm that lead us beyond nature..."
Eventbrite - Ibn 'Arabi Society Lecture Series: an afternoon with Todd Lawson
The talk will be followed by discussion, and will take place in the Parlor Room at Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

La figure de la sophia chez Henry Corbin

by Daniel Proulx
now available on Academia.edu


Henry Corbin's loving devotion to wisdom, to sophia, englobes the three terms of this conference. Without dealing directly with the notion of women and erös, this text explores the notion of sophia — philosophically feminine par excellence — in Henry Corbin's opus. This text is a first attempt to understand the Sophianic world as conceived by Henry Corbin. The axis chosen in undertaking this exploration is to rearticulate the influences on Corbin's thought in showing that the emphasis on Heidegger dissimulates the importance of sophia. This axis will also highlight an influence that has remained veiled, the Russian sophiologist Sergei Bulgakov's. In the course of this rearticulation, we will also encounter the sophiologies of Carl Gustav Jung and Nicolai Berdyaev - completing the picture of Western sophiologies present in Corbin's thought.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book Review via Taylor & Francis online

Philosophy and the Abrahamic Religions: Scriptural Hermeneutics and Epistemology, edited by Torrance Kirby, Rahim Acar, and Bilal Bas, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, xniv + 445 pp., E54.99/$92.99 (cloth)

Chapter Twenty Two: Henry Corbin’s Hermeneutics of Scripture by Hadi Fakhoury

Book Review:

Brayton Polka

Department of Humanities, York University, 
226 Vanier College, 4700 Keele St., 
Toronto M3J 1 PS, Canada

The European Legacy - Towards New Paradigms

Thursday, March 24, 2016

An interesting citation...

Phenomenological and contemplative approaches to vigiling with persons who are nearing death.

R Gates - Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 2016

... There is a sense of perceiving the interiority of self and others. According to philosopher and
theologian Henry Corbin (1969), the perceived dualities of inner and outer become one through
“sympathetic union” and something of the soul of others becomes visible. ...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Assemblée générale 2016

Assemblée générale
Association des Amis de Henry et Stella Corbin
le vendredi 20 mai 2016
à l’EPHE
Salle 121, 1e étage, 190 av. de France, 75013 Paris

Ordre du jour : 
Rapport moral : activités de l’année écoulée.
Rapport financier
Activités : site web, publications en cours, 12e Journée Henry Corbin
Questions diverses

Daniel Gastambide, président
Marc Gastambide, trésorier
Pierre Lory, secrétaire

Bienvenue aux membres!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Being & Time & Corbin

You don't see this very often - at least I've not run across it, but here's a course on Heidegger in which Corbin's approach is taken seriously.

Fall 2015 
Heidegger’s Being and Time 
PHIL 770 TH 3:35-6:20 HUM 384 

Nov. 19: Being-Towards-Death Being and Time: “Dasein’s Possibility of Being-a-Whole and Being-Towards-Death,” pp. 274- 311. “From Heidegger to Suhrawardi: An Interview with Phillipe Nemo,” Henry Corbin, the first translator of Heidegger into French and the prominent historian of Islamic philosophy, is interviewed,” on iLearn.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Symbolic Cities at the Sackler Gallery

Symbolic Cities: The Work of Ahmed Mater

March 19–September 18, 2016
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Born in 1979 in southern Saudi Arabia and trained as a medical doctor, Ahmed Mater has been a practicing artist since the early 1990s, creating works that offer an unparalleled perspective on contemporary Saudi Arabia. Now based in Jeddah, Mater has focused primarily on photography and video since 2010. From abandoned desert cities to the extraordinary transformation of Mecca, Symbolic Cities presents his visual and aural journeys observing economic and urban change in Saudi Arabia. The exhibition, the first in the United States solely dedicated to Mater, also debuts new works based on his extensive research on Riyadh's development.

Friday, March 4, 2016

An Acoustic Museum of Byzantine Sound

by Allison Meier in Hyperallergic

The sonic intentions of architecture are often lost over the centuries. In 2014, a team of researchers investigated the acoustics of Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki, Greece, to retrieve some of that design through sound mapping.

On an episode released last month of the podcast Escape Velocity, created by the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering, Sharon Gerstel, an art history professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), explained why she became involved in this acoustic archaeology:

"For me as an art historian, I was interested in the perception of sound and how that perception was informed by the setting. When you walk into these buildings, they’re cooler than the outside temperature, they smell different on the inside because they’ve had incense in them burned for centuries, so there’s the palpable change in the atmosphere. They’re dark on the inside and you see the painted figures looming from all sides of the building, looking at you." go to the article with audio files linked.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Our Divine Double

Charles Stang
Harvard University Press
March 2016

Henry Corbin figures prominently in the Introduction.

From the Publisher:

What if you were to discover that you were not entirely you, but rather one half of a whole, that you had, in other words, a divine double? In the second and third centuries CE, this idea gripped the religious imagination of the Eastern Mediterranean, providing a distinctive understanding of the self that has survived in various forms throughout the centuries, down to the present. Our Divine Double traces the rise of this ancient idea that each person has a divine counterpart, twin, or alter-ego, and the eventual eclipse of this idea with the rise of Christian conciliar orthodoxy.

Charles Stang marshals an array of ancient sources: from early Christianity, especially texts associated with the apostle Thomas “the twin”; from Manichaeism, a missionary religion based on the teachings of the “apostle of light” that had spread from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean; and from Neoplatonism, a name given to the renaissance of Platonism associated with the third-century philosopher Plotinus. Each of these traditions offers an understanding of the self as an irreducible unity-in-duality. To encounter one’s divine double is to embark on a path of deification that closes the gap between image and archetype, human and divine.

While the figure of the divine double receded from the history of Christianity with the rise of conciliar orthodoxy, it survives in two important discourses from late antiquity: theodicy, or the problem of evil; and Christology, the exploration of how the Incarnate Christ is both human and divine.

Charles M. Stang is Professor of Early Christian Thought at Harvard Divinity School.

Introduction: Narcissus and His Double
1. Reading Plato’s Many Doubles
2. Thomas, Who Is Called “Twin”
3. Syzygies, Twins, and Mirrors
4. Mani and His Twin-Companion
5. Plotinus and the Doubled Intellect
6. Whither the Divine Double?

Monday, February 29, 2016

On Kierkegaard and Subjectivity

In The NYTimes
FEBRUARY 28, 2016

This essay reminds me how Kierkegaardian Corbin's thought is.
And how important.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Space Ontology

Jameh Mosque, Qazvin, Iran

I bring this to your attention not so much because Corbin is mentioned (once, in passing) in the article but because of the inherent interest of the Journal...

Space Ontology International Journal (SOIJ) published by Qazvin Islamic Azad University (located in Iran) is a scholarly open access, peer-reviewed, quarterly and fully refereed journal with a primary objective to provide the academic community for the submission of new ideas, the state of the art research results and fundamental advances in all aspects of Architecture, Urban Design and Planning.

Current Issue: Volume 4, Issue 3, Autumn 2015, Page 1-74

Page 19-28
Hossein Soltanzadeh

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Scholastic Imagination - Mundus imaginalis & intellectus agens

He writes,

I’ve recently been reading up on medieval theories of cognition. The background is a paper I’m writing on esotericism and “kataphatic practices” – contemplative techniques where the practitioner uses mental imagery, sensory stimuli, and emotions to try and achieve some religious goal: Prayer, piety, divine knowledge, salvation, etc. Kataphatic practices may be distinguished from “apophatic” ones, which, although they may be pursuing the same goals, use very different techniques to achieve them: withdrawing from sensory input and attempting to empty the mind of any content, whether affective, linguistic, or imagery-related (note that the kataphatic-apophatic distinction is more commonly used as synonymous with positive vs. negative theology– that’s a related but separate issue to the one I talk about here). My argument is that esoteric practices are typically oriented toward kataphatic rather than apophatic techniques. The cultivation of mental imagery is usually key – which means that the notion of “imagination” needs to be investigated more thoroughly...

Later on in his post we find this:

But also on the theoretical side, it is tempting to say that the scholastic imagination exerted a major, long-lasting influence on various “esoteric epistemologies”. In a sense, this is a trivial observation: the imagination as a separate cognitive faculty, or an “inner sense” involved with perception and apprehension is an Aristotelian notion, and that Aristotelian notion re-entered European intellectual discourse through the Persian, Andalusian, Italian, and German scholars I have mentioned here. Moreover, that the “phantasms” created by the imaginative faculty can be mined for mystical insights is a notion that appears to enter European religious/intellectual discourse through Bonaventure’s synthesis of Aristotelianism and illuminationism.

So, if we look at the famous illustration in Robert Fludd’sUtriusque cosmi historia (“History of the two worlds”, 1617-1621) of how the cognitive system and (external and internal) senses reach out to the three worlds, at least on the cognitive side we still see the basic framework of Avicenna, Averroes, and Bonaventure. He lodges “imagination” between “sensation” and “mind”, with a window on to the mundus imaginalis, the “shadows” of the world. The connection of God and the angels with the “intellectual world”, influencing the “mind” and playing a direct part in assessing the images sent forward from imagination, still echoes the scholastic interpretation of Aristotle’s “agent intellect” acting on the “passive intellect”...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Persian Gardens

LM Farahani, B Motamed, E Jamei - 2016
... Based on Henry Corbin's study on the Mazdean cosmology, Alemi argues that Persian
chahar-bagh is a symbol of the universe, including the elements that can be found in a Persian
chahar-bagh (Alemi 1390). In chahar-baghs, terraces symbolize the ...