"...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.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Corbin and Portmann at Eranos
This undated photo is from the Eranos Archive. Adolf Portmann (1897-1982) was a Swiss biologist and a major figure at the Eranos Conferences where he lectured for many years. Selected writings have been collected as The Living Form and the Seeing Eye: Essays in Philosophical Biology (1991). His phenomenological approach to the study of animal form and behavior provides an important complement to the dominant contemporary paradigms. A complete bibliography (in German) can be found here. Noted philosopher of science Marjorie Grene devotes a chapter to Portmann in her book The Understanding of Nature: Essays in Philosophical Biology (1974).
Posted by Tom Cheetham at 8:31 AM