"...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.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

"Youthfulness and Chivalry in Iranian Islam - Part II" now in English Translation

Henry Corbin's "Youthfulness and Chivalry in Iranian Islam - Part II", translated into English by Christine Rhone, is now available in the Temenos Academy Review, Volume 12. Part 1 was  published in Volume 11. Rhone comments: "Called in at the last minute to replace another speaker, Corbin gave this two-part lecture at the Eranos Conference of 1971. It is a spontaneous dive into Persian and Arabic linguistics, the source of eternal youth, and the common currents of the Paraclete and the Twelfth Imam. Only Corbin can accomplish this so gracefully." The French original is « Juvénilité et chevalerie (Javânmardî) en Islam iranien », Eranos-Jahrbuch, XL/1971, Leiden : Brill, 1973, pp 311-356; reprinted in L'Homme et Son Ange: Initiation et Chevalerie Spirituelle, Fayard, 1983.

Folio from a Khamsa by Nizami; Bahram Gur and the Indian princess in the Black Pavilion; 1548, Safavid dynasty, Shiraz, Iran. From The Freer & Sackler Galleries