"...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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Friday, February 27, 2009

Corbin on Film and YouTube!

The Eranos Foundation has posted a short trailer for the Film Eranos - 1951 at their website here. The film was directed by Willy Roelli, with script by Ximena de Angulo-Roelli and Willy Roelli and produced by the C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles. Henry Corbin appears on the path about 40 seconds into the trailer, shakes hands, turns to the viewer's right and goes down the stairs.

And many sincere thanks to Farshid Kazemi for sending this fascinating YouTube link for a ten-minute video of Henry Corbin narrating a film about Zoorkhaneh, the traditional Persian martial art and gymnastic exercise. (Photos as still practiced in Isfahan.) It is a delight to see and hear Corbin speak. I hope that someone with a better ear for French than I will translate the narration for us.
The photos of traditional zoorkhaneh below are by Antoin Sevruguin, whose photos of 19th century Iran can be accessed here.

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