"...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, July 20, 2009

A Personal Story

"You who have been privileged at some time during his long life to have attended a lecture by Henry Corbin have been present at a manifestation of the thought of the heart. You have been witness to its creative imagination, its theophanic power of bringing the divine face into visibility. You will also know in your hearts that the communication of the thought of the heart proceeds in that fashion of which he was master, as a récit, an account of the imaginal life as a journey among imaginal essences, an account of the essential. In him imagination was utterly presence. One was in the presence of imagination itself, that imagination in which and by which the spirit moves from the heart towards all origination." - James Hillman, The Thought of the Heart and the Soul of the World, 1992, 3.

One of Henry Corbin's great contributions to spirituality is his insistence on both the freedom and the responsibility inherent in the exercise of the creative imagination that lives in each of us. The visionary recital, the récit, is an account of the form of human life lived to its fullest and most sacred potential. It is a form of life to which we can all aspire, however varied our paths, and however often we doubt ourselves - however often we fall. The Path always opens out ahead. I have tried to articulate some sense of this challenge in other places. I make available here the final chapter of After Prophecy (without the notes) for those who may not have access to the book, in the hope that some may find it of use.

07 Prophecy Chapter07

Friend, this is enough.
If you want to read more
Go and be yourself
the letter & the Spirit

Angelus Silesius

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