"...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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Saturday, November 14, 2009
Omens of Millennium by Harold Bloom
Henry Corbin's work has been brought to the attention of many people through the work of Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale. He contributed the Preface to the most recent edition of Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi, (re-titled Alone with the Alone). Bloom's 1996 volume Omens of the Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrectionis an extended analysis of "gnosticism," ancient and modern, and is substantially influenced by Corbin. Though I do not agree with his reading of Corbin, or gnosticism, I would be remiss not to mention this most interesting book. It is reviewed by the excellent Lee Irwin in Esoterica Volume II here.