"...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.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Dariush Shayegan, whose name has been mentioned several times in this blog as a friend and student of Corbin, is a figure of great interest, about whom I knew next to nothing until I ran into this Facebook Page. He wrote a definitive book on Corbin: Henry Corbin: La topographie spirituelle de l'Islam Iranien, Ed. de la Difference, Paris, 1990. See his wikipedia entry , and this post on Shayegan & Iranian politics. And I hope I have time in this life to read this book of his, translated into English: Shayegan, Darius. Cultural Schizophrenia: Islamic Societies Confronting the West. Modern intellectual and political history of the Middle East. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1997. It turns out that it was Shayegan who organized the 1977 Symposium at which Corbin presented his very important paper on "Apophatic Theology as Antidote to Nihilism."
Posted by Tom Cheetham at 7:03 PM