"...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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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Search of the Lost Speech - May 2010, NYC

Poetry & Prayer as Spiritual Practice:
In Search of the "Lost Speech"

Tom Cheetham

"Prayer is the supreme form, 
the highest act of the Creative Imagination."
Henry Corbin

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are united by the idea of the sacred nature of language, and the perception that all of creation is a kind of book. The great scholar of Islamic mysticism, Henry Corbin, said that a problem common to all the "religions of the book" is the drama of the "Lost Speech" i.e. the interior meaning of the Book, hidden under its literal interpretation. The contemporary world leaves most of us little time and less encouragement to seek out the interior meaning of our lives or of the world around us. The literal forms of religion lead to fundamentalism, and science, powerful and necessary though it is, cannot by itself give meaning to our lives. So our only recourse is the exercise of our creative imagination to rediscover the "Lost Speech." This evening we will try to understand how poetry, prayer and acts of imagination can open us to the worlds within and around us.

Evening Workshop
7 - 10 pm
Friday, May 7, 2010  
 New York Open Center
22 East 30 Street
New York, NY 10016

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