"...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.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Sunday, February 28, 2010

More on the Garden of Heaven Carpet in Glasgow

This from the Iran Heritage Foundation - Also notice the links in the Other Programmes Section

'Wagner Carpet'
Burrell Collection, Glasgow

Other programmes

Norouz Gala

The Golha Project
Digital Archive - 2nd Phase

February 2010


Exhibition – Introduction
27 March – 11 April 2010

The Burrell Collection
Pollok Country Park
2060 Pollokshaws Road
Glasgow G43 1AT

An exciting opportunity to view Sir William Burrell’s prized 17th century Persian “Wagner” Garden Carpet, believed to be the second most important Iranian carpet in the UK after the Ardabil Carpet at the V&A


Organised by

The Burrell Collection

Supported by

Iran Heritage Foundation


The Wagner Garden Carpet is considered to be one of the three earliest surviving Persian garden carpets in the world, the other two being at the Jaipur Museum and the Museum of Industrial Art in Vienna. However, the design of this particular carpet is unique, and no other examples resembling it or using part of its base-pattern have yet been identified. Due to its large size and condition, measuring approximately 5.5m x 4.3m, this Safavid carpet has only been seen in public twice in the last 30 years. Believed to have been made in Kerman, or possibly Isfahan, it has a woollen pile, cotton warps, and wool and cotton wefts. Named after a previous German owner (Wagner), the carpet’s unique and beautiful design is of a four quartered garden (Chahar-Bagh) divided by water channels that form the letter H, with a water basin in the centre of the short horizontal channel. The garden is filled with Cypresses and flowering trees and shrubs, and populated with an array of birds, butterflies and animals; and several types of fish and duck float on the water channels. Lions, leopards, gazelles, peacocks, storks and pigeons, roam the garden. The symmetrical layout and bordered water channels are not only reminiscent of Safavid royal gardens in Isfahan, but also resemble descriptions of Gardens of Paradise in the Qur’an.

To launch the display there will be a one day symposium of talks on Saturday 27 March, exploring the theme of Paradise gardens in Islamic Art and culture, and the horticultural traditions of Iran as well as a programme of public events for both adults and families.

Introduction Talks

Brief talks delivered daily by Burrell Guides
27 March – 11 April 2010


The Garden of Heaven
In association with the Iranian-Scottish Association. 
Saturday 27 March, 11.00am – 4.30pm

Through five lectures, this symposium explores the historical, cultural and artistic context of the Wagner Garden Carpet, including the concept of Paradise in Iranian heritage; the Safavid Dynasty and its carpet industry; a historical overview of the horticultural practices and traditions of Iran; Iranian gardens today; the celebrations of the Spring Equinox and Norooz – the Persian New Year – and gardens in the poetry and song of Iran.
The speakers are:
Prof. Robert Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh
Jennifer Scarce, Honorary Lecturer, University of Dundee
Penelope Hobhouse, gardener and garden historian
Faryar Javaherian, architect, Tehran, Iran
Narguess Farzad, Senior Fellow in Persian, School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
Free but booking advised (contact Tel. No.: 0141 287 2563).

Public Events Programme

Burrell for Families programme: Carpet Creations
Saturday 27 March, 2.00pm

Work together as a family to make a textile piece with patterns drawn from the Wagner Garden Carpet. The workshop lasts about 90 minutes, and is suitable for families with children aged 5–12.
Please phone 0141 287 2564 or email BurrellL&A@csglasgow.org to book in advance as places are limited.
Lecture and film screening: Painting with Persian Poetry
Sunday 28 March, 2.30pm
The Burrell Lecture Theatre.
In this illustrated lecture, Jila Peacock, an Iranian-born painter and printmaker, explores the art of zoomorphic calligraphy – a distinct genre using Arabic and Persian script – and her experimentation with it. She also introduces the screening of ‘Tongue of the Hidden’, a short animated film of her calligraphy, visualizing and interpreting two medieval Persian love poems by Hafiz of Shiraz.
Garden of Heaven: Story Telling for Families
Sunday 28 March, 2.30 – 4.30pm
(Also on 4 and 11 April).
In association with the Village Story Telling Centre.
Animation screening: The Tongue of the Hidden
Monday 29 March – Sunday 11 April
Daily, throughout the day, in the Burrell Lecture Theatre.
The ‘Tongue of the Hidden’ is an animation of two poems by the celebrated medieval Iranian love poet and Sufi mystic Hafiz of Shiraz (AD 1315–90). The six-minute film is made from Persian calligraphy scripted by the Iranian-born artist Jila Peacock, directed by Bafta award winner David Alexander Anderson and produced by Animate projects Ltd in 2007.
Wee Wednesdays (for families) 
Wednesday 31 March, 11.00am – 12noon
On this day parents and toddlers can drop in and discover the magic of this Persian Garden in an exciting multi-sensory workshop.
Curators’ Favourites lunchtime talk: The Wagner Garden Carpet, a Persian carpet from 17th-century Iran
Wednesday 31 March, 12.30pm
Meet in the Burrell Courtyard.
Noorah Al-Gailani, Curator of Islamic Civilizations.
The Shahnameh: A Persian medieval epic and manifesto of benevolence, justice and wisdom
Wednesday 31 March, 2.00pm
The Burrell Lecture Theatre.
In this lecture Azin Haghighi, an Iranian poet and PhD researcher at the University of Strathclyde, explores the epic poem Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) – which tells the story of Iran from creation to the dawn of Islam, and the life of its author Firdawsi (AD 935–1020).
Carpet Gardeners (for families)
Saturday 3 April, 2pm
Drop in workshop, Families.
To celebrate the display of a unique Persian garden carpet, help us create a giant garden inside the museum.
Garden of Heaven: Story Telling for Families
Sunday 4 April, 2.30 – 4.30pm
(Also on 11 April).
In association with the Village Story Telling Centre.
Sit on beautiful Persian carpets and listen as storytellers tell you about the legends and fairytales of Ancient Persia – today’s Iran. Each Sunday session will have a different storyteller and set of stories.
Zest: Garden of Heaven (for families)
Tuesday 6 April, 10.30am -12noon
(Also on Thursday 8 April)
Exercise your green thumb with workshops exploring a unique Persian garden carpet.
Booking required
Please phone 0141 287 2564 or email BurrellL&A@csglasgow.org to book in advance as places are limited.
Zest: Garden of Heaven (for youth)
Tuesday 6 April, 2pm - 4pm
(Also on Thursday 8 April)
Drop in art workshop for 13 – 16 year olds.
Green art and design at the Burrell – learn more about the Persian garden carpet on display and design your own garden of heaven.
Zest: Garden of Heaven (for families)
Thursday 8 April, 10.30am -12noon
Exercise your green thumb with workshops exploring a unique Persian garden carpet.
Booking required
Please phone 0141 287 2564 or email BurrellL&A@csglasgow.org to book in advance as places are limited.
Zest: Garden of Heaven (for youth)
Thursday 8 April, 2pm - 4pm
Drop in art workshop for 13 – 16 year olds.
Green art and design at the Burrell – learn more about the Persian garden carpet on display and design your own garden of heaven.
Garden of Heaven: Story Telling for Families
Sunday 11 April, 2.30 – 4.30pm
In association with the Village Story Telling Centre.
Sit on beautiful Persian carpets and listen as storytellers tell you about the legends and fairytales of Ancient Persia – today’s Iran. Each Sunday session will have a different storyteller and set of stories.

Registration & Ticketing

All events are free to the public but require booking in advance


The Burrell Collection
Pollok Country Park
2060 Pollokshaws Road
Glasgow G43 1AT
Website: The Burrell Collection
Free entry to the museum, to the carpet display and to all accompanying events.

Further Information:

For up to date information and further details see the Burrell Collection pages on Glasgow Museums website.


Public Enquiries Desk Tel. 0141 287 2550
Curator of Islamic Civilisations Tel. 0141 287 2563
Email: noorah.gailani@csglasgow.org

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Cult of the Seven Archangels

In Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, Henry Corbin writes:

"The struggle against the Avicennan theory of the Intelligences and the Active Intelligence is a chapter or an episode in angelology in the West during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is something confined to scholars; whether the two sides were equally or unequally conscious of the "motivations" that necessitated or, on the contrary, challenged the intervention of the world of the Angel remains to be studied. But there is another episode in angelology, and, this time, it is by no means confined to scholars; we refer to the extraordinary "revival" of a cult of the Seven Archangels that began in Italy in the sixteenth century, then spread as far as Flanders and Orthodox Russia.[1] Finally, to come down to our own day, there is a little book by Eugenio d'Ors that, though not a scientific book, is written with much science, but above all with the heart; it constitutes a contemporary testimony of extreme importance for anyone concerned with discovering the secret needs of the soul to which angelology answers. Its very first pages contain a short sentence that an Avicennan concerned for his philosophical system could well have used in answer to William of Auvergne, and that a devotee of the Seven Archangels could also have made his own. Indeed, it required a clairvoyant and courageous penetration of a secret that, as we have just seen, may be common to philosophers and simple souls—to write, as if in rejoinder to a famous dictum of St. Teresa's, this short sentence: "No, no es cierto que solo Dios basta" (No, it is not certain that God alone suffices) [2]. (Avicenna, 122)

[1]. Emile Male, L'Art religieux apres le Concile de Trente, pp. 298 ff.
[2]. Eugenio d'Ors, Introduction a la vida angelica, p. 9.

The illustrations here are from Between Renaissance and Baroque: Jesuit Art in Rome, 1565-1610, by Gauvin Alexander Bailey, University of Toronto Press , 2003, which has a discussion of the topic on pp. 68ff.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More on Olson's Curriculum of the Soul

I received the pages reproduced here from Ralph Maud. In the lower right hand corner of the second page he has noted: "This is "A Plan for A Curriculum of the Soul" as published in Magazine for Further Studies & annotated by Jack Clarke apportioning the Fascicles" - RM

And more of some interest on the "Plan" can be found at Very Small Kitchen, including a letter by Clayton Eshleman.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

George Quasha on Ta'wil and other matters - Corbin & Poetry #19

I received a nice note from George Quasha  in which he points out that he has posted an edited, more readable and more complete version of the landmark 1974 piece "Ta'wil Or How to Read" that I posted in December. It can be found at his website here: Ta'wil Or how to Read.

He speaks of "the curious phenomenon of Corbin who continues to hold a primary place in the imagination whatever one's other interests/commitments/practices.  There's not much like it--text with intrinsic interest that somehow manifests the actual quality of its subject matter (text as containing its own ta'wil in the very manner of its unfolding-- as it were, ta'wil of the possible ta'wil)." He continues, "The historical precedent and the inherent principle of ta'wil remains important to me and to others.  At some point I would like to address this in a way that extends our discussion in that dialogical text.  It has to do with what I call "the principle of principle" in my discussion of "principle art" (including a poetics of principle).  I speak about this in "Configuring Principle," as well as in the Prologue to An Art of Limina. Both of these are online at: Configuring Principle, and An Art of Limina." April 27, 2010: See this on The Art of Limina.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Review of Jambet's La Grande Resurrection d'Alamut

Review by Farhad Daftary of  La Grande Résurrection d'Alamût by Christian Jambet. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 112, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1992), pp. 308-310

Page from a Manuscript of the Chinghiz-nama: Hulagu Khan Destroys the fort at Alamut.Review of Jambet - La Grande Resurrection

Monday, February 22, 2010

Angels: A Modern Myth

Angels, a Modern Myth. Paris: Flammarion, 1995. by Michel Serres

Interview: Serres with James Flint about "Angels"

These volumes might help situate his work:

Serres, Michel, and Bruno Latour. Conversations on Science, Culture, and Time. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.
_____, Josué V. Harari, and David F. Bell. Hermes--Literature, Science, Philosophy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.
_____, The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies (I). London: Continuum, 2009.

This blog about Serres seems quite useful.

Some years ago I read some of Serres, back when I was doing theoretical biology and teaching a course on Literature & Science, and I thought I might pursue some of these threads but somehow Henry Corbin would not let me go. As my work on Corbin now winds down I might follow up on Serres, and Bachelard as well. Serres lives in a world radically different from the one Corbin inhabits but I think there are fruitful conflicts, frictions, parallels and even certain "harmonies" that would be useful to ponder.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Zizek & Milbank (with a bit about Corbin)

The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? by Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank, Creston Davis (ed.), MIT Press, 2009, 312pp., Reviewed by John D. Caputo, Syracuse University.

This volume caught my attention for a couple of reasons - I've read some of Milbank's work in the past and will admit to being intrigued by some aspects of Radical Orthodoxy. I've heard of  Žižek - its hard not to - but haven't read anything of his. Here he cites Corbin's reading of Eckhart and Boehme (pp 41-2). I have not read much of this book but I have read Caputo's review (linked above) in the Notre Dame Philosophical Review. Caputo is himself a major and prolific figure in contemporary "theological" debates and knows the territory very well. (See his webpage at Syracuse). His review is well worth pondering for he lays out Milbank & Žižek quite neatly and then proceeds to explain why, from his own post-metaphysical perspective, he thinks that the options they both represent are indeed monstrous. In so doing he helps clarify some of the issues in contemporary theology, and the review is valuable for this reason alone, whatever one's own position may be. I quote here the final paragraphs of Caputo's review:

"I readily agree that something important is contracted in the name of Jesus, that this name harbors a marvelous mysterious event, a monstrous monstration, a perplexing paradoxical poetics. All this I locate in the reversals that mark the Kingdom of God, where the first are last, the outsiders are in and the insiders are out. But I do not see that this marvel must amount to either Žižek's void or Milbank's metaphysics of participation. Rather the marvel is the promise/risk of mercy and love, of compassion and forgiveness, and that is all we know on earth and all we need to know. Does anyone really think the Sermon on the Mount has anything to do with any of this bombastic metaphysical tilting and jousting?

Speaking of the Sermon on the Mount, I move finally from irony and incredulity to alarm -- about the violence of this book. Žižek has not the slightest compunction about invoking violence and he owes it to his readers to be clear about what he means, how far he would go and under what circumstances. Milbank on the other hand batters our ears with a barrage of rhetorical violence, with the vintage violence of theological imperialism -- is there any other? -- a disturbing and dogmatic theological dismissiveness of anyone who disagrees with him -- or, as it is more and more turning out, with the metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas. Milbank and the authors who swim around him in the "school" of "Radical Orthodoxy" flatter themselves with the insufferable conceit that the entire world may be divided into either medieval Thomistic metaphysicians -- or nihilists! They remind us, in case we might have forgotten, why no one trusts theology.

Truth to tell, I think Jesus (who does not even make the index in this book) would have been utterly dumbfounded by this polemic about the metaphysics of Christ."      - John Caputo

ADDENDUM 3/29/10:     See this interview with Milbank

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hodgson's Reviews of Corbin - 1955

Marshall G. S. Hodgson. Reviewed works:
Œuvres philosophiques et mystiques. Vol. II, by Henry Corbin; Shihâb al-Dîn Yahyâ Suhrawardî; Kitâb-i Jâmi al-Hikmatayn by Henry Corbin; Moh. Moin; Nâsir-i Khusraw
Journal of Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Jul., 1955), pp. 183-185.

See Hodgson's three-volume The Venture of Islam.

Hodgson Reviews Corbin

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chrétien de Troyes and Al-Andalus - Islam & the Grail

Reichert, Michelle. Between Courtly Literature and Al-Andalus: Matière D'Orient and the Importance of Spain in the Romances of the Twelfth-Century Writer Chrétien De Troyes. New York: Routledge, 2006. (Search the text at amazon.com)

This is a book that Henry Corbin would have delighted to see.

Publisher's description: "Chrétien de Troyes uses repeated references to Spain throughout his romances; despite past suggestions that they contain Mozarabic and Islamic themes and motifs, these references have never been commented upon. The book will demonstrate that these allusions to Spain occur at key moments in the romances, and are often coupled with linguistic "riddles" which serve as roadmaps to the manner in which the romances are to be read. These references and riddles seem to support the idea that some of their themes and motifs in Chrétien's romances are of Andalusi origin. The book also analyzes Chrétien's notion of "conjointure" and shows it to be the intentional elaboration of a sort of Mischliteratur, which integrates Islamic and Jewish themes and motifs, as well as mystical alchemical symbolism, into the standard religious and literary canons of his time. The contrast afforded by Chrétien's use of irony, and his subtle integration of this matière d'Orient into the standard canon, constitutes a carefully veiled criticism of the social and moral conduct, as well as spiritual beliefs, of twelfth-century Christian society, the crusading mentality, chivalric mores, and even the notion of courtly love. The primary interest of the book lies in the fact that it will be the first to comment upon and analyze Chrétien's references to Spain and the rich matière d'Orient in his romances, while suggesting channels for its transmission, through scholars, merchants, and religious houses, from northern Spain to Champagne."

From the Introduction: "Pierre Gallais has suggested, based on the work of Henry Corbin, the master of French orientalists, that the symbolism of the Conte du Graal not only contains oriental motifs but also reflects the mystical theosophy of Isma’ilite Shiite circles. I shall attempt to demonstrate, over and beyond this theory, that the matiere d’Orient in Chretien’s romances is specifically derived from syncretic forms of Sufi theosophy and mystical alchemy, such as they were disseminated in twelfth-century Andalusi circles, whence, I suggest in the book, they were transmitted to northern Europe through twelfth-century Benedictine clerics and translators who had some association with Cluny."

For a bit of short commentary on Gallais and his monumental work see Lacy, Norris J. A History of Arthurian Scholarship. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2006. Google Book search

Image: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Manuscrits, ms fr 12577

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Corbin & Charles Olson Continued (#18) - Jed Rasula

The following paragraphs are from Jed Rasula, Modernism and Poetic Inspiration: The Shadow Mouth. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, Pages 88 and 89. I present them here without comment - any adequate commentary would take more time (and knowledge of Olson) than I have - the interested reader will have to get hold of the book for context. This is a book worth reading. Here is part of a section discussing Olson's psychedelic experiences with Timothy Leary, entitled Mushroom Eyes:

"In Junger's assessment, the characteristic prolifer­ation of phenomena experienced on drugs could only go so far: even though "intoxication does not add up, it multiplies. It even makes fractions smaller," it nonetheless "lacks that higher power of addition, which brings something else and something new, and which eros does possess" (Bullock 207). The reverberation to infinity of cognition and perception in trance lacks one essential ingredient: encounter. It's emphatically in such an encounter—the struggle with the sea serpent—that Olson attained his special vision in a Maximus poem written after his second psilocybin experience: "I shaped her out of/ the watery mass with mushroom eyes."
Despite his generally negative experiences, Michaux affirms two prin­ciples that resonate with Olson. First, the experience is "pre-personal" and "infinitely archaic" (Miracle 87). Second, "A drug is not so much a thing, as it is 'someone'" (Light 41). "Paradise is a person," The Maximus Poems declares, and Maximus himself is a figure extending persona trans-corporeally until it includes all that might be "trenched out, smeared, occupied" by the Gold Machine, the alchemical alembic. Asked if she wanted a glass of water dur­ing an acid trip, Anai's Nin replied "I want a pagoda" (257). Sensing "images behind images," she felt the "whole room became filled with gold, my whole body was becoming gold, liquid gold, scintillating, warm gold. I was gold" (257, 258). The Maximus poem beginning "I am the Gold Machine" is an impetuously constellated confrontation with what's identified as "the ugli­est passage" (Maximus 301)—which is just how immersion in the infinitely archaic appears: a necessary but unwelcome visitor.
To address this visitation in the form of a person is to contend more prag­matically with Michaux's dilemma, being forced to endure "the superlative of everything." The stuttering perpetuity of a drug induced vision converges with the visionary apparition of infinite worlds in which "all the beings of the celestial universe are drawn into the ascending movement of limitless eternities toward horizons and toward creative acts of thought belonging to universes still unformulable"—a prospect characterized by Henry Corbin as "a 'Gothic style' of cosmology" (133). Corbin's essay, "Cyclical Time in Mazdaism and Ismailism," was of considerable importance to Olson, for whom some of Corbin's formulations seem preternaturally destined. The spiritual adept, for instance, "is himself the total Time of his own mea­sure" (163), and therefore a figure in accord with Olson's admiration for those who "go on the frozen being and do take the marks and bearings" (Maximus 481). Increasingly, in the later Maximus poems, the sense emerges from Corbin's dictum that "through every reality it is possible to discern a person—that is, to grasp this reality as or in its celestial person" (137). In an extended passage informing the composition of "Maximus, at the Harbor," Corbin writes:
Everything takes place as though the question "Who is it?" were substituted for the question "What is it?"—as though to name the person were to define its essence; and it is to this person and not to the abstract, universal concept that the ta'wiloi internal exegesis leads back. We gain this impression by juxtaposing propositions such as these: "Paradise is a person (or a human being)." "Every thought, every word, every action is a person." And finally: "Every true thought, every true word, every good action has an Angel." (165)
In Olson's adaptation:
Paradise is a person. Come into this world.
The soul is a magnificent Angel.
And the thought of its thought is the rage of Ocean             :           apophainesthai
(Maximus 240)
The Greek apophanesthai means "that which shows forth"; and Olson never tired of reiterating the basic precept of The Secret of the Golden Flower, "that which exists through itself is what is called meaning (Muthologos 164; Wilhelm 23). But note what the poem says: where there is appearance, there is rage. Rage is the unappeasable. It's the wink or nudge of the nick of time that reminds us our being crests, without appeal, on the throbbing portentous gist of the infinitely archaic, where the murmur is as hot as lava, hot as Ahab.
For a guide to rage, consider this passage from Robin Blaser's poem "Mappa Mundi":
Olson once said he wished he could learn how to handle verticals from Boulez—horizontals being what we do everyday toward horizons—he had in mind the Second Piano Sonata, the eruptive violence of them—in conversation with Beethoven's Hammerklavier—a rage of rhythm. (Holy 389)

Readers of The Maximus Poems invariably confront eruptive verticality in the second volume. "

(For some short comments on Corbin also see Jed Rasula, "Spicer's Orpheus and the Emancipation of Pronouns" boundary 2, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jack Spicer (Autumn, 1977), pp. 51-102)

Photo: Timothy Leary, San Francisco, 1967. by Larry Keenan.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"The Apocalypse of Islam" by Norman O. Brown

"The Apocalypse of Islam," by Norman O. Brown. Social Text, No. 8 (Winter, 1983-1984), pp. 155-171.  This essay appeared,  along with a companion piece, also indispensible, "The Prophetic Tradition,"  in Brown's  Apocalypse &/or Metamorphosis, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991. And see this earlier post on Brown's posthumously published Lectures on Islam.

Photo: The Cave of the Seven Sleepers - Ephesus, Turkey. Jan Capello.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Corbin on Mulla Sadra (in French)

"La Place de Mollâ Sadrâ Shîrâzî (OB. 1050/1640) dans la philosophie iranienne," by Henry Corbin. Studia Islamica, No. 18 (1963), pp. 81-113. (On Mulla Sadra see The Sadra Islamic Philosophy Research Institute and the entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia.)

Photo: Nasir-al-Molk Mosque, Shiraz. Brian McMorrow 
"La Place de Mulla Sadra" - Henry Corbin (1963)

Friday, February 12, 2010

David Miller's 1978 Review of Le foi Prophetique et le Sacre

David L. Miller - Review of  Cahiers de l'Université de Saint Jean de Jérusalem #3: La Foi prophetique et le sacré: colloque tenu à Cambrai/Vaucelles les 25, 26 et 27 juin 1976. Paris: Berg International, 1977.  in The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 94-95. This volume of Cahiers contains Corbin's « L'Evangile de Barnabé et la prophétologie islamique ».
Miller - Review of La Foi Prophetique et le Sacre

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Imagination in Corbin & Eliade - Adriana Berger (1986)

"Cultural Hermeneutics: The Concept of Imagination in the Phenomenological Approaches of Henry Corbin and Mircea Eliade," Adriana Berger. The Journal of Religion, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Apr., 1986), pp. 141-156.

Some of Berger's later work is part of the extensive critique and discussion of Eliade's fascist and antisemitic roots. (See for example her chapter in Harrowitz, Nancy A. Tainted Greatness: Antisemitism and Cultural Heroes. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.) On this also see Wasserstrom, Steven M. Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. (Though Wasserstrom's treatment of Corbin is at best unfair and misleading, those with an interest in Corbin's work should be aware of the nature of the criticisms that have been leveled against him.)

Photo: Corbin, Eliade & Toshihiko Izutsu at Eranos.
Cultural Hermeneutics in Eliade & Corbin - Adriana Berger

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Nasr Reviews Corbin - 1982

Seyyéd Hossein Nasr: Review of Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth: From Mazdean Iran to Shî'ite IranTemple et Contemplation; La Philosophie iranienne aux xviie et xviiie siècles. In Religious Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun. 1982), pp. 233-236.

Nasr Reviews Corbin

Monday, February 8, 2010

Iranian Studies in France - A Short History

"Iranian Studies in France," by Bernard Hourcade. Iranian Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2/4, Iranian Studies in Europe and Japan (1987), pp. 1-51.  This piece is of some interest since it sets Corbin's work in historical context.

Photo: Reading room, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1862-8
Iranian Studies in France - Bernard Hourcade

Sunday, February 7, 2010

About This Blog

This little project has been going on for some time now - longer than I would have thought possible. There are 234 posts as of last count and there is a tremendous amount of information and there are innumerable links available here. I have long since given up trying to do any cross-referencing of posts and topics, useful as that would be. I haven't updated the Bibliography in a long while. This makes it all the more important that readers searching for information on Henry Corbin use the Search feature that appears above the latest post. It's really quite powerful and I use it myself when I can't remember where I've hidden some bit of information. I'm not sure how much longer this will go on, but things to post seem to keep arriving in one way or another. I have quite a backlog at the moment. I'll keep at it in my "spare time" as long as I have any. And I am always anxious to hear from readers who may have something to add. There will soon be 30,000 visits - including of course lots of hits from people looking for something else, or from the googlebot machine... Still, it is gratifying and I'm happy to have spent my time gathering so much together for others to use.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Islam & Psychoanalysis (& Henry Corbin)

Umbr(a): Islam, Edited and Introduced by Joan Copjec. Buffalo, NY: The Center for the Study of Psychoanalysis & Culture (SUNY, Buffalo), 2009.

This volume discusses Corbin's work in several places and contains two essays by Christian Jambet, "The Death of Epiphany" and "The Paradoxical One." (chapters from La Grande Resurrection d'Alamut and Le Cache et l'Apparent, translated by Dr. Copjec).The entire Table of Contents can be found in the amazon.com listing.

From the publisher's description: Regarding the questions raised by the current conflicts troubling our relations with various parts of the Islamic world, the premise of this special issue is that psychoanalysis offers a unique, powerful and even necessary approach. We anticipate that certain historicists and culturalists will protests that the discourse of psychoanalysis is entirely inappropriate to this task, that its categories for analyzing or rendering transparent the Arab mind cannot be transported to foreign soil and that the bid of do so is just another example of the West's ambition to Occidentalize the world, to market its franchise worldwide.... To contest these charges which, aimed at a straw science, miss their mark we will propose for psychoanalysis a different adjective, one that will help less to qualify than to de-qualify our de-regionalize it; psychoanalysis is, we suggest, an exotic science. In physics the existence of an exotic force accounts for the phenomenon in which objects that are close are pushed slightly away from each other. Psychoanalysis is that science devoted to studying the exotic force that operates in the subject to push her from herself, opening a margin of separation between her and parts of herself she will never be able to assimilate. The existence of this force is an unsimple fact with ramifying consequences for the conception of the subject and her relations with others....

I am also delighted to find that Umbr(a): Semblances (2006) contains Roland Vegso's translation of Corbin's important "Apophatic Theology as Antidote to Nihilism." (This is available in a different English version at Les Amis de Stella et Henry Corbin).

Dr. Copjec is interested in the relation of Corbin's work, particularly the concept of the imaginal world, to the thought  of Jacques Lacan. She has taught Corbin in some of her courses. I look forward to the publication of her thoughts on this.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mircea Eliade on Henry Corbin - Part 2

"Some Notes on Theosophia Perennis: Ananda K.Coomaraswamy and Henry Corbin," by Mircea Eliade. History of Religions, Vol 19, No. 2 (Nov. 1979): 167-76.

(For some background on Coomaraswamy see the World Wisdom page.)
Some Notes on Theosophia Perennis - Eliade

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Theopoetics - Corbin & Gaston Bachelard

David L. Miller has written a wonderful short essay in which he discusses, among other things, the relation between Corbin and Gaston Bachelard. I urge everyone with an interest in Corbin to read "The Body is No Body," in Boesel, Chris, and Catherine Keller. Apophatic Bodies: Negative Theology, Incarnation, and Relationality. New York: Fordham University Press, 2009. This chapter, and indeed perhaps much of this volume, is important reading for those with an interest in Corbin and contemporary theology.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Re-Visioning Resurrection - Roberts Avens (Part 7 in a Series)

"Re-Visioning Resurrection: St. Paul and Swedenborg," by Roberts Avens.
Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Winter, 1984), pp. 299-316

This relatively brief essay is important reading for anyone interested in the relations among Corbin, Swedenborg, Archetypal Psychology and Christianity. Everything by Avens is highly recommended - this might serve as a short introduction to his approach.

Christ of St. John of the Cross - Salvador Dali.

Re-Visioning Resurrection - By Roberts Avens