"...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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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

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