"...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, May 19, 2010

Hart on the New Atheists

I usually avoid postings that have little direct relevance to Henry Corbin, but a review essay by David Bentley Hart on the "new atheists" will be of interest to many readers of this blog. The essay, Believe It or Not is a review of 50 Voices of Disbelief and comes from First Things - it is a kind of "preview"of his recent book Atheist Delusions. Hart's comparison of Dennett, Dawkins, Hitchins et al. with Nietzsche is really nicely done. Hart is always entertaining. He is a powerful Orthodox Christian thinker and would be as dismissive and scornful of Corbin's docetism as he is of the flippant atheism he attacks here, but I generally learn something by reading his work and this short review is a nice counter to the nonsensical attacks on "religion" that have been most recently spawned by the horrors of violent fundamentalism.


  1. Thanks for this. Hart's essay is wonderful. As a left-leaning Pagan I don't make a habit of reading First Things, but this is really good stuff!

    Hart is absolutely on the money in contrasting the "sheer banality" of the New Atheists, with the "force" and the "intellectual courage" of Nietzsche.

  2. Yes. Thank you for the reference. Rather think that this sort of material is quite directly relevant to the life's work of Henry Corbin.