"...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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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nasr on Corbin

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, and Ramin Jahanbegloo. In Search of the Sacred: A Conversation with Seyyed Hossein Nasr on His Life and Thought. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger, 2010.

Below are the most important pages in Nasr's discussion of Corbin.

Nasr on Corbin From in Search of the Sacred


  1. It's one of the most important biographic text about Corbin. It gives new light on, who was Corbin, because this text explains a part of the intimate world of Corbin.

    Daniel Proulx

  2. I would never have thought Corbin disliked Guenon and the traditionalists. I think they complement each other quite well. For example, Guenon's most enigmatic work, "The King of the World", becomes quite accesible once read with the understanding of the "mundus imaginalis" and the "hidden Imam". As Nasr observed: "[Corbin] was really the reviver of many aspects of traditional philosophy." Although I can understand Corbin's attack on Burckhardt, because my own impression is that he was not a great thinker. Then again, Corbin "definitely had sympathy" for Schuon's writings. That leaves me somewhat confused: what exactly was it that Corbin objected to in the writings of the traditionalists?! Probably the same as Schuon. The traditionalists were divided among each other. For example, Schuon in "Some Observations" is very critical about Guenon's over-intellectualization and anti-humanity, anti-individuality, anti-imagination, anti-mysticism and anti-Christianity. So probably it's that.