"...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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Monday, November 1, 2010

Le parcours philosophique de Henry Corbin

Le parcours philosophique de Henry Corbin: Phenomenologie-hermeneutique et philosophie prophetique by Daniel Proulx, M.A., Universite de Sherbrooke (Canada), 2010. On ProQuest here. I am delighted to be able to make this work available here, courtesy of the author. He can be contacted at Daniel.Proulx2@gmail.com. He is currently at the University of Montréal working on a thesis about the imagination in the spiritual experience of Ibn Arabi and Jakob Böhme.

Henry Corbin est-il un philosophe? À la lumière de notre recherche, nous sommes obligés de répondre par l’affirmative, il dit d’ailleurs de lui-même « je ne suis à vrai dire ni un germaniste ni même un orientaliste, mais un philosophe poursuivant sa Quête partout où l’Esprit le guide.» Mais comment comprendre et classifier un philosophe dont la Quête est guidée par l’Esprit? Henry Corbin a développé ce que nous devons nommer une « philosophie prophétique » et c’est par l’exploration de sa biographie et de ses influences de jeunesses, nommément Heidegger et Hamann, que nous pouvons esquisser les assises de sa méthode phénoménologico-herméneutique. Cette recherche se termine par l’exploration de l’espace (monde imaginal) et de l’organe de connaissance (imagination active) auquel nous rend attentifs la philosophie prophétique de Henry Corbin. Un monde où ont lieu et leur lieu les théophanies, les épopées mystiques et les visions des mystiques et théosophes. Mots-clés : Henry Corbin; philosophie prophétique; phénoménologie; herméneutique spirituelle; monde imaginal; hiérohistoire.

Is Henry Corbin a philosopher? According to our research, we are obliged to answer in the affirmative, as he says of himself: "Indeed, I am not nor a germanist, not even an orientalist but a philosopher pursuing his quest wherever the spirit guides him.” But how can one understand and categorize a philosopher whose quest is guided by the spirit? Henry Corbin has developed what we must call a "prophetic philosophy," and by exploring his biography and youthful influences, namely Heidegger and Hamann, we can lay the foundation of its phenomenologico-hermeneutical method. This research ends with the exploration of the space (imaginal world) and of the organ of knowledge (active imagination) which make us pay attention to the prophetic philosophy of Henry Corbin: a world in which the theophany, the mystical epics, and the visions of mystics and theosophists come about. Keywords : Henry Corbin, prophetic philosophy, phenomenology, spiritual hermeneutic, imaginal world, hierohistory

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