"...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, December 30, 2010

Berdyaev, Jung, Corbin

C.G. Jung and Nikolai Berdyaev: Individuation and the Person
By Georg Nicolaus, Routledge, 2010 (google books)

Many thanks to Hadi Fakhoury for alerting me to this book. He suggests that Berdyaev was a major influence on Henry Corbin.  Nicolaus notes (p. 7) Corbin's recognition of the link between Jung's "sophiology" and Bulgakov's - and by implication that of Berdyaev who Corbin knew in the 1930's. As Fakhoury points out, Corbin's interest in Berdyaev's work was life-long and he was elected President of the Berdyaev Association in 1974.

"Georg Nicolaus' writing leaps beyond mere comparison of systems of Depth Psychology and spirituality, establishing a foundation for a true Spiritual Psychology. Depth psychology has long needed a balancing of the dark interior sufferings of the psyche with the soul’s openness to the truth of Divine radiance. Here it is!" - Robert Sardello, author of Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness and Director of The School of Spiritual Psychology, USA

"Jung and Berdyaev were self-consciously modern thinkers with very different backgrounds: Swiss Protestantism and Russian Orthodoxy. Central to them both was the notion of the person, not as a given, but as a creative opportunity. Dr Nicolaus’ thoughtful book is the first to bring their ideas into dialogue." - Andrew Louth, Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University, UK

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