"...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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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Imaginary Muslims

Readers of Corbin's Creative Imagination will know of his fondness for the Uwaysi Sufis. This book is as far as I know the only one in English that discusses these people:

Baldick, Julian. Imaginary Muslims: The Uwaysi Sufis of Central Asia. Washington Square, New York: New York University Press, 1993.

Reviews of the books can be found here:

Review by Robert Irwin, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 58, No. 1 (1995), pp. 139-140.
Review by Alexander Knysh, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Apr., 1995), pp. 103-106.

See also Baldick's later work:

Baldick, Julian. Animal and Shaman: Ancient Religions of Central Asia. New York: New York University Press, 2000

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