"...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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Friday, March 4, 2011

Heavenly Discourses: Myth, Astronomy and Culture

An Interdisciplinary Conference


Nicholas Campion (School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, University of Wales Trinity Saint David)
Darrelyn Gunzburg (Department of History of Art, University of Bristol)

Wills Memorial Building
University of Bristol, UK
14-16 October 2011

Conference Theme

On 12 April 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space and the first to orbit the Earth. 2011 sees the fiftieth anniversary of that event. In almost every human culture the sky functions as a backdrop for mythical encounters, employing the celestial environment as a stage set for narratives of human and divine experience. That moment when human beings first left the planet gave us a different perspective on the sky. This conference will bring together scholars to examine the relationship between the heavens and culture through the arts, literature, religion and philosophy, both in history and the present. We invite proposals from academics in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Topics may include astronomy and music, literature, painting and the visual arts, architecture, religion, history and society.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Ronald Hutton
Professor of History, The University of Bristol.
"Prehistoric British Astronomy: Whatever Happened to the Earth and Sun?"

Professor Elliot Wolfson
Abraham Lieberman Professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, New York University.
"The Sefer Yetzirah and the creation cosmology of the Old Testament"

Professor Roger Beck
Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto.
"The Ancient Mithraeum as a Model Universe"

Professor Gerry Gilmore
Professor of Experimental Philosophy, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University.
"Artistic representations of astronomical time"

Professor David Malin
Adjunct Professor, RMIT Melbourne Australia. British-Australian astronomer and photographer, former Anglo-Australian Observatory
"From Microscope To Telescope"

Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson,
Department of Physics, Imperial College, London
The space programme (TBC)

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