"...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, April 19, 2011

Foundations of the Imagination

Imagination, Incarnation 
and the Unity of the Prophetic Tradition


"Tom Cheetham has written a powerful book. With great talent, he shows how Henry Corbin's deep spirituality has the power to eliminate our "spiritual neediness," because it gives us what we are truly looking for: a non-literal god, a god that does not even ask to be called "God" (or "Goddess"), one that is the World, not beyond it. Cheetham's book should be required reading for all believers. He provides an alternative to the neurotic God complex that is tearing humanity apart. This book is much needed, offering a balm to wounds of the collective psyche..." - Ginette Paris, Author of Wisdom of the Psyche

"Cheetham’s passion for the material carries the reader into an ever-deepening appreciation of the huge importance of Henry Corbin for the re-valuation of vision and imagination. It seems to me a faultless book." –  James Hillman

"Tom Cheetham addresses us lucidly and accessibly, in a prose often kindled into lyricism by his dedication to his subject. His enthusiasm is infectious, the range of his knowledge daunting, the depth of his commitment an inspiration. The book is full of wisdom... It holds open a door which, for some at least among Cheetham’s readers, may bring them face to face at last with their true nature." - John Carey. Full Review.

"Cheetham's passionate engagement with Corbin's thought transforms his 'research' into something more than scholarship. In approaching some rather abstruse and easily ridiculed religious traditions with rigour and a critical eye, he brings them alive for the post-psychological West… In our present world, with obscene indulgence and famine competing for headlines, Cheetham's accessible and thoroughly intelligent exposition of traditions of mysticism, poetry and gnosis that try to attack the roots of these horrors couldn't be more welcome… [R]unning throughout this valuable book is something immensely courageous, and perpetually relevant: 'a quest to be open to the world without fear of violation'." - The Dreamflesh Library. Full Review.

"Henry Corbin was one of the most profound and original thinkers of the 20th century and without any doubt at all one of the most undersung scholars of our age... This book by Tom Cheetham will be celebrated by all who have known this but somehow felt powerless to change the situation. His clear, lucid, profound reading of Corbin, his patient, knowing and sincerely humble voice, will serve to commend and demystify the timeless and urgent message found in his subject... One is tempted to say that anyone interested in anything must read this book. And I think I will." - Todd Lawson, Author of Reason and Inspiration in Islam

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