"...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, November 4, 2011

Todd Lawson in London - Frye & the Koran

On Wednesday 9 November Prof. Todd Lawson of the University of Toronto will give a lecture on the late Prof. Northrop Frye, under the title "Frye & the Koran." Frye, one of the pre-eminent literary critics of the second half of the 20th century, changed the way the world thought about the connections between spiritual vision, myth and literature, first through his study of Blake (Fearful Symmetry 1947), then later by his studies of the Bible (The Great Code 1982, Words with Power 1990 and The Double Vision 1991). The insights he developed over these decades offered a new perspective on the coherence and integrity of the Bible in which the workings of myth, metaphor and apocalypse create what can be called a spiritual dimension of time. In these works he also made scattered and frequently very perceptive remarks about the Koran, its form and content. Research into his private papers at the University of Toronto, where he taught all his life, shows that his interest in the Koran started long before his published studies of the Bible. A close look reveals an imaginative domain in Frye’s consciousness common to both sacred books where the idea of the spiritual is given clear and perhaps distinctive meaning. (from the Temenos Academy Newsletter)

At The Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD (nearest underground Euston or Euston Square), doors open 6.30pm, lecture 7pm. An admission charge applies. Space is limited and reservation recommended.

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