"...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.

Search The Legacy of Henry Corbin: Over 800 Posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

In Search of the Lost Heart - Wm Chittick

In Search of the Lost Heart: Explorations in Islamic Thought
William C. Chittick - Author
Mohammed Rustom - Editor
Atif Khalil - Editor
Kazuyo Murata - Editor

Release Date: February 2012
Renowned scholar William C. Chittick explores the worldview of Islam in a series of essays written over thirty-six years.
In Search of the Lost Heart brings together twenty-six essays by William C. Chittick, renowned scholar of Sufism and Islamic philosophy. Written between 1975 and 2011, most of these essays are not readily available in Chittick’s own books. Although this is a collection, its editors have crafted it to be a book “sufficient unto itself, which, when taken as a whole, can be said to explore the underlying worldview of Islam.”

Chittick draws upon the writings of towering figures such as Ibn al-‘Arabi, Rumi, and Mulla Sadra, as well as other important, but lesser-known thinkers, as he engages with a wide variety of topics, such as the nature of being and knowledge, the relationship between love and scriptural hermeneutics, the practical and theoretical dimensions of Islamic mysticism, the phenomenon of religious diversity, and the ecological crisis.
William C. Chittick is Professor of Religious Studies at Stony Brook University, State University of New York. He is the author and translator of numerous books and articles on Islamic thought, Sufism, Shi‘ism, and Persian literature. His books include The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Cosmology; Imaginal Worlds: Ibn al-‘Arabi and the Problem of Religious Diversity; Faith and Practice of Islam: Three Thirteenth-Century Sufi Texts; The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Metaphysics of Imagination; The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi; and A Shi‘ite Anthology, all published by SUNY Press.Mohammed Rustom is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Carleton University. Atif Khalil is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Kazuyo Murata is a doctoral candidate in Islamic Studies at Yale University.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Vernacular Aristotelianism

While not directly relevant to Corbin & his concerns I can't pass up noting the following project of the Warwick University Centre for the Study of the Renaissance which would no doubt have delighted Etienne Gilson:

Starting 1 October 2010, a 3-year research project at Warwick (funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council) is studying the Renaissance diffusion of Aristotelian works in the Italian vernacular. This initiative tries to redress the almost exclusive concentration on Latin Aristotelianism among historians of philosophy and ideas in recent decades and aims to provide an electronic census and description of all relevant materials in both manuscript and print. Furthermore, it aims to bring together historians of language, literature, philosophy, science and culture to explore how Aristotelianism increasingly reached a broad and non-Latinate public.
The project, involving a collaboration between the University of Warwick and the Warburg Institute in London, is led by Dr David Lines (Warwick, Department of Italian), with the support at Warwick of Professor Simon Gilsonand, at the Warburg Institute, of Professor Jill Kraye. Professor Luca Bianchi (Vercelli), along with a distinguished group of scholars on the project's advisory board, is providing further expertise. A crucial part in the development of this project is played by the research fellow, Dr Eugenio Refini (based at Warwick), and by the PhD student, Miss Grace Allen (based at the Warburg).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thematic Displays and Interconnections in the Islamic Art Galleries

The New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia
Maryam Ekhtiar, senior research associate, Department of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thematic Displays and Interconnections
Explore the principal didactic and interpretive messages of the new galleries with a focus on themes and artistic exchanges.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Landscapes of Sufi Space in Mughal Delhi and Lahore

Annemarie Schimmel Memorial Lecture, 2011

James Wescoat, Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mughal tomb-gardens often sought physical proximity to Sufi shrines in ways that reshaped them in their era, and ours. This presentation explores the evolving spatial relationships between Mughal and Sufi landscapes of Delhi and Lahore— from Humayun's tomb-garden in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi to the Mian Mir tomb-complex of Lahore. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Notes of interest

We have these bits of news courtesy of Hadi Fakhoury:

There is a section on "Eranos and religionism: Scholem, Corbin and Eliade" in Wouter J. Hanegraaff's new book Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Also, in The Young Derrida and French Philosophy, 1945-1968 by Edward Baring (Cambridge University Press, 2011), there's a page with interesting facts about the French reception of Corbin's translation of Heidegger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Corbin & Jung - San Francisco

9:30 AM - 1:30 PM
4 Continuing Education Credits MD, PhD, LCSW, MFT, RN

"Some thirty-five years ago, I dreamed that my analyst, Dr. Joseph Henderson, was entirely green – skin, hair, eyes. He suggested that I read something Jung had written about “the green man,” but he could not remember where it was. Back at my office, I found it on the next page of The Symbols of Transformation, which I was reading at the time. Over the decades since, other synchronicities have kept me intrigued with the curious figure of Khidr in Sufi mysticism.

Central to Sufi lore is the mysterious figure of Khidr, or the Verdant One, who comes down from Islamic and pre-Islamic lore as a spiritual guide to anyone in need. He is the inner companion and guide, an angel or prophet, and the friend of God. Called Hezra in Persian lore, he is known as Elijah to the Jews and as the Paraclete to Christians. He is the physician of the heart who opens the seeker to deeper knowledge, and according to Henry Corbin, he is the Heavenly Witness who seeks each one of us in unique form.

More recently, I have begun to study the work of Henry Corbin (1903-1978), a French scholar at the Sorbonne, who delved deeply into the roots of Persian Sufism of the 12th to 13th centuries. Corbin was a regular speaker at the Eranos Lectures and thus knew Jung. He introduced the idea of “the mundus imaginalis” into Jungian psychology and showed us that active imagination is many centuries old in Persia. Corbin’s critique of Jung is both respectful and insightful, and adds a spiritual dimension to depth psychology from an unexpected source. The talk will include tentative questions about Corbin’s views on Christianity, Islam, and Jung’s theory of the shadow archetype, with time for meditation, discussion, and personal experience."

Richard Stein, MD is a psychiatrist and Jungian analyst who has been in private practice in San Francisco for 35 years. His experience in India in the early 1970’s led him to a lifelong exploration of the spiritual as well as clinical dimensions of Jungian depth psychology. He has taught for years in the analytic training as well as the public programs at the Jung Institute in San Francisco, as well as other training centers. His study of the parallels and differences between Jung and Sri Aurobindo has been expanded by explorations in shamanism, Sufism, and the kabbalah.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bunting's Persia

Forthcoming: Bunting’s Persia


Edited by Don Share, this slim anthology collects Basil Bunting’s translations from Persian poetry by Rudaki, Ferdowsi, Manuchehri, Sa‘di, Hafiz, and Obaid-e Zakani, including some that are previously unpublished. Bunting, who is widely regarded as one of the most important British poets of the twentieth century, proved unusual in his deep and abiding interest in Middle Eastern culture. Here, he renders poetry of remarkable tonal and emotional range in characteristically clear and resolute language.

“Reading Bunting’s translations, I am struck again by how fresh and strong they are, how vivid in their feeling, and how he digs into the spirit of the originals—a kind of passionate excavation work.”—Dick Davis, translator of The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Taxonomy of Recent Philosophy

Bridging the Analytic-Continental Divide By GARY GUTTING

With his usual clarity Gutting lays out a scheme that helps place Corbin's work in a useful context. Here's an excerpt:

"... Other versions of continental thought regard the essential activity of reason not as the logical regimentation of thought but as the creative exercise of intellectual imagination. This view is characteristic of most important French philosophers since the 1960s, beginning with Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze. They maintain that the standard logic analytic philosophers use can merely explicate what is implicit in the concepts with which we happen to begin; such logic is useless for the essential philosophical task, which they maintain is learning to think beyond these concepts.

Continental philosophies of experience try to probe beneath the concepts of everyday experience to discover the meanings that underlie them, to think the conditions for the possibility of our concepts. By contrast, continental philosophies of imagination try to think beyond those concepts, to, in some sense, think what is impossible..."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

H.D., Duncan, Corbin

I am delighted to be able to make available an important unpublished paper by Michael Boughn that will be of considerable interest to those wanting to understand the significance of Corbin for modern poetry. Boughn is co-editor (with Victor Coleman) of Robert Duncan's The H.D. Book. The Introduction to that volume has seemed to me a must-read for students of Corbin and literature. Boughn has also edited and written an Afterword to the collection Narthex and Other Stories by HD where he argues that H.D.'s fiction can be seen to work as "recitals" in the sense Corbin proposes in Avicenna - that there is an actual spiritual passage, an exegesis, in the prose. In the paper we make available here, "H.D., Robert Duncan and the question of the occult," Boughn helps clarify all at once several issues central to these subjects which I hope many readers will find as useful as I do. I am grateful to him for letting me make this document public.
H.D., Robert Duncan, And the Question of the Occult

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jambet: Qu'est-ce que la philosophie islamique?

Thanks to Daniel Proulx for this link to the podcast of Les racines du ciel where Christian Jambet talks about his new book Qu'est-ce que la philosophie islamique?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Corbin & Transpersonal Psychology

In part 2 of this essay Paul Cunningham examines the Medjugorje apparition from the perspective of empowered Imagination and the theories of Henry Corbin and Jess Byron Hollenback.

Cunningham, P. F. (2011). The Apparition at Medjugorje: A Transpersonal Perspective -- Part 1. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 43(1), 50-76.
Cunningham, P. F. (2011). The Apparition at Medjugorje: A Transpersonal Perspective -- Part 2.Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 43(1), 77-103.

Thanks to Daniel Proulx for this reference.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Corbin as Transnational Orientalist

"Transnational Orientalism. Henry Corbin in Iran," Matthijs van den Bos
Anthropos  Bd. 100, H. 1. (2005) (pp. 113-125).

ABSTRACT: A convergence of German, French, and Iranian interests cast the career of French Orientalist, philosopher, and theologian Henry Corbin (1903-1978). Corbin's Orientalism was in crucial respects a transnational project. This fact stands in contrast to Edward Said's thesis, which portrays Orientalism as unilateral imposition. The reality of collaboration in the construction of a "mystical East" is reinforced by another paradox: whereas "Corbinism" emerged in conjunction with the prerevolutionary polity in Iran, some of his pupils developed it towards Islamic Republican ideology. Thus, antihistoricist hermeneutics merged once more with indigenous representations of the self.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Global dialogue prize 2009: Dariush Shayegan

"Dariush Shayegan is one of Iran's prominent thinkers, cultural theorists and comparative philosophers. Shayegan studied at Sorbonne University in Paris. He was a Professor of Sanskrit and Indian religions at Tehran University. He wrote a novel "Land of Mirage" in French which won the ADELF award presented by the Association of French Authors on December 26, 2004. Dariush Shayegan is well known in France for his books in the field of philosophy and mysticism. Shayegan, who studied with Henry Corbin in Paris, also did many pioneering works on Persian mysticism and mystic poetry. He was a founding director of the Iranian Center for the Studies of Civilizations. In 1977, Shayegan initiated an international symposium on the "dialogue between civilizations," a concept that has been selectively appropriated in Iran. In 2009 Shayegan was awarded the inaugural Global Dialogue Prize, an international award for "Outstanding achievements in the advancement and application of intercultural value research", in recognition of his dialogical conception of cultural subjectivity."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Corbin Workshop in May, Mount Desert Island

The Alcyon Center Spiritual Vision of Henry Corbin - Weekend Workshop in Maine

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Agamben & Corbin, again

I have, thanks to Hadi Fakhoury, some more accurate information on Corbin and Giorgio Agamben.

Agamben makes at least two explicit references to Corbin in his works. The first and perhaps earliest reference to Corbin is in his article, "*Se. L’Assoluto e l’‘Ereignis,’” published in the Italian journal Aut Aut, 187-88 (1982): pp. 39-58. This article appeared in English as "*Se: Hegel's Absolute and Heidegger's Ereignis" in the collection of essays Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy (California: Stanford: 1999), pp. 116-137. Another reference to Corbin can be found in Agamben's essay "Walter Benjamin and the Demonic: Happiness and Historical Redemption," which can also be found in Potentialities, pp. 138-159. In both instances, the references to Corbin are rather incidental. One other explicit reference to Corbin is in the Introduction to a huge (2000+ pages) Italian volume on angels in the Abrahamic tradition, Angeli: Ebraismo, Cristianesimo, Islam (Vicenza: Neri Pozza Editore, 2009), edited by G. Agamben and Emanuele Coccia. Sometimes Agamben draws on Corbin without quoting him, for instance when he makes reference to the notion of the Imam in his book Signatura Rerum. He clearly draws this from Corbin, yet makes no reference to the latter in this instance.
A bit more on Corbin can be found in Giorgio Agamben: a critical introduction by Leland De la Durantaye (searchable online here). The author points out that Agamben drew on both Lacan & Corbin for his discussion of the phenomenon of the mirror.

Friday, February 3, 2012

4th ICSCS & INASWE Haifa

The Fourth Israeli Conference for the Study of Contemporary Spiritualities INASWE Haifa

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mysteries of Alast by F. Kazemi

Mysteries of Alast: The Realm of Subtle Entities (‘Ālam-i dharr) and the Primordial Covenant in the Babi–Baha'i Writings by Farshid Kazemi.

One of the more esoteric terms in Shi‘i–Shaykhi thought that has found its way into the vast corpus of the Babi–Baha'i sacred scriptures is called ‘the realm of subtle entities’ or ‘ālam-i dharr (lit. world of particles). The source of inspiration for this term (dharr) in the early Shi‘i cosmology and cosmogony lies in one of the more important and dramatic scenes which informs the whole spectrum of Islamic thought, namely the Primordial Covenant of Qur'an 7:171–2. READ the full abstract.  (Many references to Corbin herein.)