"...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, March 6, 2012

Filippani-Ronconi on Corbin, again

It was recently pointed out to me, to my horror, that the following paragraph which I posted earlier can perhaps be misconstrued by those who do not know Corbin's work:

For those attending to the right-wing and fascist connections of various strands of esotericism in the 20th century this article will be of interest.  "HENRY CORBIN: A man and a work" by Pio Filippani-Ronconi East and West Vol. 4, No. 4 (JANUARY 1954) (pp. 259-262). (This illustrated piece is available via jstor for those with a connection).

That there is a connection between some exponents of "esotericism" and right wing ideology is well known. As I have made abundantly clear in my writings on Henry Corbin there is nothing whatever in his work that suggests that he was in any way sympathetic to such ideologies. To the contrary, his work provides a profoundly important antidote to such views. I only noted Filippani-Ronconi's essay because I think of this blog as a repository for any material that is relevant to Corbin and his concerns, and source material for the study of his work. It simply never occurred to me that anyone might understand the reference as a suggestion that Corbin had such fascist leanings himself. My apologies to those readers of this blog who were, rightly I think, offended by the possible misunderstandings this post may have caused.

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