"...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, May 4, 2012
Corbin tried to restore spirituality for western life
More on the Persian translation of En Islam Iranien from the Iran Book News Agency:
The second volume of Henry Corbin’s “Iranian Islam” converted into Persian by Reza Kouhkan was unveiled.
The second volume of Henry Corbin’s “Iranian Islam” was unveiled with
the presence of translator Reza Kouhkan, and editor Shahin Aavani.
the beginning of the session, Aavani termed the book criteria for
understanding the nature of research and methodology disregarding its
specialized content. “All works of Corbin, especially this four-volume
book are considered as a touchstone for international research. In this
work he has made a research map according to which he proceeds.
Bibliography and order dominate this collection and Corbin has referred
to sources that are available only in manuscript forms,” she said.
went on to highlight the role of Stella Leenhardt Corbin, the wife of
the French Orientalist and added: “Perhaps he could not have achieved
all these without the help of his wife and this should make a model for
Aavani added: “Corbin spent 20 whole years on
compiling this collection and meantime he got access to sources that are
of high value to Islamic philosophy researchers. The period extending
from Mirdamad to Mirfendreski is the most unknown to us. By studying
this period and introducing sources for that led to the compilation of
five volumes of research by late Ashtiani.”
Considering the fact
that most of our translations are made from English, translating such a
deep and scholastic text from original French is a valuable endeavor,
She added: “Corbin had intended the book for western
audiences and therefore, he presented a critique of western thought here
and there in the books. When translating the work, Kouhkan has
completed the approach by offering necessary notes in the footnotes.”
Kouhkan presented an introduction to the book: “The French title of the
book is ‘islam Iranien’ meaning ‘Iranian Islam’. But it has ethnic
connotations that are not true. Therefore, I have retitled it in Persian
as ‘Islam in the Land of Iran’.”
He continued: “Corbin is an
orientalist and yet he is not. He was devoted to the orient and oriental
Illuminationism and this book reveals a lot about and Shiism. Although
Suhrevardi seemingly separated Illuminationism from Shiism, Corbin
believes that Shiite beliefs dominate over it and that is why it has
spread throughout the Shia world.”
Kouhkan regarded Corbin as a
great elucidator and added: “Therefore I tried not to interfere with his
method and remained loyal to his style in my Persian translation. In
very few cases when Corbin addresses a western concept, I tried to add
margins to the book to make it clear for Iranian audiences.”
believe that a translation is different than an elucidation.
Unfortunately some translators tend to add notes to the original books
arguing with the writer’s opinions. Avoiding this, I have tried to
reflect the text to the readers as it is and therefore it should be
regarded as a loyal translation,” he added.
Kouhkan went on to
remark that Corbin’s research is scientific in the sense that he seeks
the truth in his research. Spirituality is the gravity point of Corbin’s
works. He tries to introduce a type of spirituality to western
audiences that is already lost in their lives.”
mentioned that in order to find the most appropriate equivalents in
Persian, he has studied the etymology of the terms in Latin and Greek.
Corbin’s “Iranian Islam” was unveiled last week at the central building
of Fars Literary Agency with the presence of Reza Kouhkan and Shahin