"...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.
"Actually, I was just reading Suhrawardi, who was a Persian mystical philosopher from the twelfth century. I believe in Suhrawardi; a very practical outlook comes together in him between the rational intellect and the intuitive intellect and all of this. But he's basing a lot of his rational arguments in Neoplatonic philosophy, in a way. Once I was starting to try to get at the bases he was establishing, so that he could have the other half of things, which is sort of the mystical, enlightenment part of things.
Henry Corbin, who pretty much introduced Suhrawardi to the West, called him the "Hellenite magi" because he had one foot in the Hellenic world and one foot in ancient Zoroastrian mysticism. So it was that and the subsequent schools of Ishraqi schools of philosophy and doing background research on Neoplatonic philosophy that led me back to the Stoics first." Read the interview
"Feast Your Eyes" on Ancient Iranian Luxury Metalwork at the Freer and Sackler Galleries
One of the World's Greatest Collections of Iranian Metalwork Back on View February 4
Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran," on view at the
Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries beginning Feb. 4, explores the
beauty, role and function of luxury metalwork in ancient Iran. The
exhibition features more than 40 works fashioned in silver and gold
between the founding of the Achaemenid Empire ca. 550 B.C.E. and the
beginning of the Islamic period in the seventh century.
the Freer and Sackler house one of the world's most remarkable
collections, which offers invaluable insight into the lives of the
powerful of the period," said Julian Raby, the Dame Jillian Sackler
Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art.
exhibition coincides with the 25th anniversary of the founding of the
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and a large number of the objects were part
of Sackler's original gift. These are juxtaposed with works from the
Freer Gallery of Art, the Sackler's sister museum, one of the first
institutions in the U.S. to collect ancient Iranian metalwork.
in the connecting gallery between the two museums, the exhibition will
highlight how rulers expressed the political power and material wealth
of their empires through portable luxury objects.
vessels on display include finely hammered bowls, cups, plates, ewers
and bottles. Many of the objects were intended for elaborate,
multicourse banquets, for which the Iranians were known throughout the
ancient world. Others were used for more solemn religious ceremonies.
the most celebrated works is a silver-gilt royal hunting plate with the
portrait of Shapur II (309-379 C.E.), a Sasanian ruler recognizable by
his distinctive crown. Fashioned out of 19 separate components, the
plate is also one of the earliest Sasanian examples to depict a king
hunting-one of the most enduring royal images from the ancient Near
depicting rulers or royal hunting scenes, an activity long associated
with kingship in the ancient Near East, had yet another function: they
were used primarily as diplomatic gifts and sent as symbols of imperial
authority to far-flung corners of the Iranian Empire and along the Silk
Road as far as China, to strengthen diplomatic and commercial relations.
Military conflict between Iran and its western neighbors, first with
Alexander of Macedonia, which brought the Achaemenid Empire to a close
in 331 B.C., and later with the Romans, who vied for territorial and
economic control, introduced new techniques and motifs into Iranian
metalwork. For example, the figure of Dionysus, the Roman God of wine,
together with his female companions, appears on several vessels.
rare and remarkable object from the Sasanian period is a wine horn,
terminating in the head of a gazelle with a small spout, used for
pouring out wine. Horn-shaped drinking cups of this type were
continuously popular for at least a millennium.
art of ancient Iran had a lasting impact on the region long after the
arrival of Islam in the seventh century. Several objects in the
exhibition, including a magnificent gold jug, will highlight the
continued use and reinterpretation of ancient Iranian motifs in the
Your Eyes: A Taste for Luxury in Ancient Iran" will be accompanied by
an "Explore and Learn" feature on the Freer and Sackler's website, which
offers an in-depth look at the artistic, technical and historical
aspects of the Freer's celebrated hunting plate.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W.,
and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and
Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission
is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail
station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the
Freer and Sackler Galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other
events, the public may visit asia.si.edu. For information about special programs for the Sackler's 25th anniversary year, visit asia.si.edu/Sackler25. For general Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 633-5285.
Images from top: Wine horn with gazelle protome, Sasanian period, 4th century, silver and gilt, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S1987.33. Plate, Iran,
Sasanian period, Reign of Shapur II (309-379 C.E.), 4th century, silver
and gilt, purchase, Freer Gallery of Art, F1934.23.
From the Iran Books News Agency: 21 Jan 2012 12:57 "Henry Corbin and Shiite theosophy" was held on Wednesday, 18 Jan. by the Philosophy Book of the Month.
A session was held in the House of Literary in which Kamran Fani said: "Before Corbin's death, a perfect translation of his works weren’t released. However the condition improved following the Islamic Revolution and more of his books were translated but still many of his noted works weren’t converted into Persian."
Given the connections among Corbin, Jung & Swedenborg readers of Corbin may wish to know of Eugene Taylor's work on Jung & Swedenborg - one recent example of his studies can be found in Volume 2 Issue 2 of JUNG HISTORY in Jung on Swedenborg, Redivivus.
Michael Bylebyl, « From Dawn’s Art », described as "une sorte de récit évocateur, où H. Corbin joue un rôle remarquable" (Abstracta Iranicahere), pp 373-380 in Angelo-Michele Piemontese. Lewis, Franklin et Sharma, Sunil (eds.) , The Necklace of the Pleiades: Studies in Persian Literature Presented to Heshmat Moayyad on his 80th Birthday. Amsterdam & Lafayette, Indiana USA, Rozenberg Publishers & Purdue University Press, 2007, 380 pp. SOME of this truly remarkable tale can be read at the amazon link above - I discover thanks to an alert reader that the full text of the book can be found at library.nu. Bylebyl produced the "Ismaili muslimism" fascicle for Charles Olson's Curriculum of the Soul. Here is an excerpt from "From Dawn's Art":
"When Corbin walked into the room, his appearance surprised me. He was short, portly and white-haired, not at all the image conjured up from reading his books. With a deep suave voice he spoke exclusively in a French which was unique for its highly original sentence structure. Some of this was due no doubt to his expansive imagination. Some was due to the fact that he was almost totally deaf. At the start of the lecture he turned off his hearing aid, closed his eyes, and for the next hour shared with us the treasures of his imagination. Even though some of the details of Corbin’s lecture escaped me, I was struck by the man’s presence and the way his voice seemed to inhabit the hall. He seemed to be “out there” in a way which was unnerving, especially when he intoned the phrase “monde visionaire” as though the lecture was being conducted from some other dimension of reality. A lifetime of belief had created a terre celeste which he clearly inhabited and made visible to others."
"Suhrawardī's realm of the imaginal. " Marcotte, Roxanne D. (2011). In Ишрак: Ежегодник исламской философии. no 2 / Ishraq: Islamic philosophy yearbook. no. 2 (pp. 68-79) Moscow, Russia: Russian Academy of Sciences. Institute of Philosophy, Iranian Institute of Philosophy, Islamic culture research foundation. full PDF HERE
The Unpublished Works of Jung A Philemon Foundation Seminar
The Philemon Foundation is pleased to announce a seminar, from the afternoon of Friday, March 9th to the evening of Saturday, March 10th, 2012, at the Bodmer Foundation, in Geneva, Switzerland. The seminar is in conjunction with the Bodmer's ground-breaking exhibit,Jung and World Literature, featuring the calligraphic volume of Liber Novus, and never before exhibited manuscripts of Jung, his alchemy copy books, annotated works from his library, together with works that inspired him. Scholars including Thomas Fischer, Martin Liebscher, Sonu Shamdasani, Giovanni Sorge, Craig Stephenson and Eugene Taylor will present their current works in progress.
Further details about the program, scholars' presentations, and registration will follow.
We hope you will join us for this preview of what is to come in Jung scholarship.
Two volumes of the Philemon Series Edition have just been released by Princeton University Press: Jung Contra Freud: The 1912 New York Lectures on the Theory of Psychoanalysis, with a new introduction by Sonu Shamdasani, and Introduction to Jungian Psychology: Notes of the Seminar on Analytical Psychology Given in 1925, revised edition edited by Sonu Shamdasani.
Please remember that if books (and any other items) are ordered from Amazon via the Philemon Foundation website, www.philemonfoundation.org, a percentage of the price is donated to Philemon's present and future projects.
General Editor Prof. Sonu Shamdasani
Board of Directors Nancy Furlotti, Co-President, Treasurer Judith Harris, Co-President Beverley Zabriskie, Secretary Prof. Eugene Taylor Caterina Vezzoli
Staff Jill Firestone Controller
“Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life.” – C.G. Jung
“If one thing characterizes the active imagination Donahue brings
to bear on his poem, it’s his desire that the visionary reality he has
entered not be merely some dream, but a place of absolute reality. His
skill at conveying this feeling seems unmatched by any other living
American poet, such that parts of his poem exhibit a simultaneous
lightness of touch and gravitational pull, where surrealistic follies
vie with imaginal intensities.” —Peter O’Leary
“This is an
episode of high romance and mystical compassion within Joseph Donahue’s
on-going long poem — with the intertwining of love of the luminous
earth, the erotic transformations of muse-love, and the maternal gift —
the love of vocation and of the prophetic name of the poet all unrolling
in an elaborated strand of meditation. The work has medieval motifs
(like those of Duncan or of H.D.) reanimated in our time: forbidden
lovers, lyric folds inside songs of three cultures (Christian, Jewish,
Muslim), the garden, the shock of desire, the shock of sci-ence that
extends mystery, the shock of death and transfiguration, all compelling
in their endless aftermath. This is a book of continuous yearning, a
book of cosmic creation, a book of spiritual meditation all saturated by
Donahue’s angelic ear and eye.” —Rachel Blau DuPlessis
“Picasso said that whenever he painted there might not be an object, but
there was the fragrance of an object. In Dissolves, Joseph Donahue
combines some-thing like an object with something like a fragrance. His
cubism, unglazed and personal, produces magical other dimensions.”
“From the beginning of Dante’s serious poetic career, there exists the
bold idea that in the experience of loving Beatrice, he will discover
not only what is generally meant by the term Love. He will discover
that Love itself (the force, as he would conclude, which moves the sun
and the other stars) is going to bring about great changes in his
lifetime – changes to the Church, changes to the way that society is
ordered – as well as changes in the relations between men and women. To
this extent, Dante and Beatrice are to be seen as subversives, as
revolutionaries, in the sphere of human or secular love …”
This sounds like Corbin's Dante to me.