"...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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Coming in November

Poems for the Millennium, Volume 4:

In this fourth volume of the landmark Poems for the Millennium series, Pierre Joris and Habib Tengour present a comprehensive anthology of the written and oral literatures of the Maghreb, the region of North Africa that spans the modern nation states of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, and including a section on the influential Arabo-Berber and Jewish literary culture of Al-Andalus, which flourished in Spain between the ninth and fifteenth centuries. Beginning with the earliest pictograms and rock drawings and ending with the work of the current generation of post-independence and diasporic writers, this volume takes in a range of cultures and voices, including Berber, Phoenician, Jewish, Roman, Vandal, Arab, Ottoman, and French. Though concentrating on oral and written poetry and narratives, the book also draws on historical and geographical treatises, philosophical and esoteric traditions, song lyrics, and current prose experiments. These selections are arranged in five chronological “diwans” or chapters, which are interrupted by a series of “books” that supply extra detail, giving context or covering specific cultural areas in concentrated fashion. The selections are contextualized by a general introduction that situates the importance of this little-known culture area and individual commentaries for nearly each author.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Collecting Byzantine and Islamic Art

There are SIX in this series available at the Metmuseum youtube channel

A Scholars' Day Workshop: Collecting Byzantine and Islamic Art Part 1

Organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Center for the History of Collecting in America at The Frick Collection, this event takes place in the Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition exhibition and the new galleries for the art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia. Scholars and curators speak about different aspects of the collecting Byzantine and Islamic Art in front of featured works of art.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Read" or "Remember"?

"According to traditional interpretations, the verse (iqra bi-smi rabbika) commands the Prophet Muhammad to read the verses of the Qur’ān. But there is another way of understanding these verses, based on early Muslim tradition and sources, which yields a different interpretation and in turn reveals the spiritual secrets of the prophetic mission. This post explores how the first revelation of the Holy Qur’an – Surah al- ‘Alaq – was actually instructing the Prophet Muhammad in the remembrance (dhikr) of God’s Name and how the remembrance of the Divine Names facilitated the spiritual ascension of all the Prophets to the rank of Prophethood (nubuwwah) – including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Mary/Jesus, and Muhammad."

“This is emphasized by a hadith (a tradition) illustrating the Qur’ānic verse, which declares that Adam remained there, flung like an inert body, until God breathed His spirit into him, that is, until He has breathed into him spiritual science, the science of the esoteric things, that “science of NAMES” (Qur’ān 2:29), by means of which beings are promoted to their true being.” (Henry Corbin, Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam, 103-104)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tempus discretum. Henry Corbin all'Oriente dell'Occidente

Tempus discretum. Henry Corbin all'Oriente dell'Occidente di Glauco Giuliano

Il volume raccoglie tre studî rivolti alla figura accademica e spirituale di Henry Corbin, grande iranologo francese del XX secolo, considerata nella sua funzione mediatrice fra le espressioni filosofiche e teologiche dell’Oriente e dell’Occidente, e prosegue la ricerca avviata dalla casa editrice Torre d'Ercole con la pubblicazione de Le Combat pour l’Ange (Ricerche sulla filosofia mazdea).

Il primo capitolo tratteggia le principali categorie concettuali presenti nella sua opera, fra le quali quella di Mundus imaginalis – di cui fissa le molteplici e talora misconosciute valenze – e indaga il possibile significato geopolitico della nozione di EurAsia nel progetto di un’ermeneutica spirituale comparata.
Il secondo capitolo traduce e commenta il primo articolo pubblicato da Corbin, nel 1927, sui beneficî che la conoscenza dell’Oriente potrebbe arrecare all’Occidente, e pone in luce le anticipazioni dei successivi sviluppi speculativi. La riproduzione anastatica del testo è allegata al volume.
Il terzo capitolo analizza tre nodi della riflessione corbiniana: l’angelologia, il senso personale della temporalità (chronologia) e l’eredità della teurgia ermetico-neoplatonica, per concludersi sulla possibilità che l’opera di Corbin possa contribuire alla comparazione fra le metafisiche sviluppatesi nell’àmbito del Cristianesimo e del Buddhismo .
Il risultato complessivo della ricerca qui presentata contribuisce a liberare Henry Corbin dai limiti dell’islamologia e dello stesso orientalismo, per consegnarlo al progresso del grande dialogo in corso fra le componenti “esoteriche” dell’ecumene euroasiatica.
Glauco Giuliano, nato a Siracusa nel 1951 e laureato in filosofia, è un ricercatore indipendente che, nell’orizzonte dei proprî interessi spirituali e storico-religiosi, ha dedicato particolare attenzione ad Henry Corbin, sul quale ha pubblicato tre volumi di saggi, per le case editrici La Finestra di Lavis-Trento e Mimesis di Milano-Udine.

Thanks to Daniel Proulx for this.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Corbin's place in "Philosophical Space"

Having once worked in a very minor capacity in complex systems theory I can't resist the attraction of this kind of visualization. Simon Raper has done a wikipedia-based graphic of philosophical influences - see his blog entry here. Henry Corbin appears at the upper left in the graph below - which you will need to access from the blog to see the expandable version. The basic idea is this:

"Each philosopher is a node in the network and the lines between them (or edges in the terminology of graph theory) represents lines of influence. The node and text are sized according to the number of connections (both in and out). The algorithm that visualises the graph also tends to put the better connected nodes in the centre of the diagram so we see the most influential philosophers, in large text, clustered in the centre."

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ismā‘īlī Gnosis Blog

"The Ismā‘īlīsm which, during the tenth and eleventh centuries of our era, pioneered the most daring metaphysical thought in Islam… Its voice, at once original and traditional, should be heard again today—a task of which it seems that the young Ismā‘īlīs are aware." (Henry Corbin)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

All the World an Icon

Preview at Google Books. Order via amazon , B&N and Indiebound 

Praise for the Quartet: "In a series of brilliant books, Tom Cheetham has single-handedly brought the work of Henry Corbin forward to the English-speaking world in its depth and originality. Writing in prose at once lucid and inspired, Cheetham conveys the vision of Corbin into the Persian mystical tradition in ways that kindle reflection on the part of the reader. Drawing on extensive knowledge, Cheetham accomplishes what every serious scholar of this tradition seeks: to place the mark of thought upon a living legacy." Edward S. Casey, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, SUNY Stony Brook and author ofThe World at a Glance.

PRE-ORDER on amazon.
Read more on IndieBound 

"For anyone attracted to the elusive realm of creative imagination, this new book draws out and makes explicit what lives so strongly as a lure within the heart, the desire to find again our first home, the imaginal worlds and their inhabitants, the angels of creativity. As acknowledged master interpreter of the great work of Henry Corbin, Tom Cheetham follows Corbin’s path of seeing all the world as living symbol of the divine worlds. More, he shows how to go through the portal of the world as symbol to enter the imaginal realms in their intimate autonomy, and develop impeccable trust in their spontaneous appearance as personal images. Here, in this writing, we can learn interior listening, discovering the inherent poeticizing action of the word. This beautiful volume goes beyond, way beyond, any of our usual self-serving inclinations and leads us into being servants of the angel of the Earth." - Robert Sardello, Author of Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness

“Tom Cheetham once again exhibits in All the World an Icon a writing gift of taking complex and esoteric ideas that range and intermingle philosophy, mysticism, poetry, psychological schools of thought— as well as Sophianic wisdom and angelology—and weaves them into a coherent fabric for the intelligent layperson interested in a humanities inflected approach to Henry Corbin’s lifelong interest in promoting the Imagination as central to a fully lived life. Towards the end of his new book, he candidly and a bit gleefully admits, ‘My secret hero has always been a poet.’ Not surprising at all; he writes with a poetic sense and an intelligibility that invites and challenges his readers. I loved this book as much as I did the last one he wrote on Henry Corbin’s opus.” —Dennis Patrick Slattery, Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute and author of Day-to-Day Dante: Exploring Personal Myth Through the Divine Comedy

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Corbin on Sufism

Pierre Sipriot interroge Henry Corbin et Mounir Hafez au sujet du soufisme, ses rapports avec l'islam shî'ite et la gnose de tradition chrétienne. 

(with thanks to Aymeric Chaïb)