"...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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Thursday, April 4, 2013

"The Réalité-humaine of Henry Corbin" - Doctoral Thesis

Bligh, Rebecca. 2012. The Réalité-humaine of Henry Corbin. (full text available). Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London.

This thesis sets out to correlate—to hyphenate, even—the dual and historically disparate personae of Henry Corbin the first French translator of Heidegger, and Henry Corbin, Iranian Islamist and pioneering comparative philosopher. The thesis’ cynosure is a case for the philosophicohistorically contextual reconsideration of Corbin’s infamous translation of Heidegger’s term Dasein as “réalité-humaine”, as the result of the young Corbin’s own profound engagement with Heidegger as informed by the then philosophically avant-garde.
A contextual reading of Corbin’s late “Biographical Post-Scriptum” is enriched by the introduction of a correspondence between Corbin and the Warburg Library (chiefly Gertrud Bing), discovered to lie in the Warburg Library Archive in London, but which to date does not appear in Corbinian literature.
The self-proclaimed point, and cause of Corbin’s divergence from Heidegger is examined further. Traces of Corbin’s own professed “debt” to Heidegger will be shown to have indeed persisted throughout Corbin’s oeuvre. Close readings of the ontological role accorded to the transcendental imagination by Heidegger (after Kant) in the Kant book, and Heidegger’s proofs of the finitude of both Being and Dasein, as set forth in (the majority of) those texts included in Corbin’s 1938 Gallimard translation of Heidegger, Qu’est-ce que la métaphysique? (including Part 4 of the Kant book) and Parts 1-3 of the Kant book are read against Corbin’s own philosophy of the imaginal.

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