"...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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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam

Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam: 
Qur'an, Exegesis, Messianism and the Literary Origins of the Babi Religion
(Iranian Studies) 
by Todd Lawson
Routledge, 2011.

From the publisher: Of the several works on the rise and development of the Babi movement, especially those dealing with the life and work of its founder, Sayyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi, few deal directly with the compelling and complex web of mysticism, theology and philosophy found in his earliest compositions.


Somehow it seems I never posted a note on this when it appeared. It is replete with references to Henry Corbin. Among them:  "The whole offers a perfect dramatic example of one of Corbin’s resounding insights: in Shi‘i Islam, the angel of revelation is identical with the angel of interpretation."

Review of Todd Lawson, Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam: Qur’an, Exegesis, Messianism, and the Literary Origins of the Babi Religion by Christopher Buck

Buck's Review concludes: "The present work is a refinement of Lawson’s doctoral dissertation (1987) at McGill University, Canada. It has aged, matured and sophisti-cated like fine wine in the barrel of Lawson’s subsequent work, and is inter-spersed with insights arising in subsequent studies. Thus, it is a work of original research on an original figure prismed by an original mind. Gnostic  Apocalypse and Islam is an instant classic in Babi/Baha’ studies. It is foundational to the academic study of Babi/Baha’i history and doctrine. Not only did it take a scholar with a command of Arabic and of the history, doctrine and arcane philosophy of Shi‘i Islam to write Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam. It took a gnostic."

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