"...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

Monday, February 29, 2016

On Kierkegaard and Subjectivity

In The NYTimes
FEBRUARY 28, 2016

This essay reminds me how Kierkegaardian Corbin's thought is.
And how important.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Space Ontology

Jameh Mosque, Qazvin, Iran

I bring this to your attention not so much because Corbin is mentioned (once, in passing) in the article but because of the inherent interest of the Journal...

Space Ontology International Journal (SOIJ) published by Qazvin Islamic Azad University (located in Iran) is a scholarly open access, peer-reviewed, quarterly and fully refereed journal with a primary objective to provide the academic community for the submission of new ideas, the state of the art research results and fundamental advances in all aspects of Architecture, Urban Design and Planning.

Current Issue: Volume 4, Issue 3, Autumn 2015, Page 1-74

Page 19-28
Hossein Soltanzadeh

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Scholastic Imagination - Mundus imaginalis & intellectus agens

He writes,

I’ve recently been reading up on medieval theories of cognition. The background is a paper I’m writing on esotericism and “kataphatic practices” – contemplative techniques where the practitioner uses mental imagery, sensory stimuli, and emotions to try and achieve some religious goal: Prayer, piety, divine knowledge, salvation, etc. Kataphatic practices may be distinguished from “apophatic” ones, which, although they may be pursuing the same goals, use very different techniques to achieve them: withdrawing from sensory input and attempting to empty the mind of any content, whether affective, linguistic, or imagery-related (note that the kataphatic-apophatic distinction is more commonly used as synonymous with positive vs. negative theology– that’s a related but separate issue to the one I talk about here). My argument is that esoteric practices are typically oriented toward kataphatic rather than apophatic techniques. The cultivation of mental imagery is usually key – which means that the notion of “imagination” needs to be investigated more thoroughly...

Later on in his post we find this:

But also on the theoretical side, it is tempting to say that the scholastic imagination exerted a major, long-lasting influence on various “esoteric epistemologies”. In a sense, this is a trivial observation: the imagination as a separate cognitive faculty, or an “inner sense” involved with perception and apprehension is an Aristotelian notion, and that Aristotelian notion re-entered European intellectual discourse through the Persian, Andalusian, Italian, and German scholars I have mentioned here. Moreover, that the “phantasms” created by the imaginative faculty can be mined for mystical insights is a notion that appears to enter European religious/intellectual discourse through Bonaventure’s synthesis of Aristotelianism and illuminationism.

So, if we look at the famous illustration in Robert Fludd’sUtriusque cosmi historia (“History of the two worlds”, 1617-1621) of how the cognitive system and (external and internal) senses reach out to the three worlds, at least on the cognitive side we still see the basic framework of Avicenna, Averroes, and Bonaventure. He lodges “imagination” between “sensation” and “mind”, with a window on to the mundus imaginalis, the “shadows” of the world. The connection of God and the angels with the “intellectual world”, influencing the “mind” and playing a direct part in assessing the images sent forward from imagination, still echoes the scholastic interpretation of Aristotle’s “agent intellect” acting on the “passive intellect”...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Persian Gardens

LM Farahani, B Motamed, E Jamei - 2016
... Based on Henry Corbin's study on the Mazdean cosmology, Alemi argues that Persian
chahar-bagh is a symbol of the universe, including the elements that can be found in a Persian
chahar-bagh (Alemi 1390). In chahar-baghs, terraces symbolize the ...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and Their Opponents in the Persianate World - April 2016 at Exeter

A three-day conference at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and Their Opponents in the Persianate World

14-16 April 2016
University of Exeter, UK

Opposition to Sufism and persecution of Sufis have been unfortunate facts of Islamic history for over a millennium. Many reasons for this opposition exist. Fundamentally, the conflict is rooted in differences of metaphysical and theological perspective – constituting an opposition between esoteric and exoteric modes of thinking. Although Muslim jurists, theologians and Sufis share similar ethico-spiritual and devotional concerns, the epistemological, theosophical and metaphysical interests of the Sufis usually completely differed from those of the jurists and the theologians who practice apologetic theology (kalam). The Sufis emphasise intuition (dhawq), inspiration (ilham) and mystical unveiling (kashf) as valid modes of esoteric knowledge (ma′rifa), use a secret symbolic language (lisan al-isharat), and express themselves through ‘words of ecstasy’ (shathiyyat) and erotic poetry, while the latter’s ideational framework depends overall on reason (’aql), logical demonstration (burhan) and a variety of rationalist approaches and disciplines.

With the controversial trial, and later, martyrdom of Mansur al-Hallaj in 922, the science of Sufism (’ilm al-tasawwuf) itself became severely contested by members of the orthodox Sunni religio-political establishment. Members of the Baghdad School of Sufis were persecuted in a series of inquisitions (mihan) conducted by the popular preacher Ghulam Khalil, who had accused them of being heretical antinomians (ahl al-ibaha). This was just the beginning of what was to become a contest between two quite separate visions of religion: a hardline legalistic, often puritanical, scripturalism promulgated by the exoteric theologians (’ulama al-zahir) and a tolerant, ecumenical, and broadminded intuitive approach to Islam advocated by Sufis whose vision of Canon Law of Islam (shari’a) accentuated the interior dimensions of its dogmas, rites and rituals, believing that God is better approached and apprehended by internal remembrance of the heart (dhikr), especially when amplified by listening to erotic poetry sung to musical accompaniment (sama’), than through legalistic speculation, ratiocination and logical argumentation.

With the rise of state-sponsored extremist Shi‘ite clericalism under the Safavids in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, most of the Sufi Orders were suppressed and driven out of Persia. A whole literature of anti-Sufi polemics was generated from the mid-sixteenth down to the early twentieth century in Persia, the social after-effects of which can be seen today in the current widespread destruction or state expropriation of Sufi shrines on the part of hardline Shi‘ite clerics in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the past three and a half decades, and the ongoing persecution, harassment and imprisonment of Sufis there.

On the literary level, many centuries before the rise of the Safavids, in classical Persian Sufi poetry one finds a similar opposition between juridical and Sufi Islam expressed in poetic imagery and figures of speech, a contested religious vision from which was generated several rich genres of satirical anti-clerical poetry in Persian known as ‘Songs of Infidelity’ (Kufriyya), ‘Wild-man Poetry’ (Qalandariyya) and ‘Sufi-Zoroastrian-symbolist verse’ (Gabriyya).

Bringing together scholars and specialists on Sufism from around the world, this conference, focused geographically on the Persianate world of greater Iran, Anatolia, the Ottoman Empire, and Central Asia, aims to examine the theological, philosophical, and literary dimensions of the Sufi/anti-Sufi conflict as much as its socio-historical causes and origins.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Henry Corbin et la gnose iranienne

We have this thanks to Les Amis in Paris:

Germain, G., « Henry Corbin et la gnose iranienne », Cahiers du Sud, t. LV, no. 371, 1963, p. 108-118.

Extrait : L’œuvre d'Henry Corbin, avec ses feux voilés, mais aux radiations pénétrantes, commence à percer en dehors des cercles spécialisés. Peut-être même - et ce serait un symptôme favorable - les opacités qu’elle rencontre s’observeraient- elles plutôt du côté des islamologues. Remarque qui ne veut pas être une insolence à leur égard ; il est inévitable que des recherches neuves et un tour d’esprit très personnel suscitent des réticences chez ceux qui se pensent en possession des « bonnes méthodes ». Gabriel Germain, Henry Corbin et la gnose iranienne, p. 108.

- See more HERE