"...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

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Phenomenology and Historicism in the Study of Islamic Philosophy: The Significance of Corbin’s Approach

Phenomenology and Historicism in the Study of Islamic Philosophy: The Significance of Corbin’s Approach 

Zane Leach

Bachelor Global & Comparative Philosophy

Abstract:This essay concerns the significance of Henry Corbin’s methodology for the ‘Western’ study of Islamic philosophy and its relevance for the revival of traditional metaphysics in postmodernity. This methodology established itself as an alternative to the traditional scholastic and modern colonial approaches to the study of Islamic philosophy. Under the influence of Heidegger, Corbin developed a methodology wherein the inadequacies of modern historicism could be consummated into a reassessment of traditional metaphysics. The aim of this essay is to articulate the foundations and demonstrate the justifiability of Corbin’s approach. This is done for the purpose of elucidating how the metaphysics of Corbin and the Islamic Platonism from which he draws can contribute to the revitalization of contemporary Western philosophy. This essay thus constitutes an exploration of the problem of returning to traditional metaphysics through phenomenological hermeneutics and a corresponding mysticism.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Henry Corbin & the Arts... continued: Jarvis Brookfield

From Creative Boom

Psychedelic painter Jarvis Brookfield likes to delve deep into our psyches with his groundbreaking work; his latest exhibition is no exception. As he highlighted in our exclusive interview a while back, Jarvis's art is a celebration of the boundless nature of the imagination.

His new collection draws inspiration from Henry Corbin's essay The Mundus Imaginalis and delves into the concept of a "place of images in suspense," which exists between spiritual realms and the sensory world: a 'place' that's as ontologically real as the world we perceive.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

I am now on Substack

All my lectures and classes are now posted to my website and to Substack! 

Please subscribe for free here:  https://tomcheetham.substack.com

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Online Classes and other news.

As some of you may have noticed, I no longer post here with any regularity. My focus now is offering online classes. Sometimes I remember to post classes on my website tomcheetham.com, but your best way of seeing what is going on in my writing and teaching worlds is to subscribe to my email Newsletter. To get on the mailing list, please just email me, or go to my website and sign up there. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

“The Orientalist” to premiere in Tehran

TEHRAN – Iranian director Masud Taheri’s documentary “The Orientalist” about French philosopher, theologian and orientalist Henry Corbin, will premiere at Eyvan Shams Hall in Tehran on Monday. 
Produced by the Documentary and Experimental Film Center, the film is a sequel to Taheri’s 2017 documentary “The Eastern” about Japanese expert on Islam Toshihiko Izutsu. 
Moreover, “The Orientalist” will be reviewed during a session at the National Library and Archives of Iran on Tuesday. 
Scholars Enshallah Rahmati, Ehsan Shariati and Reza Kuhkan are scheduled to deliver speeches during the session. 
Corbin (1903-1978) was a philosopher, theologian, Iranologist and professor of Islamic Studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. He was the author of “En Islam Iranien” (Islam in Iran).
Photo: A poster for Iranian director Masud Taheri’s documentary “The Orientalist” about French scholar Henry Corbin.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Corbin Drama!!! This is big news.

Splinters of a Careless Alphabet
A staged reading of a new play by Roxanne Varzi

Sunday, November 10
Winifred Smith Hall
University of California, Irvine

On the eve of a major protest what can French philosophy possibly have to do with the Iranian Revolution?

The setting is a chance encounter on a snowy Tehran night between an Iranian student and a French philosopher. Ali, a newlywed graduate student at Tehran University goes to return a book at the University and ends up in the office of French philosopher Henri Corbin. Unable to pass up on the opportunity to speak with Corbin, Ali spends the evening discussing Mystical Islam while his new wife, Leili is out protesting. He hears gunshots and runs out into the crowd to look for her.
We regard the 1979 Iranian Revolution as an Islamic movement, few know that a French philosopher may have had an influence on the Revolution. Splinters of a Careless Alphabet brings philosophy, history and religion to life through three students and a prominent Western philosopher on the eve of the Iranian Revolution when they are forced to come to terms with the choices they made that night and the resulting effects on their faith, relationships and ultimately the future of the country.

Splinters of a Careless Alphabet has been read at the American Anthropological Association’s Visual Anthropology Festival in San Jose in 2018, at University of California Irvine’s graduate student Anthropology in Transit and at The Hopscotch Reading Room in Berlin, Germany. 

This is the first staged reading and will follow a workshop of the play by professional actors under the direction of Elina Dos Santos, Co-Artistic Director of the Rogue Machine Theatre, and Resident Director of the Pacific Resident Theatre, both in Los Angeles, CA. 

Roxanne Varzi is a writer, artist, filmmaker and professor of Anthropology at University of California, Irvine. She was born in Iran to an American mother and Iranian father and migrated to the U.S shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Journée Corbin 30 nov 2019

Journée Corbin 30 nov 2019

Daniel Gastambide, président de l'AAHSC
Marc Gastambide, trésorier
Pierre Lory, secrétaire général
- 9h30-10h30 André VAUCHEZ (Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres),«La militia Christi dans la spiritualité de l’Occident médiéval (XIIe-XIIIe siècles)»

-10h30-11h30 Christian JAMBET (EPHE), « Le Jihâd majeur selon Mullâ Sadrâ »

-11h30-12h30 Martin AURELL (Universitéde Poitiers), « Contester la croisade au
nom de l’Évangile aux XIIeet XIIIe siècles »

14h15-15h00 Daniel PROULX « Recherches historiques autour de la notion de combat chez Henry Corbin »

15h00-16h00 Sepideh PARSAPAJOUH (CNRS), « La passion des martyrs de
guerre en Iran chiite contemporain - Un regard anthropologique »

16h00-17h00 Kabira NAÏT RAÏSS (UC Louvain) : « Frontière militaire et eschatologie chez les premiers ascètes combattants de l’islam »

Samedi 30 novembre 2019de 9h30 à 17h30 à l’amphithéâtre de l’INHA, 
2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The World Turned Inside Out in a new translation!

The World Turned Inside Out
Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism

by Tom Cheetham

Translated by
Amir Hossein Pournamdar

in Farsi! Available here:


Sunday, July 7, 2019



Mark Roblee

Readers of this blog will find MUCH of interest in this dissertation,
which can be accessed as a pdf here:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hermes Explained

Hardcover – June 17, 2019
by Wouter Hanegraaff (Editor), Peter Forshaw (Editor), Marco Pasi (Editor)

Few fields of academic research are surrounded by so many misunderstandings and misconceptions as the study of Western esotericism. For twenty years now, the Centre for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (University of Amsterdam) has been at the forefront of international scholarship in this domain. This anniversary volume seeks to make the modern study of Western esotericism more widely known beyond specialist circles, while addressing a range of misconceptions, biases, and prejudices that still tend to surround it. Thirty-one major scholars in the field respond to questions about a wide range of unfamiliar ideas, traditions, practices, problems, and personalities that are central to the field. By challenging many taken-for-granted assumptions about religion, science, philosophy, and the arts, this volume demonstrates why the modern study of esotericism leads us to reconsider much that we thought we knew about the story of Western culture.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

New Translation!!!


De los cinco libros que Tom Cheetham ha consagrado a la obra del gran islamólogo francés Henry Corbin (1903-1978), es este volumen el que dedica mayor extensión y profundidad a descifrar el término árabe ta?wil, que conforma en sí mismo el concepto más importante de todo el corpus corbiniano. Ta?wil es la interpretación espiritual del sentido interior del Corán, que debe distinguirse de su lectura literal para convertirse en la tarea esencial de cualquier búsqueda espiritual. Tras ofrecer una visión general de la vida y obra de Corbin, que tanto amplió el contexto hermenéutico de las religiones, la espiritualidad contemporánea y la teoría y práctica del arte, especialmente de la poesía, Cheetham nos va desvelando el concepto ismailí de la gnosis del tiempo cíclico y ciertos relatos visionarios de Avicena, para explicar el sentido interior e integral de la Palabra en los textos sagrados e introducirnos en la hermenéutica del retorno al sentido original. Pero la idea central de este ensayo es la Imaginación, con mayúsculas, como potencia espiritual. El autor intenta clarificar las diferencias entre las perspectivas de Corbin, Jung y Hillman sobre su naturaleza. Algo que «no es un ejercicio meramente erudito», dice Cheetham, «desde el momento en que constatamos el papel esencial que juega en el gran esquema de las cosas, cómo influye decisivamente en lo que cada cual imagina y cómo uno responde a las demandas que crea la propia Imaginación». Tom Cheetham, además de sus cinco libros sobre las implicaciones de la obra de Henry Corbin en el mundo contemporáneo, ha escrito un volumen de poemas. Es miembro de la Academia Temenos ?fundada por Kathleen Raine y dedicada al fomento de las artes de la Imaginación? y profesor adjunto de la Universidad del Atlántico en Bar Harbor, Maine.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


I'm going to send out a semi-regular email Newsletter with information about online classes, lectures & workshops, new writing and other bits of interest. 

Sign up for it

& thanks for your interest

Tom Cheetham

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Summer Online Corbin Course

After Prophecy
Henry Corbin & the Angel Out Ahead


Tom Cheetham
8 Week OnLine Class
Tuesdays, May 14 — July 2 2019
3pm New York Time

TO REGISTER CONTACT tcheetham@gmail.com

3rd in a series introducing the work of Henry Corbin. 
This course can be taken with no prerequisite. 
We meet once a week for approximately 2 ½ hours.
All sessions are recorded and available for download by registered students. 
Tuition for the course is $300, or $40 per session.
"Scholarships" are available for those in need. 


"Mundus Imaginalis or the Imaginary and the Imaginal" 
The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism

& selections from 

Temple and Contemplation 
Cyclical Time and Ismaili Gnosis

Texts are available as pdf files free of charge through links I will provide.  
There will be a weekly Newsletter with notes and reference material. 

Tom Cheetham, PhD, is a biologist, philosopher and poet. He is the author of five books on the imagination in psychology, religion and the arts, most recently Imaginal Love (2015), and a book of poems, Boundary Violations (2015). He compiled the bibliography of archetypal psychology for James Hillman’s Archetypal Psychology: A Brief Account and is editor of volume 11 of the Uniform Edition of Hillman's works, On Depression (forthcoming). He is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy in London and teaches and lectures regularly in Europe and the US.
Amazon Author Page