"...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, June 19, 2008

A First Encounter with Henry Corbin: Suggested Readings in English

Texts about Corbin:

Avens, Roberts. "The Subtle Realm: Corbin, Sufism and Swedenborg," in Immanuel Swedenborg: A Continuing Vision, ed. Robin Larson, Swedenborg Foundation, New York, 1988.
Bamford, Christopher. "Esoterism Today: The Example of Henry Corbin," in The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy, 1998, trans. Joseph Rowe, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley.
Bloom, Harold. "Preface" to Princeton Mythos re-issue of Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi, with the new title, Alone with the Alone, 1997.
Cheetham, Tom. The World Turned Inside Out: Henry Corbin and Islamic Mysticism. New Orleans: Spring Journal Books, 2003.
____ All the World an Icon: Henry Corbin & the Angelic Function of Beings, SF: North Atlantic Books, 2012.

Mahmoud, Samir. "From Heidegger to Suhrawardi: An Introduction to the thought of Henry Corbin."
Nasr, Seyyed Hossein
. "Henry Corbin: The Life and Works of the Occidental Exile in Quest of the Orient of Light," Ch. 17, in Traditional Islam in the Modern World, Kegan Paul International, London, 1987.
Shayegan, Daryush. Henry Corbin: La topographie spirituelle de l'Islam Iranien, Ed. de la Difference, Paris, 1990.

Texts by Henry Corbin
(See Henry Corbin Texts Online for access to some of these)
Short Pieces
"From Heiddeger to Suhrawardi: An Interview with Phillippe Nemo"
"Theophanies and Mirrors: Idols or Icons?" trans. Pratt & Donohue, Spring Journal, 1983.
"Eyes of Flesh and Eyes of Fire: Science and Gnosis," Material for Thought 8 (1980) Far West Institute, San Franciso.
"The Jasmine of the Fedeli d'Amore: A Discourse on Ruzbehan Baqli of Shiraz," Sphinx 3 (London), 1990.
“Mundus Imaginalis or the imaginary and the imaginal,” in Swedenborg and Esoteric Islam, Translated by L. Fox, West Chester, PA : Swedenborg Foundation, 1995.
"Youthfulness and Chivalry in Iranian Islam", translated by Christine Rhone, (Temenos Academy Review 11 and 12, Temenos Academy, London, 2008 and 2009). "Called in at the last minute to replace another speaker, Corbin gave this two-part lecture at the Eranos Conference of 1971. It is a spontaneous dive into Persian and Arabic linguistics, the source of eternal youth, and the common currents of the Paraclete and the Twelfth Imam. Only Corbin can accomplish this so gracefully." - Christine Rhone.

Books - these are perhaps his most accessible volumes
Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi.
Translated by Ralph Manheim, Princeton: Princeton University Press / Bollingen Series XCI, 1969. (Re-issued as Alone with the Alone, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). This is the book with which to begin.
The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism.
Translated by Nancy Pearson. New Lebanon, NY: Omega Publications, 1994.

Audio CD - Radio Interviews with H. Corbin
La Philosophie Islamique (In French)