"...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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Friday, October 2, 2009

The Concept of Comparative Philosophy

As I noted in an earlier post, Corbin's Philosophie iranienne et philosophie comparee is now available here. The first of the four lectures which make up this small book can be found in English as The Concept of Comparative Philosophy, Ipswich (England): Golgonooza Press, 1981. This volume is long out of print & I have received permission from the publisher Brian Keeble to reproduce it here. The essay was originally a lecture to the Faculty of Letters at the University of Teheran in December, 1974. It was translated from the French by Peter Russell. This short but fascinating essay is well worth your attention.

Alexander Visits the Sage Plato: Page from a dispersed manuscript of the Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusrau Dihlavi, dated 1597–98; Mughal
Attributed to Basawan, Pakistan (Lahore)
Metropolitan Museum, NY.

The Concept of Comparative Philosophy

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