"...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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Monday, October 5, 2009

Mensbrugge's From Dyad to Triad

For the sake of completeness I include here the illustrations from Alexis van der Mensbrugge's From Dyad to Triad which Corbin references in « La Sophia éternelle » Revue de culture européenne 5, 1953 (Portions in English as "The Eternal Sophia," translated by Molly Tuby, in Harvest vol. 31, London, 1985, here pdf). (See this earlier post.) See Father Alexis van der Mensbrugghe, From Dyad to Triad, a Plea for duality against dualism and an Essay towards the Synthesis of Orthodoxy, London: Faith Press; Morehouse Publishing: Milwaukee & New York, 1935, 153pp, 6 Plates).

Of the six plates Mensbrugge has this to say:

"Except the first one, which is a pen-drawing of the Sophia of Novgorod Cathedral (xi c.), the photogravures are all reproductions of old icons taken from the invaluable albums of N. P. Likhatchev (Materialy dlia istorii russkago iconopisania, S. Petersburg, 1905). I have chosen rather belated specimens (xvii.—xviii. c.) on purpose, to stress the continuity of the Sophian tradition in iconography. They are numbered as follows in Likhatchev: No. 487 (PI. 2), No. 446 (PI. 3), No. 611 (PI. 4), No. 613 (PI. 5), and No. 398 (PI. 6)."

The captions for the Plates read as follows (left to right, top to bottom):
1. The Wisdom Angel 2. The Wisdom Angel (xviii c.) 3. Wisdom as Mother, Son and Angel Counselor 4. Wisdom as Mother & Mediatrice between Father & Son 5. Wisdom as Son Unborn, Embedded in Father & Son 6. Wisdom as Throne of the Divine Three.

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