"...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, July 19, 2010

Here is an essay that will be of interest - with references to Corbin  -

The Gnosis of Artmaking and Teaching: Painting the Blue Medicine Buddha by Sally Gradle (2009) Educational Insights 13(2).


In this short work, I begin by exploring gnosis as a way of knowing that is direct, embodied, and embedded in the active imagination that is so essential in teaching and art making. As an artist and art educator, I utilize the phenomenological process of shikantaza, or “just sitting” as a methodology of witness. Second, I consider how compassion as a way of knowing can develop within a cosmology that recognizes the dependent, relational quality of everything that manifests. Last, I propose that releasing as a way of knowing opens the teacher and the artist in the most profound way to understand the experiences that occur in the classroom and beyond. As a parallel text, I offer three artist journal insights, composed as I worked through the process of presenting the Blue Medicine Buddha in a painting. 

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