"...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, July 14, 2010

Thoughts on Poetry & Religion

Read Jason Derr on Poetry & Religion

 He begins with this quote:  "I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world." -Teilhard de Chardin, "Mass on the World" collected in Hymn of the Universe

In his very nice piece on poetry & metaphor as responses to fundamentalism, Derr writes:

"In her book Wisdom and Metaphor poet and philosopher Jan Zwicky argues for a poetic form of doing philosophy, one rooted in an understanding of metaphor. As she sees it, metaphor teaches us to see "X (as Y) and at the same time X is not Y." In her introduction she says we are not wise in a vacuum but are wise about things: people, situations and contexts. People who think metaphorically think truly, as their thinking follows the shape of the world.
Zwicky says that metaphor, as a philosophical device, is a form of seeing-as. Out in the Chinese wilderness de Chardin may have agreed. The poem -- in de Chardin's case his "Mass" -- opens up our longing and asks us to hold together a variety of images in their contradictions and similarities. Theologically it means that the theological task is less scientific-philosophical but more an act of seeing-as. The Mass de Chardin performed did not challenge Catholic liturgical authority, reform the church or introduce sweeping panentheist theological directions. But as a poem it drew its readers into a form of seeing-as that allowed a reimagining of the relationship between God and creation, and a meditation on the real presence of Christ in the elements as the story of God's relationship with all of material creation."

Read Derr's entire essay.
This, again, from Silliman's blog 

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