"...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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Master's Thesis on Henry Corbin

Orientalism in reverse : Henry Corbin, Iranian philosophy, and the critique of the West by Mark Corrado, 2004. Simon Fraser University. PDF available here to authorized users only.

Abstract: This project examines the work of the seminal French Orientalist Henry Corbin (19031978) on Iranian philosophy and spirituality. As a member of both the European and Iranian academic elites, Corbin challenged traditional methods for the study of religion and constructed a provocative alternative methodology. Contrary to Edward Said's model of the Orientalist encounter with the "East," I maintain that Corbin's construction of the "Iranian religion" undermined traditional "Western" theology, philosophy, and science. In collaboration with Iranian scholars, Corbin contributed to an emergent discourse of reverse orientalism, in which the "West" served as the imperial, cultural, and profane "other" to a sacred and traditional Iran. From the 1950s to 1978, Corbin met and influenced leading Iranian theologians, philosophers, and politicians. Through his connection with this powerful intellectual elite, Corbin institutionalized his alternative methodology and approach to the study of religion in Iranian universities. The origins of his new ontological method of religious study were deeply rooted in both the politics of his French-Protestant revivalism and Heideggerian phenomenological philosophy. Through his major works of Iranian history, Corbin relentlessly criticized "Western" theologians as material reductionists and agnostics. At the same time, he presented Iran as an alternative model of national spirituality for the "West." This essentialized view of Iranian religion excluded more traditional Irano-Islamic modes of religion that emphasized morality, law, and the authority of the jaqih or jurist. By locating the essence of Iranian religion within a gnosticism, and then casting this as eternal, Corbin lent his authority to state-sponsored neognostic Irano-Islamic philosophers, such as Seyyed Hussein Nasr, who undermined contemporary revolutionary Islamic innovators, such as Ali Shari'ati. Corbin's work on Iran was representative of a French tradition of politically dissident philosopher/Orientalists, including Voltaire and Comte de Gobineau, who utilized their study of the "Orient" to criticize the French political establishment.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Call for Papers

Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence
6th-7th May 2011
University of Kent, Canterbury

In this inter-disciplinary conference we will be addressing the question of inspired creativity. In many traditions the fount of creative vision and the source of divinatory insight is located in an intelligent ‘other’, whether this is termed god, angel, spirit, muse or daimon, or whether it is seen as an aspect of the human imagination and the activation of the ‘unconscious’ in a Jungian sense. From the artistic genius to the tarot reader, the sense of communication with another order of reality is commonly attested. Such communication may take the form of a flash of intuitive insight, psychic or clairvoyant ability, or spiritual possession. In art and literature many forms have been given to the daimonic intelligence, from angels to aliens, and in the realm of new age practices encounters with spiritual beings are facilitated through an increasing variety of methods including shamanism, hypnotherapy, mediumship, psychedelics, channelling and spirit materialisation. Theories of divinatory practices such as astrology, tarot or I Ching often assume a spirit or god-like intelligence at work in symbolic interpretation, and guardian angels abound in self-help literature.

This conference is not concerned with ‘proving’ or ‘disproving’ the existence of such beings. Rather, we would invite papers that address the theme of how the ‘numinous other’ is conveyed and depicted, how its voice is heard, how it informs, and has always informed, human experience. We would like to engage the imagination and open up discussion, particularly around the subject of how researchers might best approach the study of such marginalised and culturally anomalous visions and experiences, and what their value might be.

The conference will be fully interdisciplinary, perspectives may include those from art, literature, divination, cultural studies, philosophy, theology and RS, spirituality, anthropology, classics, history, psychology, film studies and sociology. Presentations should be 30 minutes in length, to be followed by 15 minutes discussion.

Suggested themes:
The daimonic in art, literature, music, dreams, divination, psychotherapy
Philosophical, metaphysical, religious and transpersonal approaches to the daimonic
Spirit visions and mediumship
Spirits in shamanic and indigenous traditions
Jung and the unconscious
Paranormal encounters
The ‘otherworld’ and its inhabitants
Psychedelic encounters

Please send a title and abstract to:
William Rowlandson (w.rowlandson@kent.ac.uk [1]) and Angela Voss (a.voss@kent.ac.uk [2])
co-directors of the Centre for the Study of Myth at the University of Kent
by Monday 28th February 2011

Thursday, October 28, 2010


A few people have asked how to find details about the December symposium, which is indeed open to the public. The contact information for Les Amis de Stella et Henry Corbin is:

Docteur Daniel Gastambide, Président : danielgastambide@free.fr
Monsieur Pierre LORY, Le Secrétaire : pierre.lory@club-internet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


La hiérohistoire
Le samedi 18 décembre 2010
à l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris
amphithéatre Rataud

Président de séance : Leili Anvar-Chenderoff (INALCO)
9h 30 : Philippe FAURE (Université d’Orléans), « Des "évènements dans le Ciel" - Hiérohistoire et mystère liturgique dans la tradition chrétienne médiévale.
10 h 30 : Jaume FLAQUER (EPHE) « Un Souffle qui venait de Dieu : l’histoire du Fils de Marie d’après Ibn ‘Arabî »
11 h 30 : Jean CLERGUE (chercheur indépendant) « En quête de Henry Corbin, franc-maçon chevaleresque »

Président de séance : Françoise Bonardel (Université Paris 1)
14 h 30 : Pablo BENEITO (Université de Murcie) « La dimension symbolique de l'histoire ».
15 h 30 : Pierre LORY (EPHE – IFPO) « Les animaux ont-ils une part dans l’histoire sacrale des humains ? Réflexions sur l’Epître 22 des Frères Sincères (Ikhwân al-Safâ’) »

Nous nous réjouissons de vous y rencontrer.
Nous remercions vivement ceux qui nous ont adressé leur cotisation 2010.
Bien cordialement,

Pierre Lory, secrétaire général
Daniel Gastambide, président,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Henry Corbin, Islam & the Imagination

A day-long program, Saturday, October 9, 2010, offered by the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education and sponsored by the Temenos Academy.

Full details and registration here.

I am off to London, Canterbury & Oxford tomorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Journal of Islamic Philosophy

The Journal of Islamic Philosophy

The mission of the Journal of Islamic Philosophy is to encourage the academic study of Islamic philosophy.  The Journal provides a unique peer-reviewed forum to scholars, professors, and researchers for the philosophical discussion of topics in Islamic thought.  Classical Islamic philosophy of the past masters will be examined again with a new focus.  The underlying issues regarding the many ethical, metaphysical, existential, and epistemological challenges posed by western philosophy and others will be explored within an Islamic context.  We hope to serve as an impetus toward the renewal of the robust and dynamic spirit of advanced Islamic philosophical discourse in the current era. Prominent scholars serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal.

The Journal is now accepting submissions for future issues - details here

SPRING 2011 will bring a special issue on Mulla Sadra.