"...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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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Corbin as Transnational Orientalist

"Transnational Orientalism. Henry Corbin in Iran," Matthijs van den Bos
Anthropos  Bd. 100, H. 1. (2005) (pp. 113-125).

ABSTRACT: A convergence of German, French, and Iranian interests cast the career of French Orientalist, philosopher, and theologian Henry Corbin (1903-1978). Corbin's Orientalism was in crucial respects a transnational project. This fact stands in contrast to Edward Said's thesis, which portrays Orientalism as unilateral imposition. The reality of collaboration in the construction of a "mystical East" is reinforced by another paradox: whereas "Corbinism" emerged in conjunction with the prerevolutionary polity in Iran, some of his pupils developed it towards Islamic Republican ideology. Thus, antihistoricist hermeneutics merged once more with indigenous representations of the self.

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