"...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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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Joan Copjec on Corbin & Schelling and more!

Her most recent work, which is focused on the cinema of Abbas Kiarostami, the Iranian filmmaker, and medieval Islamic philosophy, will be published in her next book, tentatively titled Cloud: Between Paris and Tehran.

Cloud, Precinct of the Theological-Historical

Joan Copjec

Psychoanalysis and History, Volume 20 Issue 3, Page 277-291, 
ISSN 1460-8235 
Available Online Nov 2018

Keywords: imaginal world, Cloud, tautegory, expression, Corbin, Lacan, Laplanche, Freud, Schelling, abyss, Abgrund, après-coup, Nachträglichkeit, tautegory



Regarded by many as the pre-eminent Islamicist of the twentieth century, Henry Corbin is also the subject of much criticism, aimed primarily at his supposed overemphasis on the mythological aspects of Islamic philosophy and his idiosyncratic privileging of the concept of the imaginal world. Taking seriously an unusual claim made by Steven Wasserstrom in Religion after Religion that the redeployment of Schelling's concept of tautegory by Corbin reveals all that is wrong with his work, this essay seeks to defend both the concept and Corbin's use of it. Developed by Schelling in his late work on mythology, the concept of tautegory turns out to be, for historical and theoretical reasons, a revelatory switch point. Not only does it make clear why the imaginal ‘locus’ is key to understanding the unity of God – the oneness of his apophatic and revealed dimensions – it also gives us profound insights into the links connecting Islamic philosophy, German Idealism, and psychoanalysis, which all take their bearings from the esoteric or mystical idea of an unconscious abyss.

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