"...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


Thursday, September 15, 2016

New from OUP

Edited by Khaled El-Rouayheb and Sabine Schmidtke
Oxford University Press, 2016

The study of Islamic philosophy has entered a new and exciting phase in the last few years. Both the received canon of Islamic philosophers and the narrative of the course of Islamic philosophy are in the process of being radically questioned and revised. Most twentieth-century Western scholarship on Arabic or Islamic philosophy has focused on the period from the ninth century to the twelfth. It is a measure of the transformation that is currently underway in the field that, unlike other reference works, the Oxford Handbook has striven to give roughly equal weight to every century, from the ninth to the twentieth. The Handbook is also unique in that its 30 chapters are work-centered rather than person- or theme-centered, in particular taking advantage of recent new editions and translations that have renewed interest and debate around the Islamic philosophical canon. 

The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy gives both the advanced student and active scholar in Islamic philosophy, theology, and intellectual history, a strong sense of what a work in Islamic philosophy looks like and a deep view of the issues, concepts, and arguments that are at stake. Most importantly, it provides an up-to-date portrait of contemporary scholarship on Islamic philosophy.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Todd Lawson at the Ibn Arabi Symposium, 2016

The Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society 33rd Symposium 'Light & Knowledge' 
Wolfson College, Oxford March 2016. 
Video by Ayman Saey

Water and Light pervade the writings of Ibn 'Arabi as they do the Quran itself. In the poetic literalism of Ibn 'Arabi's discourse, these everyday realities are frequently involved in specific events of knowing. Knowledge appears to be built upon water and light. Water and Light are also essential "hormones of the imagination" – they are elements of the natural realm that lead us beyond nature. The living "natural" cosmos and everything in it, according to Ibn 'Arabi, is the imaginal (not imaginary) projection of the divine. Imagination is the single most powerful divine activity and it issues in what is frequently referred to in scripture as "creation". Humankind participate in this activity through the imagination. As Ibn ‘Arabi frequently has it, God describes the cosmos to us through us (laná biná). This issues in the most stirring and transformative instances of knowing. The light of the imagination draws us together to the primal scene of our collective beginning on the Day of the Covenant (Q 7:172), the birthplace of time, history and consciousness where we were all gathered in peace in the divine presence – in Quranic language much loved and venerated by Ibn 'Arabi, where "all are created from the same water " (Q 21:30). The poetic dynamics of water and light in the Quran and Ibn 'Arabi's writings generates a noetic and experiential music of remembrance, recognition and knowledge through which the revelation of our common humanity is nourished, our sense of our common dependence upon the Real is articulated and deepened, and our common engagement with the imaginal realm illumined and guided.

The purpose of this talk is to explore what appear to be similarities among three different Quranic elements which acquire significant importance in the writings of Ibn Arabi and to speculate on the nature of knowing, how it comes to be and what are its proper focii. Through considering the poetics of the Quran and the poetics of Ibn Arabi we hope to deepen our understanding of his teaching and, of course, the teaching of Islam. In this we will try to explicate how these three elements “hang together” to communicate something essential about the nature of the world we live in and the nature of the instrument we use to consider that world. Furthermore, we will offer some suggestions about the relationship between the dynamics of water, light and knowledge in conjunction with the imaginal activity of the Real and learning from Ibn ‘Arabi that the circulation of these metaphorical realities throughout the cosmos is the very life of the world and those in it. Some focus, toward the end of the talk, will fall on the “immutable entities” and their role in the ecological toning of the imagination.

Dr. Todd Lawson
Professor Emeritus
University of Toronto
1509 Sherbrooke St W
Apartment 34
Montreal, Quebec

Call for information

I have an email from someone trying to contact Hugo van Woerkom with regard to his translation of V.2 of En Islam iranien which can be found on Scribd here. There is apparently a possibility of publication. If anyone knows how he can be contacted I will pass along the information. Many thanks. - Tom Cheetham tcheetham@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Items of interest

Perception of Western Modernity from the Gaze of Ṣadraism: 
Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabā’ī’s and Murtaḍā Muṭahharī’s 
Critique of Modern Western Philosophy

Urs Gösken
International Journal of Persian Literature
Vol. 1, No. 1 (2016), pp. 142-163

Among the many Iranian thinkers who dealt with Western intellectual systems and concepts, Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ṭabāṭabā’ī (1903–81)1 and Murtaḍā Muṭahharī (1920–79),2 two of the leading religious scholars of their time, stand out as the first to attempt to subject crucial teachings of modern Western philosophy to critical discussion by assessing the intellectual quality of their reasoning and questioning their claim to superiority to premodern philosophical systems.3 The doctrines they mainly engaged in the wake of their project were Cartesianism, empiricism, Kantian criticism, positivism, and Hegelianism. Their intellectual enterprise, going back to the 1950s, comes after a period when Iranian intellectuals’ contact with Western philosophy had been mainly receptive, based on the premise that doctrines of modern philosophy such as positivism and materialism were indispensable for intellectual and cultural progress.4 In the nineteenth century—and up to the 1950s—Iranians who grappled with Western philosophy often did so under the impact of the then-current philosophical teachings in Europe like positivism, scientism, naturalism, and empiricism5 and later, with the growing influence of Marxism on political thinking in Iran, dialectical materialism.6 In selecting the doctrines they came to adopt, they were less guided by purely intellectual interests, and more, perhaps, by intellectual, political, and ideological tendencies. LINK HERE. (jstor)

And from 2002 in the Journal of the Ibn 'Arabi Society XXXII:

A Counter-History of Islam:
Ibn al-'Arabl within the Spiritual Topography of Henry Corbin 
Vahid Brown 

Henry Corbin was one of the most brilliant and sometimes un­ usual minds to rise to prominence in the western study of Islam during the twentieth century. At his death in 1978 he left behind a remarkable legacy of text editions and translations, studies and synopses, ranging over astonishingly wide areas of time and space within and beyond the Islamic world. While primarily dedicating his prodigious labors to the study of Iranian Islam, he also wrote about and translated texts from such varied fields as German existentialism, Rhenish mysticism, and Swedenborg's theology.1 The critical response to Corbin's scholarship has been similarly diverse, and runs a spectrum from ardent devotion to equally ardent objection.2 Among the reservations and notes of caution that are to be found in this critical reception, Corbin's idiosyncratic conception of Iran as the spiritual homeland of Islam's esoteric core is never far from the center of the argument. After examining this and related criticisms, it will be my purpose here to train their light onto one area of Corbin's interests and the object of constant reference in his work - the life and thought of the Andalusian mystical philosopher, Muhyi'd-DIn Ibn al-'Arabl (d.1240) - as embodied primarily in the independ­ ent study, Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi. It will be argued that Corbin's situating of Ibn al-'Arabl within the "spiritual topography" of Iranian gnostic spirituality led to a dis­ tortion and misrepresentation of the Shaykh al-Akbar in Islamic history and thus within the history of religions. FULL TEXT PDF.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Zoroastrians in New York

A Rare Glimpse Inside A Zoroastrian Temple In New York
Take a look inside Pomona, New York’s new Dar-e-Mehr temple.

Full article in The Huffington Post

Recent Citations

Disorientation and Inferred Autonomy: Kant and Schelling on Torture, Global Contest, and Practical Messianism

FS Scribner - Rethinking German Idealism, 2016
... As the great French Sufi scholar Henry Corbin notes, the polestar is the axis of metaphysical
geography; the quest for the mystical Orient is not achieved by traveling east: 'This mystic Orient,
the Orient-origin, is the heavenly pole, the point of orientation of the spiritual ascent. ...

[PDF] Asceticism, Mysticism, and Messianism: A Reappraisal of Schechter's Portrait of Sixteenth-Century Safed

ER Wolfson - Jewish Quarterly Review, 2016
... In my scholarship, I have employed the locution imaginal body, borrowed from the work of Henry
Corbin on Islamic esotericism, in order to convey this sense of embodiment that is not material
flesh but which is nevertheless a concrete phenomenon and not merely a figure of ...

[HTML] Ontology and the Aesthetics of Cinematographic Bodies

JY Heurtebise
... in the ontological reality of the body. This ontological reality is essentially, as Henry
Corbin says, “imaginal.”[9]. 4. Plato and Bresson: the refusal of sensibility and the
hand of the devil. The question of the representation of the ...

[PDF] Fernando Pessoa and Islam

F Boscaglia - Oriente e Orientalismo
... In fact, these references to the Arab and Persian imaginary and cultures are particularly related
to a line of thought about the ontology of imagination, which I have read in comparison with Henry
Corbin's studies about the Creative Imagination [Imagination Créatrice] (1958) in ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

This Fall in Washington DC

The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts

October 15, 2016–February 20, 2017
In recognition of one of the world’s extraordinary collections of Qur’ans, the Freer|Sackler is hosting a landmark exhibition, the first of its kind in the United States. Some fifty of the most sumptuous manuscripts from Herat to Istanbul will be featured in The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, opening this fall. Celebrated for their superb calligraphy and lavish illumination, these manuscripts—which range in date from the early eighth to the seventeenth century—are critical to the history of the arts of the book. They were once the prized possessions of Ottoman sultans and the ruling elite, who donated their Qur’ans to various institutions to express their personal piety and secure political power. Each manuscript tells a unique story, which will be explored in this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Franz von Baader

Sophia, Androgyny and the Feminine in Franz von Baader’s Christian Theosophy

J. Glenn Friesen
Religions, V. 216

with references to Corbin

Monday, May 23, 2016


tenue le 20 mai 2016 à l’EPHE
Salle 121, 190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris
Présents : Daniel Gastambide (président), Marc Gastambide (trésorier), Pierre Lory (secrétaire).
Mmes et MM. Catherine Aubriot, Jacques-Hubert Aubriot, Mireille Demun, Anne Gastambide, Martine Gastambide, Christian Jambet, Anilia Mezquida, Daniel Proulx.
Excusés : Mmes et MM. Michel Cazenave, Françoise Bonardel, Philippe Faure, Elizabeth Pena Velasco, Hélène Vetch.
La séance est ouverte par M. Daniel Gastambide, président de l’AAHSC, à 18 heures.
            Le rapport d’activités : M. Pierre Lory, secrétaire de l’AAHSC, fait le bilan de la dernière Journée Corbin du 28 novembre 2015 « Raison philosophique et expérience mystique ». Les échos quant à son contenu ont été favorables. Le moment choisi (novembre plutôt que décembre) semble plus approprié pour beaucoup de monde. Quant au lieu, l’Auditorium de l’EPHE, il a été adéquat, suffisamment vaste, et bien situé dans Paris.
M. Daniel Proulx, webmestre, expose le rapport des activités liées au site, à savoir :
 Archives Henry Corbin
De septembre à décembre, j’ai catalogué les archives Henry Corbin dans une base de données nationale, la description de la moitié des archives Henry Corbin est disponible à cette adresse http://www.calames.abes.fr/pub/#details?id=FileId-2016.
Avec la collaboration de Jean-François Pérouse, récupération de documents administratifs de l’Institut Français d'Études Anatoliennes (IFEA), anciennement Institut français d’archéologie d’Istanbul concernant la gérance de Corbin (1940-1945).
Martin Buber
Avec la collaboration de Dominique Bourel, vérification dans les archives Buber si des documents relatifs à Corbin s’y trouvent, car Corbin a eu l’intention de traduire Je et Tu de Buber.
Un compte Facebook de l’AAHSC a été créé le 8 septembre, pour le moment il n’y a que moi qui l’administre, mais ce serait bien si une autre personne me donnait un coup de main. En date d’aujourd’hui, 284 personnes suivent le compte. Généralement une dizaine de personnes s’ajoute chaque semaine. Environ 50 publications y ont été créées depuis septembre. Seules des publications directement en lien avec Henry Corbin y sont diffusées. Environ le tiers des publications consiste en la reprise des actualités du site.
Site web
Le site a été reconstruit complètement. Ce qui a demandé un immense travail. Je suis toujours le seul à l’entretenir, le mettre à jour et l’améliorer. Plusieurs documents PDF ont été ajoutés. Consulter la bibliographie (https://www.amiscorbin.com/bibliographie/ ) ou les articles sur Henry Corbin (https://www.amiscorbin.com/articles-henry-corbin/ ). À noter par exemple ces 4 textes de 1946 :https://www.amiscorbin.com/textes-de-1946/
L’objectif de cette année est de compléter le processus d’adhésion en ligne et par carte de crédit sur le site et en lien avec cette amélioration rendre disponibles les PDF uniquement aux membres de l’association afin de pérenniser les adhésions et l’association. Il faudra aussi travailler l’aspect multi langues.
Statistiques sur l’année : du 18 avril 2015 au 18 avril 2016
Sessions 13 370 / Utilisateurs 9 342 / Pages vues 28 672 et sur cela 4115 ont visité au moins deux fois le site, il y a aussi une centaine de personnes qui ont visité 10 fois ou plus le site. À noter que le site a été inactif environ 1 mois ½ à cause de sa reconstruction. Les pages les plus visitées :
1. Accueil 6379 vues, 22,25%
2. /textes-de-1946/ 1 086 vues, 3,79 %
3. /bibliographie/ 967 vues, 3,37 %
4. /journee-henry-corbin/ 800 vues, 2,79 %
5. /livres-de-henry-corbin/ 742 vues, 2,59 %
6. Accueil anglais /en/ 572 vues, 1,99 %
7. /biographie/de-heidegger-a-sohravardi/ 567 vues, 1,98 %
8. /articles-henry-corbin/ 436 vues, 1,52 %
9. /ressources-documentaires/mediatheque/ 395 vues,1,38 %
Je reçois plusieurs demandes par années concernant les archives ou plus généralement l’œuvre de Henry Corbin. Je réponds consciencieusement à toutes ces demandes, accompagne et aide les personnes pour les recherches en Archives.
Daniel PROULX, « La figure de la sophia chez Henry Corbin », dans Femme, Erôs et Philosophie édité par Elen-Dania DIOTTE-BESNOU, Daniel PROULX et Jean-Michel COUNET, Bruxelles, EME, coll. « Religions des philosophes » no. 5, 2016, p. 289-317.
Daniel PROULX, « La “philosophie islamique” : enjeux d'une perspective transnationale et non confessionnelle de l'islam », dansL'islam regards en coin édité par Samia AMOR, Québec, Presses de l'Université Laval, 2015, p. 99-114.
Publications en cours
Deux articles sur Corbin et l’imagination seront publiés. Le projet de publication des Écrits théologiques de jeunesse est toujours sur ma table de travail. En fait, la découverte du manuscrit des cours de Corbin sur Luther et Hamann (488 p.) va demander un travail de fond, de même pour le mémoire de fin d’études sur Luis de Léon.
            Le rapport financier est présenté par M. Marc Gastambide, trésorier de l’Association : sur les 12 derniers mois, les dépenses se sont
montées à 4.327,23€ (frais de tenue du site, travaux de recherche, frais de
déplacement, frais de banque), et les recettes à 9.436,25€ (cotisations et
droits d'auteurs). Le solde du compte de résultat est donc de +5 109,02€.
Le rapport d’activité et le rapport financier sont adoptés à l’unanimité.
Les questions diverses portent sur :
-  L’organisation de la Journée Corbin du 26 novembre 2016. Le thème choisi : « Imagination et imaginal ». Elle aura lieu comme en 2015 à l’Auditorium de l’EPHE. Le programme provisoire, à compléter, est le suivant :
Christian JAMBET : sur l'usage du concept du monde imaginal par les philosophes ishrâqiyyûn de l'école d'Ispahan, Mullâ Sadrâ et Qâzî Sa'îd Qummî (titre à préciser).
Daniel PROULX : « Les racines théologiques et philosophiques cachées derrière l’imaginal ».
Hady FAKHOURY : sur lien entre la sophiologie russe (ainsi que ses sources philosophico-théologiques byzantines et allemandes) et le concept de l'imaginal chez Corbin (titre à préciser).
Vincent DURAND-DASTES : (titre à préciser : sur les représentations du surnaturel dans la littérature narrative chinoise du XIIe au XIXe siècle)
Audrey FELLA : sur les visions de Hildegarde de Bingen (titre à préciser).
- La publication des « écrits de jeunesse » de Henry Corbin. M. Christian Jambet, qui vient de publier à CNRS Editions son livre Le gouvernement divin, nous signale que cette maison serait intéressée par la publication de textes de Corbin, et celui-ci pourrait tout à fait leur convenir. Il s’agirait d’achever la présentation du manuscrit avec un appareil de notes minimal, et d’y joindre une présentation. Daniel Proulx se propose de compléter l’édition de ce manuscrit, déjà bien avancé, après la soutenance de sa thèse à l’automne.
L’organisation d’une ou plusieurs conférences visant à présenter la pensée et l’œuvre de Henry Corbin à un public plus vaste. La demande d’une telle présentation est en effet ancienne, et insistante. Elle pourrait prendre la forme de l’explicitation d’éléments de la pensée de Corbin, à partir de textes précis. Ainsi, on pourrait partir du texte « Pour une charte de l’imaginal », placée en prélude à la 2eédition de Corps spirituel et terre céleste. Les conférences laisseraient une place large aux questions. Coordination : Pierre Lory, date proposée : le 5 novembre, à l’EPHE.
Autres questions diverses :
Proposition par M. Jambet d’une initiative consacrée à Stella Corbin, spécifiquement.
M. Jambet signale également l’intérêt qu’il y aurait à songer à une brochure sur Henry Corbin qui serait publiée à l’occasion du 150eanniversaire de l’EPHE.
La séance est close à 19 h 30.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Title of Interest

Guy G. Stroumsa

Launches the new Oxford Studies in the Abrahamic Religions series
Shows how religious history of late antiquity informs our understanding of the genesis of Islam
Examines the main developments in religious trends in the Near East (in particular in Christianity) from the first to the seventh century
Shows how the end of blood sacrifices represented one of the most significant transformations of religion in late antiquity.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

God is Beautiful

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5167-5
400 pages
February 2015, Polity

Reviewed by Todd Lawson:
doi: 10.1093/jaarel/lfw015
First published online: April 7, 2016

"... Though he does not mention it, the pioneering and prolific French scholar of Islamic thought,
Henry Corbin (d. 1978), was the first “Westerner” to have noticed, in several publications,
the literary-cum-existential power of this mode of reading/being and its instrumentality in ... "

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Todd Lawson on Ibn 'Arabi - May 7 in Berkeley

Ibn 'Arabi Society Lecture Series: An afternoon with Todd Lawson

Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley, CA
Saturday, May 7, 2016
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Water, Light, Knowledge: Towards an Ecology of Imagination

Robert Darr headshotTodd Lawson is emeritus professor of Islamic Thought at the University of Toronto where he taught for 25 years. He has published widely on Qur’an commentary (tafsir) the Qur'an as literature, Sufism, Shi'i Islam and the Babi and Bahai traditions. His book on Jesus in Islamic thought, The Crucifixion and the Qur'an was published in 2009 (Oneworld), his Gnostic Apocalypse and Islam in 2011 (Routledge). The article, "Qur'an and Epic" appeared recently in The Journal of Qur’anic Studies (2014: 16.1). This and other of his publications are available at www.toddlawson.ca. He is now writing a book on the Qur'an as sacred epic. He lives in Montreal.
"Water and Light pervade the writings of Ibn 'Arabi as they do the Quran itself. In the poetic literalism of Ibn 'Arabi's discourse, these everyday realities are frequently involved in specific events of knowing. Knowledge appears to be built upon water and light. Water and Light are also essential "hormones of the imagination" – they are elements of the natural realm that lead us beyond nature..."
Eventbrite - Ibn 'Arabi Society Lecture Series: an afternoon with Todd Lawson
The talk will be followed by discussion, and will take place in the Parlor Room at Northbrae Community Church, Berkeley.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

La figure de la sophia chez Henry Corbin

by Daniel Proulx
now available on Academia.edu


Henry Corbin's loving devotion to wisdom, to sophia, englobes the three terms of this conference. Without dealing directly with the notion of women and erös, this text explores the notion of sophia — philosophically feminine par excellence — in Henry Corbin's opus. This text is a first attempt to understand the Sophianic world as conceived by Henry Corbin. The axis chosen in undertaking this exploration is to rearticulate the influences on Corbin's thought in showing that the emphasis on Heidegger dissimulates the importance of sophia. This axis will also highlight an influence that has remained veiled, the Russian sophiologist Sergei Bulgakov's. In the course of this rearticulation, we will also encounter the sophiologies of Carl Gustav Jung and Nicolai Berdyaev - completing the picture of Western sophiologies present in Corbin's thought.