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Henry Corbin

Paris 14 Aprild. Paris 7 OctoberFrench philosopher and orientalist best known as a major interpreter of the Persian role in the development of Islamic thought. He was graduated from the abbey school of St.

From Gilson he learned how to interpret early texts, as well as the importance of the Latin translations of Arabic philosophical texts. In he made his first trip to Germany and began to read the works of Martin Heidegger; two years later he visited Germany again and then went on to Sweden. The four articles he published there and other early works already dealt with themes important in his later works—notably hermeneutics, the link between knowing and being, and eschatological time.

In he married Stella Leenhardt, daughter of the celebrated anthropologist Maurice Leenhardt. Fondateur de la doctrine illuminative Paris, They planned to stay three months, but World War II kept them there until Corbin returned to Paris inand his subsequent career was divided between Paris and Tehran.

Between and he was also an active participant in the Eranos circle, a heterogeneous society of international scholars that met annually in Switzerland; he delivered many lectures at its meetings, on themes that he later developed in his publications.


The first two volumes of his major work En Islam iranien appeared in see below. The unveiling of that which is hidden? For Corbin the Persian world was clothed in symbolic meaning. The metaphysics of the imagination. They have called this universe by different names: On the threshold of this world time and space are reversed: That which was hidden is revealed; the invisible becomes visible.

It is thus a situating, rather than a situated, realm En Islam iranien IV, p. Finally, this realm has a visionary geography, with fabulous cities, mountains, miraculous springs, and rivers. Zoroastrianism, visionary recitals, and the inner mystical guide. First, he stressed the continuity of the spirituality of Islamic Persia with pre-Islamic Zoroastrian Persia. Platonic ideals became Persian archangels; the archangel Bahman, the angel Gabriel, and the active intelligence were thus equivalent concepts.

Third, Corbin was fascinated by the figures of the inner mystical guide and the perfect human types of the seeker, which reappear in various forms. Corbin believed that the inner guides on all these levels were to be identified with one another.

Only works on Islamic topics published in book form are listed below. He islajique wrote numerous journal articles, reviews, encyclopedia articles, and prefaces for monographs and editions by other scholars. Texts, translations, and commentaries. In each entry the number of pages of Arabic or Persian text is given first, followed by the number of pages in French.

Corbin wrote the introduction to a third volume, edited by S. Nasr and containing fourteen short Persian works, mostly mystical allegories ; repr. Monographs and other works.

Encyclopædia Iranica

Apart from his text editions Corbin published works that were either elaborations of his articles in Eranos-Jahrbuch or fresh contributions to the study of Persian thought. The most important are mentioned here in chronological order.


The Persian and Arabic texts are omitted in the English edition. After sketching in broad strokes the spiritual ties between Andalusia and Persia, Corbin described three pivotal events in the life of the great Spanish mystic: Pearson as Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth.

Histoire de la philosophie islamique with S. In the west Avicennism died out under the attacks of William of Auvergne, and Latin Averroism came to an end with the school of Padua. Avicenna had excellent direct disciples.

In this work Corbin discussed the various correspondences among colors, spiritual stations, organs, and prophets. Aspects spirituels et philosophiques 4 vols.

Formats and Editions of Histoire de la philosophie islamique []

In his thought none of these dimensions has priority over any other; rather, they can be compared to a melody that remains identical corbin-hisfoire structure and clearly recognizable when transposed into different keys.

Temple et contemplation Paris, ; tr. Morris as Cyclical Time and Ismaili GnosisLondon,three lectures delivered and published in the s and dealing respectively with cycles henr time in Mazdaism and Ismailism, the imam in Ismaili gnosis, and the relation between ancient gnosticism and Ismailism.

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