New PDF release: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi

By Henry Corbin

A penetrating research of the lifestyles and doctrines of the Spanish-born Arab theologian.

A penetrating research of the lifestyles and doctrines of the Spanish-born Arab theologian.

Originally released in 1969.

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The ecstatic heroes of this “Oriental theosophy” of Light are Plato, Hermes, Kay-Khusraw, Zarathustra, Muḥammad: the Iranian prophet and the Arab prophet. By the conjunction of Plato and Zarathustra (Zoroaster) Suhrawardī expresses a characteristic intention of the Iranian philosophy of the twelfth century, which thus anticipates by some three centuries the thinking of the famous Byzantine philosopher Gemistos Pletho. In contradistinction to the Peripatetics, the Ishrāqīyūn, the disciples of Suhrawardī, are designated as “Platonists” (Aṣḥāb 33 Aflaṭūn).

Even the dates to which they attach are only outward references; their true reference is “transhistorical”; most frequently it is situated in that intermediate world of subsistent Images, without which there would be no theophanies. We shall consider these events later on, grouped according to the sequence of three privileged symbols which orient the inner life curve of our shaikh. We should first like to consider them, as it were, in their polarizing function. 37 We have already gained a glimpse of the first event in evoking Ibn ‛Arabī looking on as the body of Averroes was brought back to Cordova; in his mind there arises a question whose sadness falls back upon the person of the great dead philosopher.

Consequently, we can trust him and rely on the authenticity of what he relates: “I know,” he says, “of no degree of mystic life, no religion or sect, but I myself have met someone who professed it, who believed in it and practiced it as his personal religion. ” This visionary master provides an example of perfect scientific probity; every student of religions, every theologian, might well adopt his maxim, even when their aim is not the specific aim of Ibn ‛Arabī’s quest. 61 The Pilgrim to the Orient Bearing all this in mind, we shall now follow our shaikh in the life of wandering which was one form of his earthly calling and which began at the approach of his thirtieth year.

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Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Arabi by Henry Corbin

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