Henry Corbin

Henry Corbin (14 April 1903 – 7 October 1978) was a French philosopher, theologian, and Iranologist, professor of Islamic studies at the École pratique des hautes études. He was influential in extending the modern study of traditional Islamic philosophy from early ''falsafa'' to later and "mystical" figures such as Suhrawardi, Ibn Arabi, and Mulla Sadra Shirazi. With works such as ''Histoire de la philosophie islamique'' (1964), he challenged the common European view that philosophy in the Islamic world declined after Averroes and Avicenna.

Born into a Protestant family in Paris in April 1903, Corbin received a Catholic education, obtaining a certificate in Scholastic philosophy from the Catholic Institute of Paris at age 19. Three years later he took his "license de philosophie" under the Thomist thinker Étienne Gilson. He studied modern philosophy, including hermeneutics and phenomenology, becoming the first French translator of Martin Heidegger. In 1928, Louis Massignon (director of Islamic studies at the Sorbonne) introduced him to Suhrawardi, the 12th-century Persian Muslim thinker. In a late interview, Corbin said: "through my meeting with Suhrawardi, my spiritual destiny ... was sealed. Platonism, expressed in terms of the Zoroastrian angelology of ancient Persia, illuminated the path that I was seeking." He thus dedicated himself to understanding Iranian Islam, which he believed esoterically expressed older perennial insights related to Zoroastrianism and Platonism.

Corbin regularly spent time in Iran, working with Shia thinkers such as Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai and Seyyed Hossein Nasr. He also became prominent in the European Eranos circle of scholars initiated by Carl Jung, whose theories (such as the collective unconscious and active imagination) he appreciated. Aside from Islamic thought, Corbin wrote on Christian mysticism, especially Emanuel Swedenborg and the Holy Grail. Provided by Wikipedia
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