Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn 'Arabi

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"Henry Corbin's works are the best guide to the visionary tradition.... Corbin, like Scholem and Jonas, is remembered as a scholar of genius. He was uniquely equipped not only to recover Iranian Sufism for the West, but also to defend the principal Western traditions of esoteric spirituality."—From the introduction by Harold Bloom

Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) was one of the great mystics of all time. Through the richness of his personal experience and the constructive power of his intellect, he made a unique contribution to Shi'ite Sufism. In this book, which features a powerful new preface by Harold Bloom, Henry Corbin brings us to the very core of this movement with a penetrating analysis of Ibn 'Arabi's life and doctrines.

Corbin begins with a kind of spiritual topography of the twelfth century, emphasizing the differences between exoteric and esoteric forms of Islam. He also relates Islamic mysticism to mystical thought in the West. The remainder of the book is devoted to two complementary essays: on "Sympathy and Theosophy" and "Creative Imagination and Creative Prayer." A section of notes and appendices includes original translations of numerous Su fi treatises.

Harold Bloom's preface links Sufi mysticism with Shakespeare's visionary dramas and high tragedies, such as The Tempest and Hamlet. These works, he writes, intermix the empirical world with a transcendent element. Bloom shows us that this Shakespearean cosmos is analogous to Corbin's "Imaginal Realm" of the Sufis, the place of soul or souls.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691058344
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/2/1998
  • Series: Bollingen Series (General)
  • Edition description: With a New preface by Harold Bloom
  • Pages: 454
  • Sales rank: 631,039
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates
Between Andalusia and Iran: A Brief Spiritual Topography 3
The Curve and Symbols of Ibn 'Arabi's Life 38
At Averroes' Funeral 38
The Pilgrim to the Orient 46
The Disciple of Khidr 53
His Maturity and the Completion of His Work 68
The Situation of Esoterism 77
Divine Passion and Compassion 105
The Prayer of the Heliotrope 105
The "Pathetic God" 112
Of Unio Mystica as Unio Sympathetica 120
Sophiology and Devotio Sympathetica 136
The Sophianic Poem of a Fedele d'amore 136
The Dialectic of Love 145
The Creative Feminine 157
Prologue 179
The Creation as Theophany 184
The Creative Imagination as Theophany, or the "God from Whom All Being Is Created" 184
The God Manifested by the Theophanic Imagination 190
The "God Created in the Faiths" 195
The Recurrence of Creation 200
The Twofold Dimension of Beings 207
Theophanic Imagination and Creativity of the Heart 216
The Field of the Imagination 216
The Heart as a Subtile Organ 221
The Science of the Heart 237
Man's Prayer and God's Prayer 246
The Method of Theophanic Prayer 246
Homologations 257
The Secret of the Divine Responses 262
The "Form of God" 272
The Hadith of the Vision 272
Around the Mystic Ka'aba 277
Epilogue 282
Notes and Appendices 285
List of Works Cited 391
Index 399
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