CORBIN, Henry

CORBIN, Henry. Paris 14.4.1903 — Paris 7.10.1978. French Philosopher, Theologian and Scholar of Iranian Religion and Islam. Son of Henri Arthur C. and Eugénie Fournier. Born in a Protestant family, but had catholic education. Studied philosophy in Paris (degree 1925), in 1928 led by Massignon to Suhrawardi. Now also studied Arabic and Sanskrit at É.P.H.É. In the 1930s worked in Bibliothèque nationale and spent several periods in Germany, where he met Heidegger. From 1937 taught Lutheran theology at É.P.H.É. During the war, 1949-45 further studies in Istanbul and finally in Tehran. From 1954 taught Islamic studies at É.P.H.É. in Paris (Massignon’s successor), also at École de Louvre, retired 1974. From 1950s on he spent autumn in Tehran /teaching at university in 1955-73), winter in Paris and spring in Ascona. Hon. dr. 1958 Tehran. Married 1933 Stella Leenhardt. He had wide philosophical interests (e.g. Heidegger and Swedenborg), but Iranian Sufi philosophy was the most important. He emphasized the role of Zoroastrian heritage in Iranian thinking.

Publications: Terre céleste et corps de résurrection. De l’Iran mazdéen à l’Iran shīʿite. 424 p. P. 1960, rev. ed. 1979, English tr. 1977.

Histoire de la philosophie islamique. 1-2. P. 1964, English tr. 1993; En Islam Iranien: Aspects spirituels et philosophiques. 1-4. P. 1971-73; and other works on Islamic philosophy, especially on Sufism, also wrote on Western philosophy, e.g. Heidegger.

Sources: *P. Filippani-Ronconi, E&W 4, 1953, 259-262; *Ch.-H. Fouchécour, JA 267, 1979, 231-237; *H. Landolt, “HC, 1903–1978: Between Philosophy and Orientalism”, JAOS 119, 1999, 484-490; M. Moramalco, “L’ultima tappa di HC”, Franci 1985, 125-132; D. Shayegan, Encyclopædia Iranica 6, 1993, 268-272; Wikipedia with further references.

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