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Charles M. Stang Doubles Down

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Our conversation turns to the enigmatic figure of Henry Corbin (pictured above, in conversation with Carl Jung), a divisive thinker whose work is deeply interested in the figure of the divine double and angelomorphic transformation. Dr Stang also takes on with aplomb a number of our trademark irresponsible questions, including the fascinating and tricky one of where the Doppelgänger or dark double fits into the story of divine twinship.

Interview Bio:

Charles M. Stang is Professor of Early Christian Thought at Harvard Divinity School. His interests include: the development of asceticism, monasticism, and mysticism in Christianity; ancient philosophy, especially Neoplatonism; the Syriac Christian tradition, especially the spread of the East Syrian tradition along the Silk Road; other philosophical and religious movements of the ancient Mediterranean, including Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Manichaeism; and modern continental philosophy and theology, especially as they intersect with the study of religion.

Works Cited in this Episode:

We have not listed every author mentioned in the discussion of modern authors on doubles – Freud, Poe, Pynchon, and even E.T.A. Hoffman are too well-known and easily-accessible to require bibliographic reference here. However, be sure to check out Sadegh Hedayat, the great Persian master of the macabre, if you haven’t already.

  • Henri Corbin. Alone with the Alone: Creative Imagination in the Ṣūfism of Ibn ‘Arabī. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1969.
  • Idem. The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism. Omega, New Lebanon, NY, 1994.

Recommended Reading:

For an extremely interesting discussion of Corbin by our guest, check out this clip, given at an online talk for the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Platonism.

Also of interest:

  • M. Sedgwick. Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. Oxford University Press, USA, 2004 [still the best general work on Traditionalism, and one which can lead one in various directions for further research].
  • John Walbridge and Hossein Ziai. The Philosophy of Illumination: a New Critical Edition of the Text of Hikmat al-Ishraq with English Translation, Notes, Commentary, and Introduction. Brigham Young University Press, Provo, UT, 1999 [the Introduction to this excellent crit. edit. and translation of Suhrawardi can serve as an exemplum for the kinds of criticism levelled at Corbin by historians of Islamic thought].
  • S. M. Wasserstrom. Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1999 [a history-of-religions discussion of Eranos’ significance. Much more work is needed in this context].