Was it innocent, this way Corbin began one of his Eranos lectures?
Politics aside, the subject of the lecture is the meaning of the temple, whether it’s a church or a mosque or what have you, what is the spiritual meaning of the temple?
To begin, he says a couple of the main Sufis agree on the following
the intermediate world of the barzakh, the world in-between. [Suhrawardi’s] name for it is the Koranic “meeting-place of the two seas” (majma’ al-bahrayn). He sees it as the place where the world of pure Ideas in their intelligible substantiality meets with the world of the objects of sense perception.
Maybe it’s just me, I feel like when I learn about Islam I’m simultaneously getting a better idea of Christianity too. I’ve talked about this regarding theurgy before- what is a church supposed to be? Is that what’s supposed to happen there, the meeting between the two seas? Our Prot ethos will tell us that happens best in an individual way, in the privacy of your own home. What if that can happen best when you’re in a temple?
Remember when the Notre Dame church burned down recently? I recall seeing prog-types cheering it on. Were they celebrating the destruction of the meeting between the two seas, I wonder. The Temple where the Ideas and material reality exist as one in an in-between world? Is that what they liked about it burning, that THAT was what was burning? Remember, certain people perceive angels as demons, and that is just an anthropomorphic way of talking about the Ideas. So I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what they were cheering. An angel being hit by a fireball and falling from the sky. “Nasty people” as they’re called.
Corbin turns Freud on his head here, and I think Freud IS part of the foundation of contemporary atheism, so this is important
the vision of the Angel, and thence of the Imago Templi, does not emerge from the negativity of an unconscious, but descends from a level of a positively differentiated supra-consciousness.
In other words, it’s a myth that people visited temples throughout history out of “irrational fear” or some kind of instinctive superstition. You know I’m right that this is what people presuppose these days.
Anyway, the “Imago Templi” is his term that signifies the temple beyond the mundane, brick and mortar temple, its higher meaning outside the empirical realm of eating and gossiping. You been there for a while?
What kind of sick person would like to see an angel burn up and plummet to earth? Those people are out there.
This is a recurrent motif in Corbin
the Imago Templi is not allegorical but “tautegorical”; that is to say, it should not be understood as concealing the Other whose form it is. It is to be understood in its identity with that Other, and as being itself the thing which it expresses.
So, that brick and mortar building IS the Imago Templi. It’s not a symbol, it’s the sacred existing right in the middle of ordinary reality.
Some of my hippie friends might be reading this and thinking “That’s kinda trippy, man.” Yeah, I agree. It’s kind of just right there, it’s an angel in normal reality that we mistook for a building.
You’ve probably never been to a church like that in your life. This is only what it is when we think of it as an ideal form. It’s the meaning of what it could be. Oftentimes it probably isn’t the church’s fault it isn’t an Imago Templi, it’s the individual’s fault for not having a “Sufi’s” understanding of it.
You must be real arrogant to think your own house is a temple. What are you, God? I think there’s a better place for “the meeting of the two seas” than your own house. How mundane that temple is, if that is your temple. It probably reflects something about your soul if you see no difference between a temple and your own house.
This melding of Judaism and Hermeticism is pretty profound
Pretend that there was a building with the Holy Grail on an altar in it. This is a way to remember “the ideal” after all the pedophilia and such within the church. Just because all that happened doesn’t mean there isn’t an ideal there that they corrupted.
Imagine that hand in the sky again. It drops the keys down to you and you catch them. You have them back. You use them to open the door to the Imago Templi.
Corbin’s one of those ones that redeems all the nonsense that’s been spewed out of France for decades (centuries?)
It seems like in our culture the image of someone holding their hands together and praying to the above, on the verge of tears in gratitude, saying thank you, thank you for this gift of life! is perceived as embarrassing or something. I wish there was a place that would facilitate that.
He seems spot-on with this
The ordeal of exile no longer exists; instead, there is a deliberate refusal to feel exiled, a rejection of the idea of the world as the crypt of the Temple
People don’t look for that hand in the sky that might drop them keys, because they don’t believe there are doors to an Imago Templi to unlock, with a Holy Grail inside.
The Temple has been destroyed, for both jews and goyim, and we’re all in exile, and in denial that we’re in exile. This crypt is our “temple” now.
I think Corbin is a pretty good hand in the sky. Imam Corbin!