Esoteric Islam in Modern French Thought: Massignon, Corbin, Jambet

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Why would a devout Catholic, a committed Protestant, and a Maoist atheist devote their lives and work to the study of esoteric aspects of Islam? How are these aspects 'good to think with'? What are the theoretical and intellectual problems to which they provide solutions? These are the questions at the heart of Esoteric Islam in Modern French Thought. The three French specialists of Islam described above form an intellectual and personal genealogy that structures the core of the text: Massignon taught Corbin, who taught Jambet in his turn. Each of them found in the esoteric a solution to otherwise insurmountable problems: desire for Massignon, certainty for Corbin, and resurrection/immortality for Jambet. Over the course of three long chapters focused on the life and work of each writer, the book maps the central place of esoteric Islam in the intellectual life of twentieth and twenty-first century France.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Introducing the Guest

Chapter One: Louis Massignon: In the Beginning Was Desire

Chapter Two: Henry Corbin: A Certain Vision

Chapter Three: Christian Jambet's Resurrections

Epilogue: One Being True to Oneself: Esoteric Authenticities


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages192
ISBN (Electronic)978-1780936949
ISBN (Print)978-1780938240
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameNew Directions in Religion and Literature
PublisherBloomsbury Academic


  • Islam and philosophy
  • French literary theory
  • Louis Massignon
  • Henry Corbin
  • Christian Jambet


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