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"From Peripheries to Center to Peripheries: An Exposition and Evaluation of Robert on Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue"

Jaime Rivera, (Philippines-Thailand)

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Systematic Theology
Adviser: Fr. Antonio de Castro, S.J., S.T.L., E.H.D.


The thesis examines the work of Robert Magliola, a lay Catholic theologian specializing in Derridean Deconstruction and Buddhist-Christian dialogue. The thesis proposes that Magliola’s dialogue based on “founding and irreducible differences,” which departs from “common ground” model of dialogue, can foster or help break the impasse of Buddhist-Catholic dialogue in Thailand. In his new book, “Facing Up to Real Doctrinal Difference: How Some Thought-Motifs From Derrida Can Nourish The Catholic-Buddhist Encounter Facing up to Real Doctrinal Difference”, Magliola proffers that certain Derridean “thought-structures” can be adapted to address proselytization, misrepresentation, syncretism, etc. – issues that have blocked dialogue efforts in Thailand. In light of this, the thesis explains how: (1) Magliola appropriates Derrida, (2) Magliola uses his own brand of Deconstruction, known as Differentialism, in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and (3) Differentialism can be appropriated in the Thai context, in particular, dialogue of life, action, religious experience and doctrinal exchange. This is in line with Pope Francis’ call for theological reflection to follow “the movement of the logic of God” from the “peripheries to center to peripheries”.

Final Defense:

Date of Oral Defense: March 21, 2016

Board of Examiners: Fr. Jose Mario C. Francisco, S.J., Ph.D. (Principal Examiner), Fr. Jojo M. Fung S.J., Ph.D., and Ruben L.F. Habito, D.Litt.

Proposal Defense:

October 30, 2014 (Thursday), 3:00 pm, Institute of Social Justice Advocacy, Third Floor of LST

Board of Examiners: Fr. Jose Mario Francisco, S.J., Fr. Jojo Fung, Ph.D. and Fr. Antonio de Castro, S.J., S.T.L., E.H.D. (Adviser).

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Loyola School of Theology