Robert Magliola

Robert Magliola

= An Intersection: Buddhism/Derridean Deconstruction =

Dr. Robert Magliola [Roberto Rino Magliola] (born 1940) is a specialist in European hermeneutics and deconstruction, in comparative philosophy, and in Buddhist - (Roman) Catholic dialogue [See R. Magliola, autobiographical profiles, in European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies [ member info. here] , in Council for Research in Values and Philosophy [ member info. here] , in J.Y. Park, ed., "Buddhisms and Deconstructions" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), p. 289, and in Y. Wang, ed., "Deconstruction and the Ethical in Asian Thought" (Routledge, 2007), pp. x-xi.] ; see also Buddhism and Roman Catholic Church. He is widely acknowledged to be the first scholar to have identified and published at length ("Derrida on the Mend", 1984 [Purdue University Press, 1984; 2nd ed., 1986; reprint Purdue University Press, 2000.] ) on possible intersections between Jacques Derrida’s thought and Buddhism, especially Madhyamika Buddhism and its generally accepted “founder,” Nagarjuna:

* “As far as I know, Magliola is the first person to study Derrida in a Buddhist perspective, and he does this with a higher degree of speculative engagement than has been attained in similar studies of Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Bergson.” - Joseph S. O’Leary, [ review] of "Derrida on the Mend" in "Japanese Journal of Religious Studies", Vol. 12, No. 4, p. 362

* “The latter [Magliola’s "On Deconstructing Life-Worlds: Buddhism, Christianity, Culture," 1997 [Scholars Press, American Academy of Religion, 1997; Oxford University Press, 2000.] ] is a major work from an author whose earlier book, "Derrida on the Mend", was the first to cross Buddhism and deconstruction.” - N. Robert Glass, [ review] of David Loy, ed., "Healing Deconstruction-" , and Robert Magliola, "On Deconstructing Life-Worlds", in "Journal of Buddhist Ethics", Vol. 5 (1998), p. 60

* “Since Robert Magliola’s 1984 publication "Derrida on the Mend", which involved his pioneering comparison of Derrida and Nagarjuna, . . .” - Youru Wang, [ review] of Youxuan Wang, "Buddhism and Deconstruction: Towards a Comparative Semiotics", in "Philosophy East and West", Vol. 55, No. 3 (July 2005)

* “It took Magliola, in "Derrida on the Mend", to bring Nagarjuna and other Buddhist voices into the arena of the discourse on deconstruction, and the efforts of the academy to marginalize his work have been considerable.” - E. H. Jarow, “Zen Flesh, Bones, and Blood: Deconstructing Inter-Religious Dialogue,” in "Buddhisms and Deconstructions", [Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.] ed. Jin Y. Park, with “After-word” by R. Magliola, p. 228.

For other references to "Derrida on the Mend" making a similar point, see Harold Coward ("Derrida and Indian Philosophy", State U. of New York Press, 1990, p. 125), Dennis McCort ("Journal of the American Academy of Religion", Vol. 71, No. 1 (2003), p. 225 ( [ See review, here] ), and Ellen Y. Zhang (“Jizang’s Śūnyatā-Speech: A Derridean Dénégation with Buddhist Negations,” in "Buddhisms and Deconstructions", ed. Park, p. 116). Brian Bock and Youxuan Wang point out, in their “Signs of Liberation?—A Semiotic Approach to Wisdom in Chinese Madhyamika Buddhism,” "The Journal of Chinese Philosophy", Vol. 33, No. 3 (Sept. 2006) ( [ See article in Ingenta, here] ), that "Derrida on the Mend" also works with the Chan/Zen form of Buddhism, pioneering the comparison of this Far Eastern tradition and several Western semiotic themes: “ As early as 1984, certain semiotic themes in Chinese Chan Buddhism were picked up in Robert Magliola, "Derrida on the Mend", . . . .”


Robert Magliola (Ph.D., Princeton University, 1970, in comparative literature with specialty and dissertation in phenomenology/hermeneutics, [ see diss. in microform format, here] ), is retired from the (interfaith-) Graduate School of Philosophy and Religions, Abac Assumption University (Thailand), where he was professor of philosophy and religious studies; and from National Taiwan University, where he was distinguished chair professor in the Graduate School of Liberal Arts [See endnote 1.] . In 1983-84, he taught and researched at Tamkang University in Taiwan while on sabbatical from Purdue University, where he had taught since 1969 and been a (full) professor since 1981. [See R. Magliola, autobiographical profile, in C. Koelb and S. Noakes, eds., "The Comparative Perspective on Literature" (Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 369.] In 1985 he moved to the Orient, taking up residence there "en permanence". He continued publication in Buddhism and deconstruction and also did interdisciplinary writing and conferencing on postmodernism (in literature and Religious Studies) throughout this period. A Carmelite lay tertiary (1982-present), [See endnote 1.] he began to write more extensively both on the application of Derridean thought-motifs to Catholic theology, and on Catholic meditation (see Christian Meditation and see Contemplation), making an invited presentation in 1999 on ‘Catholic Meditation in Tibetan Vajrayana Form’ for the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Federation of Asian Bishops Councils ( [ See "Proceedings" for 2nd Day, Feb. 2, 1999, here] ).

In Thailand since 1994, he researched Theravada Buddhism and also underwent training in Vipassanā-Satipatthana meditation (Wat Mahathat, Bangkok). [See Endnote 1.] He organized and chaired the Thai delegation of Buddhist and Catholic scholars from Assumption University to the quadrennial international meetings of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies (1996, 2000), having begun presenting papers there in 1992. After a return of two years to teaching in Taiwan, he formally retired from university teaching as of summer, 2002, and currently lives in the United States of America where his three children, Lorinda-marie, Jon-carlo, and Clara-marie, and his several grandchildren reside. Since 2002, he has taught minicourses ( [ see course information, Global Family for Love and Peace, here] ), organized forums, and been an interfaith retreatant at the Manhattan (NYC) Center of the Wu Sheng Monastery, Ling Jiou Shan Buddhist Society, Kung-Liao, Taiwan (2002-2005) [the Manhattan Center closed in 2005 and moved to Oakland Garden, Queens, NYC] . From 2002 through 2007 he has been a co-editor ( [ see some of these edited books, here] ) for volumes in the book-series “Seminars on Culture and Values” for the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. At present he is a Seminar Associate (2002-present) [See Endnote 1.] of the Seminar in Buddhist Studies (a faculty and graduate student forum), Columbia University, and also participates in another forum there, the University Seminar in Comparative Philosophy. Concurrently he has been making trips to Italy with an eye toward implementing a project in Rome.

Books and Selected Reviews Thereof

Robert Magliola's books in Hermeneutics, Deconstruction, Religious Studies, and an equitable selection of negative, positive, and mixed reviews thereof, some of which are accessible online:

"Phenomenology and Literature" (Purdue University Press, 1977, 2nd printing 1978), 208 pp.

“Now at last we get a book which seeks to introduce the Anglo-Saxon reader systematically to phenomenological literary theory and practice, placing both in their philosophical habitat. It is an understatement to say that the book fulfills a glaring need.”--Review by W. Wolfgang Holdheim in "Diacritics" Vol. 9, No. 2 (summer 1979), p. 10: [ see review in JSTOR, here] .

"Derrida on the Mend" (Purdue University Press, 1984; 2nd edition, 1986), 238 pp. Reprint, Purdue University Press, 2000: [ see in Purdue Online catalogue, here] .

* Joseph S. O’Leary, review in "Japanese Journal of Religious Studies", Vol. 12, No. 4: [ see review (FULL TEXT) here] .

* Stuart Sims, review in "Critical Inquiry", “‘Not quite philosophy’: the Situation of Deconstruction,” Vol. 28, No. 4 (Dec. 1986), pp. 114-122: [ see review here] .

* Mark C. Taylor, review in "Thought", “Orthodox-y (-) Mending,” Vol. 61, No. 240 (March 1986).

* Kenneth Inada, review in "Buddhist-Christian Studies", Vol. 5 (1985), pp. 218-222: [ see review in JSTOR, here] .

* R. V. Young, review in "Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter", Vol. 9, No. 1 (Dec. 1985), pp. 14-15.

"On Deconstructing Life-Worlds: Buddhism, Christianity, Culture" (Scholars Press, American Academy of Religion, 1997; Oxford University Press, 2000), 266 pp.: [ see in Oxford UP-USA online catalogue,here] .
* N. Robert Glass, review in "Journal of Buddhist Ethics", Vol. 5 (1998): [ see review (FULL TEXT) here] .

* Edward Vargo, review in "Abac Journal" (Thailand), Vol. 18, No. 3, 1998: [ see review (FULL TEXT) here] . (Also available in Chinese, in "Chung-Wai Literary Monthly", No. 313, June, 1998, pp. 172-183.)

* James L. Fredericks, review in "Sophia", Vol. 37, No. 2 (Sept-Oct 1998), pp. 151-153; and Magliola's Reply in same issue, pp. 154-155: [ see both review and Reply, here] .

* John Keenan, review in "Japanese Journal of Religious Studies", Vol. 25, Nos. 3-4 (fall 1998), pp. 392-395, and Magliola's Reply in same issue, pp. 395-396: [ see both review and Reply (FULL TEXT), here] .

* Charles B Jones, review in "Theological Studies", Vol. 59, No. 2 (June 1998), pp. 349-351: [ see review here] .

* Frank Stevenson, review in "Tamkang Review" (Taiwan), Vol. XXVII, No. 2 (Winter 1996), pp. 255-266: [ see "Tamkang Review" online catalogue, here] .

* Francis Brassard, review in "Religiologiques" (Fr. lang., Montreal, Quebec), Vol. 18 (automne 1998): [ find review (FULL TEXT) here (see "Recensions")] .

Selected Anthology-articles and Reviews Thereof

Selection of Magliola's Anthology-articles, and some online Reviews thereof:
* "Two Models of Trinity--French Post-Structuralist versus the Historical-Critical: Argued in the Form of a Dialogue," in O. Blanchette, T. Imamich, and G. F. McLean, eds., "Philosophical Challenges and Opportunities of Globalization", Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change: Series I, 'Culture and Values', Vol. 19.2 (Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy [CRVP] , 2001), pp. 401-425: [ see FULL TEXT here] .

* "After-word" (discussion of the collected papers) in Jin Y. Park, ed., with After-word by Robert Magliola, in "Buddhisms and Deconstructions" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), pp. 235-270. "Buddhisms and Deconstructions considers the connection between Buddhism and Derridean deconstruction. Fourteen distinguished contributors discuss deconstruction and various Buddhisms--Indian, Tibetan, Chinese (Chan), and Japanese (Zen)--including an afterword in which Robert Magliola responds directly to his critics" [backleaf] : [^DB/CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0742534170 see in Rowman and Littlefield online catalogue, here] .

---Buddhist-Christian Studies Database (BCSD), Boston College: Annotation of those contributions in "Buddhisms and Deconstructions" which pertain to Buddhist-Christian encounter-- [,Robert%20R. see pertaining BCSD entries, here] .

---Steven Heine, review in "H-Net Reviews in Humanities and Social Sciences" (posted Nov., 2006, published by H-Buddhism): [ see review (FULL TEXT) here] .

---Francis X. Clooney, S.J., review in "Buddhist-Christian Studies", Vol. 27 (2007), pp. 182-187: [ see review here] .

---Tao Jiang, review in "Journal of the American Academy of Religion", Vol. 75, No. 1, pp. 191-194: [ see review here] .

* "Hongzhou Chan Buddhism, and Derrida Late and Early: Justice, Ethics, and Karma," in Youru Wang, ed., "Deconstruction and the Ethical in Asian Thought" (Routledge Press, 2007), pp. 175-191.

--Joseph S. O’Leary, review of articles in Wang's anthology, above, in "H-Net Reviews in Humanities and Social Sciences" (posted February 2008, published by H-Buddhism) [ see review (FULL TEXT) here] .
* "Transformation Theory and Postcolonial Discourse: Jung by Lacan by Derrida (Bar Sinister Descent," in R. Lumsden and R. Patke, "Institutions in Cultures: Theory and Practice" (Rodopi, 1996), pp. 239-260: [ see in Rodopi online catalogue, here] .

* "Sexual Rogations and Mystical Abrogations: Some Données of Buddhist Tantra and the Catholic Renaissance," in C. Koelb and S. Noakes, "The Comparative Perspective on Literature" (Cornell University Press, 1988), pp. 195-212: [ see in Cornell UP online catalogue, here] .

* "Appropriative and/or Imitative Use(s): Some Cruxes—Greek, Latin, English, French, Sanskrit," in Han-Liang Chang, ed., "Concepts of Literary Theory East and West" (Taipei: Bookman Books and Chinese Comparative Lit. Assoc., 1993), pp. 183-244.

* "Differential Theology and Womankind: On Isaiah 66:13," in P. Berry and A.Wernick, eds., "Shadow of Spirit: Postmodernism and Religion" (Routledge, 1992), pp. 211-225: [ see in Routledge online catalogue, here] .

Selected Articles & Reviews

Selection of Magliola's published Articles and Reviews online:

* "Nagarjuna and Chi-tsang on the Value of 'This World': A Reply to Kuang-ming Wu’s Critique of Indian and Chinese Madhyamika Buddhism," "Journal of Chinese Philosophy", Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 505-516: [ see FULL TEXT here] ; and, in "Journal of Chinese Philosophy", Vol. 33, No. 2, pp. 299-301: [ see Wu's Riposte here] .
* "Differentialism in Chinese Ch’an and French Deconstruction: Some Test-Cases from the Wu-men-kuan," "Journal of Chinese Philosophy", Vol. 17 (1990), pp. 87-97: [ see FULL TEXT here] ;also accessible in "Moksha" (online journal): [ see FULL TEXT here] .

* Review of B. Ziporyn, "Being and Ambiguity: Philosophical Experiments with Tiantai Buddhism" (Open Court, 2004), in "H-Net Reviews", Feb. 14, 2007 (posted Jan. 5, 2007, published by H-Buddhism): [ see FULL TEXT here] .

* Review of C. Olson, "Zen and the Art of Postmodern Philosophy: Two Paths of Liberation from the Representational Mode of Thinking" (State U. of New York Press, 2000), in "Buddhist-Christian Studies", Vol. 24 (2004), pp. 295-299: [ see review in Project Muse, here] .

* Review of Kuang-ming Wu, "On Chinese Body Thinking" (Brill, 1997), in "Philosophy East and West", Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 531-533: see review in JSTOR, here [] .

* "Derridean Gaming and Buddhist Utpada/Bhanga (Rising/Falling): How a Philosophical Style Can Devoid Substantive Field," "International Journal for Field-Being" electronic journal: [ see website] of International Institute for Field-Being, Vol. One, part two, article one (August, 2001)-- [ see FULL TEXT here] .

* "Jorge Luis Borges and the Loss of Being: Structuralist Themes in Dr. Brodie’s Report," "Studies in Short Fiction", Vol. 15, No. 1 (Winter 1978), pp. 25-31: [ see via Bookrags, here] .

* Review of F. J. Ambrosio’s "Dante and Derrida Face to Face" (State U. of New York Press, 2007), in "Journal of the American Academy of Religion", Vol. 75, No. 4, pp. 1024-1026: [ see review here] .


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