This dissertation questions the politics of contemporary cultural development known
as "multiculturalism" and "particularism" which permeate the realm of theology, particularly
in relation with non-Western theologies. It begins by examining the mechanism of
representing "different others" within the modern subjectivity and its universal validity
claim, in order to reveal the modernist's essentialism and reductionistic, totalising tendency.
By arguing that reality is non-formalistic, ambiguous and contingent, and decentring of the
subject, the study articulates the social source of rationality that exists in "in-between"
people (subjects) against the philosophical metanarrative. From this standpoint, the focus
shifts from the subject's ontological/epistemological emphasis to a dialogical event or
relation with the other.
Therefore, this study explores human desire on the relation of "I and the Other,"
with particular attention paid to Emmanuel Levinas' idea on the 'ethical responsibility for
the Other' as the first philosophy. This argues that Levinas disrupts the philosophy of
ontology by inserting a God who is infinite into the finite, and suggests a new modality (meontological)
of ethical responsibility for the Other/other. It argues that Levinas' idea is
concretised in Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogism that perceives human consciousness not as a
unified whole but one that always exists in a tensile, conflict-ridden relationship with other
consciousness. It also argues that dialogism is not simply a textual or even an inter-textual
phenomenon, but reaches beyond the text to the social world as a whole. It suggests that
ethics exists in an open and ongoing obligation to respond and answer to the other, rather
than as a consensus or philosophical end or rule. Ethics, as a reminder of the surplus in
human dialogue, argues for the structural necessity of otherness in my solidarity with the
This thesis, then, explores the event of kenotic Christ as a fertile prototype for the
leitmotif of 'the Word made flesh,' and the I/Other dichotomy, and as the consciousness of
human development and dialogical orientation. It stresses a theological and religious affinity
of creating an ethical space to experience the meaning of the future that interrogates the
temporal reality and 'givenness,' a space which brings people into "radical communality and
human solidarity" of the great time, the eschatological plenitude. From this perspective, I
suggest theology as a critical engaging discourse and a cultural criticism within the public
sphere, in creating a new world of human relation.