Displacement or composition? Lyotard and Nancy on the trait d’union between Judaism and Christianity

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (1):29-46 (2009)
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Abstract

In one of the essays in his recent book on Christianity, La déclosion (2005), Nancy discusses the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Nancy opens this discussion with a reference to Lyotard’s book on this relationship: Un trait d’union (1993). Both Lyotard and Nancy examine a very early figure in the emergence of Christianity from Judaism—whereas Lyotard focuses on the epistles of Paul, Nancy reads the epistle of James. Lyotard concludes that the hyphen in the expression ‘Judeo-Christian’ actually conceals ‘the most impenetrable abyss within Western thought’. With this abyss, Lyotard refers to the point of departure of Judaism: the event in which a Voice has left behind letters, inaugurating an interminable work of interpretation. For Nancy, however, it is rather Christianity, and therefore, Western culture, which is deconstructive in nature. Its composition is co-original with a decomposition, and therefore, with an openness. In James, Nancy finds an emphasis on praxis, in such a way that existence is to be understood as transcendent within itself. With this reading of James, Nancy seems to deny that there is a fundamental difference between Judaism and Christianity. In order to clarify the differences between Lyotard and Nancy, it is shown that, in Lyotard’s view, an unsublatable alterity comes with aisthèsis, whereas in Nancy’s view, alterity comes with existence as such

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References found in this work

Being Singular Plural.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2000 - Stanford University Press.
On Touching, Jean-Luc Nancy.Jacques Derrida - 2005 - Stanford University Press.
Saint Paul. The Foundation of Universalism.Alain Badiou & Ray Brassier - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (1):193-195.
A Finite Thinking.Jean-Luc Nancy - 2003 - Stanford University Press.

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