History is narrated, as any good storyteller knows, and narration depends for its effects on our notions and metaphors. In their 2002 introduction to 'The Ways That Never Parted', Annette Yoshiko Reed and Adam H. Becker write “The notion of an early and absolute split between Judaism and Christianity, but also the 'master narrative' about Jewish and Christian history that pivots on this notion is being called into question”. In this thesis, by bringing the philosopher Jean-François Lyotard’s 'The Hyphen' into dialogue with both the “parting of the ways” and many other voices from within Jewish and Christian studies, I continue this calling into question. This dismantling does not leave us bereft of notions, narratives, and concepts but with the beginnings of new ones; as Judith Lieu has claimed “a more flexible 'map' [is] required”, as are “different models to answer different questions or maintain different interpretations”. In a series of chapters, Lyotard’s concepts of “designators”, “idioms”, “obligation” and “differends”, are offered as some potential new models, and their interactions clarified. As well as conveying the, often implicit, sense these concepts had for Lyotard, further distinctions are layered in that he left unsaid. By way of this, a new conceptual schema for discussing religious “phrases” – encompassing both linguistic and other acts – is outlined and the areas for further elaboration within it are indicated. In each chapter, this schema is applied to specific texts from within Jewish and Christian studies, to see what new light it can cast on these debates, as well as to refine and test it. All of this is offered in support of a second level argument, that a renewed dialogue between Lyotard’s writings and Jewish and Christian studies could generate ways out of the impasses in each of their paths ahead.
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Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.

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