Drawing from medieval Christian depictions of Jewish literalism and materialist reading, this article offers a reevaluation of Chaucer's Physician and his tale's protagonist Virginius, as men who read like Jews, even though they remain distinct from the racialized characterization of the Prioress's Tale. This article argues that Chaucer depicts “reading Jewishly” as an intellectual flaw, one into which Christian and pagan men might fall, with tragic results for themselves, but potentially edifying ones for those who witness their failures of perception. The Physician's Tale is thus to be read as a narrative of conversion, and it concerns the conflict between a literalist “Jewish” hermeneutic and a figural Christian epistemology premised on faith.

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