Love Thy Neighbor, Love Thy Fellow: Teaching Gower’s Representation of the Unethical Jew

  • Emily Houlik-Ritchey
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


The religio-ethical facet of the neighbor, in both its contemporary theorizations and its medieval articulations, offers advanced undergraduates a nuanced approach to John Gower’s representation of the unethical Jew in “The Tale of the Jew and the Pagan.” This insight brings into prominence the polemical subtext of Gower’s tale and so empowers students to interrogate its moralizing logic. By bringing together the neighbor’s significance in religious and civic communities with the slippery semantics of Gower’s Middle English, students perceive how both the Jew’s and the Pagan’s speeches of ethical responsibility reveal the ways in which Gower both asserts and challenges the Jew’s supposed moral deficit.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Houlik-Ritchey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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