In the fifteenth‐century Play of the Sacrament, a group of Jewish men torture a consecrated wafer, seeking to prove or disprove the Real Presence. The play juxtaposes their misguided empiricism, rooted in stereotypes about the literalism of Jewish reading, with an experimentalist hermeneutics that recognizes that knowledge of the material world requires the intellectual cognition of imperceptible operations. This hermeneutics, associated with later scientific inquiry, emerges from a broader scholastic project that approached transubstantiation with the tools of natural philosophy. The essay considers, in turn, how the play leverages theatrical devices to prompt its audience to grapple with the physical impossibilities of eucharistic change. It encourages the spectating Christians, like literal‐minded Jews, to long for spectacular theatrical effects that will furnish empirical proof of transubstantiation. However, the artificiality or absence of these effects ultimately signals that eucharistic change is not an observable phenomenon that can be confirmed with the senses.

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