The two most evident characteristics of Geoffrey Chaucer's Pardoner are that his body is a typical and that he is an accomplished rhetorician. The author purposes here is to consider this Sophistic question within the economy of Augustinian hermeneutics. Hubert's semiotic system is very dangerous; not only does he empty the conventional sign in order to fill it with his specious meaning, he also attempts to destroy the hermeneutical strategy. The Pardoner's language and body work in tandem, and both betray his agenda of loosening words from stable and objective meaning. The Pardoner depicts cooks as anti-priests' who perform a sacrilegious form of the Eucharist. Through the body and linguistic performance of the Pardoner, Chaucer debates whether a mal-intentioned but eloquent speaker may nevertheless be a vehicle for the numinous message. In Christian mass, the bread and wine turn from 'accident', that is, temporal references', to 'substance', that is, the transcendental referents of the body and blood of Christ.