As I have noted elsewhere, when I finished writing The Man Clothed in Linen, I realized that I probably had begun writing it as a boy. It then took five decades to put it on paper. My religious status is "cultural Christian." I was raised and educated in that tradition--intensely. At one point I went to chapel six days a week for five years. But I'm not a believer in the traditional sense. I'm the same kind of human being that existed in Palestine around the year 1, someone surrounded by cultural and political forces that are man-made but supra-human at the same time, meaning they transcend an individual's ability to escape them. Basically, I see John the Baptist and Jesus as historical figures, each touched by genius, seeking to revitalize their faith and free their communities from the domination of the Temple in Jerusalem and the great power of Augustan Rome. My novel examines how those huge forces inspired rebellion which was quickly crushed...and yet lived on through somewhat miraculous cultural dissemination (the Greek world played an important part in this; of course the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Book of John is as Greek as one can get.)
My thought is this: Our freedom is impinged upon by our circumstances. From to time, we are able to see past those circumstances either by inspired earlier examples or a kind of personal revelation. John the Baptist and Jesus did what Lincoln called upon his fellow citizens to do: think anew. This is a rare occurrence. Would they have had their revelation if they didn't keep their distance from the Temple and Roman-ruled Jerusalem? I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have. Peripheral and liminal figures are the ones who offer the most dazzling critiques.
Causes Robert Earle Supports
World Wildlife Fund