Q: Prior to writing The Pilgrim, you researched the story at the University of Oxford. But you almost didn’t make it past day 1 of your “Economics of the Late Roman Empire” class.
Davis Bunn: True! The course was taught by a don – a full professor – on the theology faculty. On the first day of class he walked in wearing his robe. Very few lecturers wear the robe to class; you usually see faculty wearing robes only at formal dinners.
He wrote something on the board in script I’ve never seen before.
Then he turned around and asked, “Am I correct in assuming that everyone here has a working knowledge of Aramaic?”
I almost got up and walked out that instant. And I thought seriously about dropping the class.
Later, when I shared my reservations with the don, he kindly said, “You can stay, Davis. Everyone in this class knows how many books you’ve sold.”