As a young man, James Carroll had an epiphany deep in the diggings of an archeological excavation under Old Jerusalem. He had become a Catholic priest. In his activities there and in Bethlehem, he had failed to grow close to any sense of wonder over his physical closeness to events related to the life and death of Jesus. He had witnessed squabbling between and amongst clerics, often over petty issues. He was becoming less illuminated, more disenchanted every day. He acquired an elderly Dominican priest, who was also a renowned scholar and archeologist, as a guide. At first the man frustrated Carroll even more with his banter: