In the episode 'Objects in Space', the bounty hunter, Early, who seems to have information about Shepherd Book's background, tells Simon 'That ain't a Shepherd'.
What are we supposed to make of that comment?
I recently read 'Bread and Wine' by Ignazio Silone. Set in the 1930's this book tells the story of Pietro Spina, an anti-Fascist revolutionary who goes into hiding by disguising himself as a priest. Pietro (or Don Paolo as he becomes) is taken aback by the way in which he is treated once he adopts the identity of a 'man of God' e.g. the questions people ask him, the confessions made to him, the way that they expect him to act and the way that his presence in the community is viewed as a good omen. Although he puts up a great deal of resistance, and keeps making the excuse that he is not authorised to serve in this diocese, he is drawn into acting in certain ways because of the garments that he is wearing/the role that he has assumed.
Did a similar thing happened to Shepherd Book? Did he assume the identity of a Shepherd in order to hide from his enemies/a particular situation/himself - and in doing so did he actually (over time) become a Shepherd?
Or is it just that he doesn't fit the stereotypical image of a priest and therefore, in the eyes of Early, can't possibly be one? That prompts the question - how are contemporary 'Shepherds' breaking the mould?