Endo's 'Silence' is a modern classic and a must-read for theologically-inclined Christian readers. (I suspect non-Christian readers will find the character's central choice much less interesting but will still enjoy a well-written historical fiction.) Endo's prose (and Johnston's translation) is efficient and effortlessly successful, a mammoth task for a novel of such depth.
Ultimately the genius of this work is it's tremendous staying power in lieu of a decision: it lingers for days or weeks until the reader evaluates the protagonist's central choice and puts the matter to rest. This amounts to a serious and profound moment for those who read and contend with this book.
Although based on real historical figures, this is a historical fiction book, with interesting detail about the introduction of Christianity, specifically Roman Catholicism, in 17th century japan. There is also a lot of debating of catholic dogma, with focus on the problems of evil in the world and faith versus human compassion. I found the lengthy theological discussions excessive. I much preferred the livelier exposition of similar topics in Emmanuel Carrere's "The Kingdom".
Intense, thought provoking and worthwhile. It'll be interesting to see how the movie survives a 3rd or (or 4th), translation.
Powerful story of the Japanese repression of Christianity through the internal struggle of an evangelizing Catholic Portuguese priest coming to Japan. The book gives lots to ponder about. There are strong historical parallels to the British repression of Catholicism in Ireland.
Questions raised by this book are timeless - what is faith? why does God answer/not answer me? is martyrdom required? is mine the only true religion? what is the true religion? do I believe the same as others? are converts really converts?
The Jesuit Father Rodriguez is sent to Japan to minister to the secret Christian converts whose very lives are in danger from the Japanese rulers anti-Christian decree. Thus starts his journey of faith. He is captured and must apostatize but can he? His captor is Inoue, a Japanese who was a convert and became a priest but is now an inquisitor. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking.
An interesting look at Christian missionaries in Japan in the 1700's during a time when Christianity was outlawed and Christians were tortured for their beliefs. Many theological questions are addressed but the primary one is where is God in our suffering? The book is very well written and has many parallels to the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. I believe enjoyment of the book helps if you have some knowledge of Christianity and Jesus' story.
The matter of the "silence" of God is a major theological conundrum, and for the Jesuit missionaries to Japan in the 17th century, the silence of their God when they were faced with persecution must have seemed quite frightening. As a book looking at the situation from the missionaries' perspective. the matter of the cultural imperalism of Europe in Asia is not dealt with in as much detail, but the viewpoint is that of young Jesuit missionaries, who would have seen their efforts as those of good men spreading God's message to the foreigners.
Definitely something is lost in translation, having said that, this novel resonates with existential silence, a crisis of faith, and those readers interested in the persecuted, tortured and martyred Japanese Christians at a time when Christianity was outlawed in feudal Japan will enjoy reading this novel. Any person of faith who has ever experience a dark night of the soul will deeply appreciate the beauty of this novel.
Silence of the God, greatness and beauty of evils...
Recommend to those who have religious upbringing, as I can imagine Rodrigues's dramatic journey is moving and illuminating. To me, I found the volume of beautiful prose, a thin but rather long book, achieved an effect redundant.
One (small) inspiration, my faith seems to be stronger than those who worship God.
I'm still intrigued, why Marty likes this book, is he retiring? I almost enjoy every movie he made, but for this upcoming one, aside from haunting visual effects, I'm not interested in the transpired messages.
This story was really, really powerful and meaningful. I highly recommend it and look forward to the new film.
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