cover image Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering

Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering

Makoto Fujimura. IVP, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8308-4459-3

Fujimura (Culture Care), director of Fuller Seminary’s Brehm Center and recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s 2014 Religion and the Arts Award, unearths universal implications about faith, suffering, and art in this focused literary study of one novel, Shusaku Endo’s Silence. Much as post-WWII Nagasaki inspired Endo’s book about the persecution of Christians and apostate Portuguese Jesuit priests in shogunate-era Japan, the experience of surviving the 9/11 terrorist attacks compels Fujimura “to communicate about the mystery of Christ working in our Ground Zero journeys.” Endo and Fujimura, both Christians, experienced powerful encounters with fumi-e, beautiful 17th-century bronze or wooden images of Jesus on which Christians were ordered to walk, repeatedly, or suffer terrible torture and death. Stating “that all art responds to what is holy,” Fujimura analyzes Japan’s fumi-e culture, calling it “a culture of lament,” and asserts that “faith can include our failures, even multiple failures.” Stories of historical figures on which Endo based Silence, scriptural analysis, and a wide range of literary and artistic references from both Japanese and Western culture (including Martin Scorsese’s 2016 film adaptation of Silence) add rich, refracted layers to this carefully crafted, masterful book. (May)