Darin Lenz, Ph.D., associate professor of history, contributed to Reflecting Silence: Perspectives Shusaku Endo’s Masterpiece, a digital reader’s guide to the novel. More information in the PDF and here. Lenz is also mentioned in ScreenBrew regarding the Martin Scorsese film based on the book.
Silence tells the story of two Christian missionaries who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The 1966 novel of historical fiction by Japanese author Shūsaku Endō is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to 17th century Japan, who endures persecution in the time of Kakure Kirishitan (“Hidden Christians”). Written partly in the form of a letter by its central character, the theme of a silent God who accompanies a believer in adversity was greatly influenced by the Catholic Endō’s experience of religious discrimination in Japan, racism in France and a debilitating bout with tuberculosis. Scorsese’s film of the same name is currently in theaters.