On Reading Well
Karen Swallow Prior

Chapter Five
By Shusaku Endo

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

Chapter Five of Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well examines the virtue of faith with examples drawn from Shusaku Endo’s Silence.  In this section, we move to the theological virtues. The novel examines the struggle of Christians who are physically persecuted for their beliefs and the degree to which the virtue of faith is tied to faithfulness and fidelity in lifestyle.   

As Karen wrote

Christianity was brought to Japan by Jesuits in the sixteenth century during a time when Japan had undergone destabilization and decentralization by war. However, the initial flourishing of Christianity ended early in the next century with changes in Japan’s trade relationships with other countries. Japanese leaders came to distrust the foreign missionaries and, consequently, to persecute Japanese Christians with horrific methods of torture and execution aimed, not only at killing the victims, but at wiping the faith from the land entirely. One favored technique was forcing Christians to trample on a fumie, an image of Christ or Mary carved into a flat piece of stone or wood.

Is denouncing a symbol of one’s faith the same as denouncing one’s faith? Why or why not?

On Reading Well


Published by

Rick Wilcox

Editor in Chief | Literary Life