Martin Scorsese on Endo’s novel, “Silence”

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Excerpts taken from the Forward by Martin Scorsese in this recent printing of Endo’s Silence:

Silence is the story of a man who learns–so painfully–that God’s love is more mysterious than he knows, that He leaves much more to the ways of men than we realize, and that He is always present… even in his silence. …This is one of the most painful dilemmas in all of Christianity. What was Judas’ role? What was expected of him by Christ? What is expected of him by us today? With the discovery of the Gospel of Judas, these questions have become even more pressing. Endo looks at the problem of Judas more directly than any other artist I know. He understood that, in order for Christianity to live, to adapt itself to other cultures and historical moments, it needs not just the figure of Christ but the figure of Judas as well.

I picked up this novel for the first time almost twenty years ago. I’ve reread it countless times since, and I am now preparing to adapt it as a film. It has given me a kind of sustenance that I have found in only a very few works of art.

…on the face of it, believing and questioning are antithetical. Yet I believe that they go hand in hand. One nourishes the other. Questioning may lead to great loneliness, but if it coexists with faith–true faith, abiding faith–it can end in the most joyful sense of communion. It’s this painful, paradoxical passage–from certainty to doubt to loneliness to communion–that Endo understands so well, and renders so clearly, carefully and beautifully in Silence.

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