2016-17 Core Book: Silence by Shusaku Endo

We invite you to read with our students, staff, and faculty the novel Silence by Shusaku Endo, as part of Wheaton College’s Core Book program.


The Core Book program fosters a shared experience across the campus community as we read, reflect upon, and discuss together a significant work that highlights themes of Wheaton's Christ at the Core general education curriculum.

You are invited to join with us in our common intellectual and spiritual experience as we consider the literary, theological, and historical implications of Endo’s powerful novel. Throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, there will be various opportunities to engage with Silence and its themes through events on campus.

Silence by Shusaku EndoWhy Silence?

Fall 2016 marks the launch of Wheaton College’s new Christ at the Core general education curriculum. The First Year Seminar, a new course that introduces freshmen to the Christian liberal arts and foundational biblical and theological truths, will include reading and discussion of Silence each year. By participating with the Core Book program, you have the opportunity to enter into this important component of the new Christ at the Core curriculum.


Silence by Shusaku Endo

Silence and Beauty: A Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura

Destroying Japanese Christianity,” “Denying the Faith,” and “Hidden Christians,” by Philip Jenkins

Silence: Becoming Like Jesus in His Death,” in Pastors in the Classics by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken and Todd Wilson

"We Have Never Seen His Face," by Brett R. Dewey

Reflecting Silence: Perspectives on Shusaku Endo's Masterpiece, short reflections by Philip Ryken, Fredericka Mathewes-Green, Os Guinness, Karen Swallow Prior, Philip Yancy, and more.


"Stepping into Silence" Online Exhibit
An Exhibit and Meditative Journey into Shusaku Endo’s Silence with works by Makoto Fujimura

{See the live exhibit August 15 to September 30, 2016 in the Billy Graham Center Museum}


Listening to Silence Conference

  • 9/27/16, History, Theology, and the Art of the Novel, Barrows Auditorium, 7:30pm
    Kevin Doak (Georgetown), Hanmee Kim (History), and David Lauber (Biblical & Theological Studies). Chaired by Miho Nonaka (English)
  • 9/28/16, Chapel with Makoto Fujimura, Edman Chapel
  • 9/28/16, Silence and Beauty: a Talk by Makoto Fujimura, Barrows Auditorium, 7:30pm

Interview with Makoto Fujimura


Use these resources to guide your contemplation or discussion of Silence:

Reading Guide >

Discussion Questions >


For the grace and strength to live faithfully through suffering
     “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3.10-11

For humility to admit when we have failed to hear God or see his presence in our own periods of silence
     “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73: 25-26

For healing and protection when our suffering comes because of others and their sins against us
     “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1: 8-9

For the perseverance of the global church as they mourn with hope, even in the midst of suffering
     “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation;  he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress,  I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:1,5-8

For our brothers and sisters in Christ in Japan, that they will not lose heart as a small community with an embattled past
     “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15: 5-6

For renewed trust in God’s providential care of his people, allowing us to mourn with hope
     "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24