Silence and Beauty: Hidden Faith Born of Suffering by Makoto Fujimura has been awarded the distinguished 2016 Aldersgate Prize by the John Wesley Honors College at Indiana Wesleyan University.
"Motivated by the ethos of our Honors College's community of Christian liberal learning, the Aldersgate Prize celebrates the outstanding achievement of an author whose scholarly inquiry challenges reductionistic trends in academia by yielding a broad, integrative analysis of life's complexities, while shedding fresh light on ultimate questions that enliven historic Christian conceptions of human flourishing," said Stacy Hammons, provost for Indiana Wesleyan and chair of the John Wesley Honors College. "After reviewing scores of nominations over the last five months, our selection committee believes your book best exemplifies these ideals. I congratulate you on the unique and substantial achievement that Silence and Beauty represents."
Fujimura will receive $3,500, an engraved glass sculpture from Kokomo Opalescent Glass (the oldest continuously operating decorative glass producer in the country), recognition in both Books and Culture and Christian Scholar's Review, and the opportunity to offer the keynote address at Indiana Wesleyan University's Celebration of Scholarship Luncheon in April 2017.
Shusaku Endo's novel Silence took Fujimura, an internationally renowned visual artist, on a pilgrimage of grappling with the nature of art, the significance of pain, and his own cultural heritage. Silence, first published in 1966, endures as one of the greatest works of twentieth-century Japanese literature. Its narrative of the persecution of Christians in seventeenth-century Japan raises uncomfortable questions about God and the ambiguity of faith in the midst of suffering and hostility.
Publishers Weekly offered this review of Silence and Beauty in March 2016: "Fujimura... unearths universal implications about faith, suffering, and art in this focused literary study of one novel, Shusaku Endo's Silence... 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."
Al Hsu, senior editor for IVP Books, said, "We at IVP are thrilled that Silence and Beauty is being honored for its distinctive integrative vision and literary contribution. Mako Fujimura is of course already internationally renowned for his visual art, and it is gratifying to see him recognized for his writing as well. Congrats, Mako!"