This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.
1 Clement 12.1-8
|Διὰ πίστιν καὶ φιλοξενίαν ἐσώθη Ῥαὰβ ἡ πόρνη…. 3. ἡ οὖν φιλόξενος Ῥαὰβ εἰσδεξαμένη αὐτοὺς ἔκρυψεν εἰς τὸ ὑπερῷον ὑπὸ τὴν λινοκαλάμην…. 7. καὶ προσέθεντο αὐτῇ δοῦναι σημεῖον, ὅπως ἐκκρεμάσῃ ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου αὐτῆς κόκκινον, πρόδηλον ποιοῦντες ὅτι διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου λύτρωσις ἔσται πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν καὶ ἐλπίζουσιν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν. 8. ὁρᾶτε, ἀγαπητοί, ὅτι οὐ μόνον πίστις, ἀλλὰ καὶ προφητεία ἐν τῇ γυναικὶ γέγονεν.
||Because of her faith and hospitality Rahab the prostitute was saved from danger…. 3. And so, the hospitable Rahab brought them inside and hid them in the upper room under a pile of thatching straw…. 7. And they proceeded to give her a sign, that she should hang a piece of scarlet from her house–making it clear that it is through the blood of the Lord that redemption will come to all who believe and hope in God. 8. You see, loved ones, not only was faith found in the woman, but prophecy as well.
Insights from historical fiction are often intended to make readers pause for careful consideration, especially so with Shasaka Endo’s Silence, the account of a Christians amidst the persecutions of 16th century Japan. Central to this narrative is Endo’s portrayal of the conflict between Eastern and Western civilizations, especially as that conflict impacted Christianity. The narrative traces the journey of Portuguese Jesuit Sebastian Rodrigues to Macao and then Japan, his interactions with Japanese Christians, his confrontation with the apostate Christovao Ferreira, and his eventual capitulation to the tactics of the magistrate Inoue, developing a number of theological concerns along the way. In this essay, we examine several of these, including Rodrigues’ relationship with Kichijiro, Endo’s use of the term “silence,” the co-opting of the Biblical narrative, and the conflict between East and West as demonstrated through the “swamp of Japan.” Through engagement with these considerations, I argue that central to Endo’s perspective is the centrality of a Christian love that seeks to transcend the cultural boundaries of East and West. Continue reading