What is it like to be a Christian in a country where, despite extensive missionary efforts, believers remain only a tiny minority? The Japanese writer Shusaku Endo has been answering that question in novels and stories over a career spanning some 40 years. Endo, who also wrote a life of Jesus, has a newly translated collection of stories: "The Final Martyrs" (New Directions, 199 pp.; $21.95, hardcover). Eleven stories are included, the earliest from 1959, the latest from 1985. For readers who have not tried Endo, this is a good starting place. (Down the road: a Martin Scorsese film of Endo's novel "Silence").
Two new books shed light on the work of the Scottish-born philosopher Alasdair Maclntyre. Calling for "the re-creation of the university as a place of constrained disagreement," MacIntyre has argued that religious viewpoints—largely suppressed in the liberal university—should be represented along with other standpoints, initiating students into the conflict between rival traditions. (Here MacIntyre's argument parallels George Marsden's in "The Soul of the American University;" see CT, Aug. 15, 1994, pp. 33-35.)
"The American Philosopher" (Chicago, 177 pp.; $13.95, paper), a collection of interviews edited by Giovanna Borradori, features an illuminating conversation with MacIntyre. "After MacIntyre: Critical Perspectives on the Work of Alasdair MacIntyre" (Notre Dame, 340 pp.; $39.95, hardcover), edited by John Horton and Susan Mendus, is a collection of original essays assessing the strengths and weaknesses of MacIntyre's work; a response by MacIntyre is included. See also MacIntyre's essay "'How Can We Learn What Veritatis Splendor Has to Teach?'" in The Thomist 58 (April 1994): 171-95.
Mark Noll recommends ...1