Glushaev A. L. Atheistic Literature of the 1950s-1980s as a Source on the History of Evangelical Churches of the USSR (.pdf)


The author discusses the potential of propaganda atheistic literature of the 1950-1980s as a historical source. The texts were created on a joint of ideological and scientific discourses. The figure of the author, as a product of political conjuncture, was a leading factor defining the character of texts. The atheist scholar was included in the system of the state propaganda, acted as a representative of power institutes and performed the functions of control over the sphere of religious life of fellow citizens. The information about religion was necessary for the Soviet authorities, but it was transformed to the propaganda scientific and atheistic discourse in the connection with political situation and research problems. Transformation of information of the closed type into mythological constructs for mass consumption is described in the article. The literature on the evangelical churches of the USSR represents a combination of political involvement of authors and their claims for the place in the academic community. These texts use invectives and diatribe metaphors to construct the "antiworlds of religious sectarianism". An atheistic outlook was shown as normal, whereas the religious one was described as anomaly. Nevertheless, the real events and political practices applied to religious communities and certain believers are visible through mythological constructs of the atheistic texts. The criticism of similar texts needs a careful good developed cross-disciplinary technique of the text interpretation for the modern researcher of atheistic literature. This approach assumes the removal of scientific and atheistic publications from historiographic reviews and their inclusion in the source base of historical researches not only to obtain additional information on political and social history of religion in the USSR but also to verify other sources.


Key words: Evangelical Churches, Baptists, atheistic literature, sources, source study, USSR.


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