I have recently come across the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia online (available here). It was an ongoing project over several decades in the Soviet Union, and gives insight to old Soviet mentality toward things. I looked up a few things and thought I’d translate some to give you a taste of Soviet propaganda. Here’s what the Ukrainian Soviets thought about the Bible:
(Greek “books”) – a collection of books, which Christianity and, in part, Judaism, consider sacred. Established 8th Cent. B.C. – 2nd Cent. A.D. The bigger section of the Bible, the Old Testament, is written in ancient Hebrew and partly in Aramaic and is recognized by both religions, while the smaller is written in ancient Greek, the language of the New Testament, which only Christianity recognizes. The Bible includes myths about the origin of the world and humans, about “the end of the world,” religion, instructions, doctrines, prophecies, commandments, prayers and more. However, the Bible is a piece of ancient literature, a monument of ancient writing, which includes religious interpretations of customs, legends, parables, chronicle works, romantic lyrics, philosophy, poems (“Song of Solomon”, “Ecclesiastes”) and more. The Bible’s earliest translations are in ancient Greek (Old Testament) and Latin. They are the basis for all later translations. The Old Church Slavonic translation of the Bible was first translated by Cyril and Methodius. The Bible came to Kiev-Rus in the 10th Cent. with the emergence of Christianity. Christian and Jewish theologians claim that the Bible is of divine origin. Biblical myths were dismissed in the ancient world – by ancient Roman philosopher, Celsius (2nd Cent. A.D.) and ancient Greek philosopher, Porphyry (3rd Cent. A.D.). The Bible was also subjected to deep criticism by humanists of the Renaissance, materialists of the 18th Cent. Enlightenment, Russian revolutionary democrats. The study of biblical texts and scientific data, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, conclusively prove that the Bible had several authors for almost a thousand and a half years in different locations as evidenced by the numerous contradictions in the Bible. The Church canonized the biblical text at the end of the 4th Cent. The Bible is playing a reactionary role as the falsification of science by clergymen is inhibiting the spread of the materialist worldview.
Lit.: J. Kryvel’vov, Book about the Bible, 1965; Y. M. Yaroclav’skyj, The Bible for Believers and Nonbelievers, 1976.
The Bible was a threat to Soviet thought, as it was “inhibiting the spread of the materialist worldview,” so they played it off as being a bunch of unreliable myths. The encyclopedia even takes a jab at the Old Church Slavonic translation, which was probably more influenced by other translations than necessary. Some make similar claims about English Bibles, but that argument simply doesn’t hold any water. Of course, since the Ukrainian Soviet’s thought that Bible is unreliable mythology, here is what they had to say about Christ:
Jesus Christ (Greek. lit, “the anointed) – mythical founder of Christianity. According to the gospel legend, Christ is the savior of people, god-man, immaculately conceived and born in Galilee (Palestine) by the virgin, Mary. Allegedly preached his new religion with his 12 disciples (apostles) in Palestine, while performing many miracles. Sold for 30 pieces of silver by his enemy, Judas Iscariot, and was crucified on a cross. Was resurrected on the third day after his death and ascended to heaven. The gospel narrative of Christ has been subject to sharp criticism even since the 2nd Cent. Works by scientists in Tübingen and mythological schools in historiography have dealt a devastating blow to church dogmas about the historicity of Christ. The image of Christ is widely reflected in literature and art.
P. L. Jarots’kyj
So, that’s a small taste of the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopedia. I have responded elsewhere to some of the attacks against the Bible, so I won’t talk about that here. Instead, I’m going to post a fun video of Lenin statues falling: