AMSTERDAM, Holland (NNI) – A member of the USSR Academy of Sciences has stated that Soviet magazine V Mire Knig (The World of Books), plans to serialize the New Testament to meet the growing demand for previously banned literature and perhaps to increase circulation. During a recent visit to Israel, Soviet scholar Sergei Averintsev said he has been asked by the magazine to write the footnotes which will accompany the New Testament.
The monthly magazine is published by the USSR State Committee for Publishing Houses, Printing Plants, and the Book Trade and is known primarily as a trade journal. Consequently, V Mire Knig’s circulation is limited to 40,000, which is relatively low in comparison to the total Soviet population of some 285 million.
According to expert observers, other Soviet magazines such as Novyi Mir, Ogonek, and Znamya, have successfully increased their circulations by publishing controversial articles. For example, Novyi Mir published previously prohibited authors, Ogonek printed opposition to Stalinism, and Znamya carried open discussions on topics formerly considered taboo in the Soviet Union.
Nevertheless, observers consider the planned serialization of the New Testament to be a possible official response to calls by Soviet academicians to publish the Bible in the USSR. In a recent issue of Ogonek, Dmitrii Likhachev called for the publication of the Bible on grounds that atheistic education cannot be trustworthy if atheists do not know what they are fighting against.