Voices of the Voiceless
Religion, Communism, and the Keston Archive
116 pages, 7.00 x 10.00 in
- ISBN: 9781481311236
- Published: July 2019
In 1969, at the height of the Cold War, a group of British Christian researchers and activists, moved by the persecution of believers in the Soviet Union, established an organization dedicated to the study of religion under communism. They had two major goals: to educate the public about religious persecution and to promote academic analysis of religion in communist societies. The organization they founded, eventually named Keston College, amassed an extraordinary collection of primary source and research materials, used by its personnel to document the experiences of persecuted believers in the Soviet bloc and beyond and to publicize human rights violations against believers of all faiths. This formed the basis of a unique collection, called the Keston Archive, now at Baylor University.
Voices of the Voiceless, edited by Julie deGraffenried and Zoe Knox, presents readers with twenty-five essays on a curated selection of images and artifacts from the Keston Archive. Some of the world’s leading authorities on religion and communism as well as experts personally involved with the operation of Keston College carefully selected and provided commentary for these images. The archival material presented in the book offers vivid testimony of this critically important era in the history of religion and of the Cold War.
A guided look into the past, Voices of the Voiceless reveals the power of what atheist and antireligious regimes sought to silence. This collection documents how believers fought for religious freedom, coped with oppression, and practiced their faith, individually and collectively, in states hostile to religion. It also presents atheist propaganda produced by communist regimes that aimed to marginalize and ultimately eradicate religion. The archival material presented in the book is drawn from across the communist bloc and offers vivid testimony of this critically important era in the history of religion and of the Cold War. This book offers insights into how faith survived—and even flourished—during one of the most intense antireligious campaigns of the modern era.
This is an important book. For decades, Keston College listened to those crying in the wilderness—believers of all faiths living in the USSR. Now Julie deGraffenried, Zoe Knox, and an international group of scholars bring voice to those who sought only to live honestly, to breathe freely under the asphyxiating force of Soviet atheism.~Roy R. Robson, Professor of History, Penn State University
This fine set of essays is at once a guide and a tribute to the riches of the Keston Archive. Compact, elegant, and incisive, Voices of the Voiceless carries the reader to the heart of the religious experience under Soviet communism and makes you want to read more. Highly recommended.~Dominic Erdozain, Research Fellow, Department of Theology & Religious Studies, King's College London
Keston College became the prime destination for many of the texts, recordings, and images that persecuted religious communities smuggled out from behind the iron curtain. This thought-provoking book introduces readers to some of Keston's most striking holdings. Informative and engaging, the twenty-five short essays provide insight into both religious practice inside the Soviet bloc and the dynamics of the Cold War which made the work of Keston so important.~Miriam Dobson, Senior Lecturer in Modern History, The University of Sheffield