What does John 1:1c say?

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What does John 1:1c say?

Post #1

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The Tanager and tigger 2 will discuss.

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Post #11

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The Tanager wrote: I'm not sure we are on the same page here. Two questions have come to my mind so far in our conversation. The first is:

(1) Is the grammar of John 1:1c such that there could only be one way to interpret "Theos" without the article before it, no matter where it is written.

The second depends on the answer to the first:

(2a) If you answer 'yes' to the first question, then we must determine what the grammar shows must be the interpretation. What is the valid rule that decides the question?

(2b) If you answer 'no' to the first question, then the context becomes crucial in interpreting the verse itself. This says nothing to me of "different 'trinity' proofs and their answers."

So, what is your answer to question (1)? You have seemed to me to bring up one positive answer to (1) and outlined why it is not correct. I'm asking what your answer to (1) is.


I am saying now that if you examine all of John's certain uses of 'God,' you will find that he always uses the article with it (excepting the very few 'prepositional' examples). And then, if you buy into the trinitarian-concocted 'rules' for 1:1c over the past century, we need to examine all the other clauses by John which are most parallel to John 1:1c (anarthrous predicate count nouns which precede the verb - excluding improper examples, of course).

When we do this, which process I have already begun above, you will find that all the 18 proper examples will always be translated into English Bibles with the indefinite article before the predicate noun.

Since all grammar in the rest of John's writings supports an indefinite predicate noun, it must be that John 1:1c also was intended to mean 'a god.' So, yes to question 1.

If you don't wish to examine (1) John's uses of 'God' and (2) the numerous clauses which are parallel to John 1:1c with me, I understand, but that is what I originally intended to discuss here.

[/b]

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Post #12

Post by The Tanager »

[Replying to post 11 by tigger2]

I just want to try my best to make sure we don't talk past each other, especially since I'm a philosopher by training, not a Greek scholar. Thank you for clarifying your belief in response to those questions. I have a feeling that I'll be asking a lot of questions in this conversation.

Since I didn't start out arguing for (1), I'm not sure your method of starting there has been a helpful approach for me. Step (2) also seems possibly unhelpful because it seems to play against someone who is arguing for (1). It's saying "your experts say A," but you're already arguing that they may not be the most reliable scholars to trust anyway. I'm not interested in who says what; I'm interested in why something is seen to be true. It makes more sense to me for us to just look at the uses under question and see if we come to any apparent grammatical rules.

In that regard, you seem to be saying there is a rule that John always uses the definite article when talking about God in the rest of his writing(s)...when looking at proper parallel uses. So, first we need to make sure what the parallel cases are. In that regard, I do have some questions, mainly of clarification. Please bear with me, if you feel you have already adequately covered these questions already. I've missed it or misunderstand what you were saying about it. A lot of my questions will probably seem basic to you, but I need to understand the basics and I think I can catch on pretty quick.

(1) Which books do you think John wrote and that we should look at: the gospel, 1/2/3 John, revelation?

(2) Why should abstract nouns be excluded in our analysis? Is there a difference between abstract nouns and concrete nouns in this regard? If so, then it seems to me that the more pertinent question is what other concrete nouns do in Greek grammar. Are other definite concrete nouns always preceded by the definite article?

(3) Why did you focus on predicate adjectives/nouns? Why is Theos considered to be the predicate in John 1:1c, when it is in the same Nominative case as Logos. Why couldn't this verse be saying "and God was the Word", which would mean looking also at subjects and not just predicate nouns. Must predicate nouns always take an article? In English, for example, saying George Washington is president is fine without using either article. But you are saying that if no article is used, in Greek this means the indefinite article should be brought in, right?

(4) What is the Greek word for the indefinite article, when it is expressly used? Or is it just assumed when the definite article is not used?

(5) Why should time/season nouns be excluded? I would think "it was winter" has a definite winter in mind. The hour/an hour seem interchangeable to me. For instance, in John 5:28, to say "for an hour is coming when..." seems to me to say the same thing as "for the hour is coming when...". Although, the hour seems to make more sense since a definite hour is probably in one's mind in many cases.

(6) The personal names bit is a little confusing to me. Obviously personal names pick out a definite person. It sounds like you are saying that sometimes in Greek, personal names have the definite article and sometimes they don't. Are you saying that if John was trying to talk about one person being another person, he would have definitely used the definite article to display that?

(7) Why should we not take into account prepositional phrases and genitive cases? In Greek do they obviously have different grammatical rules concerning those? Do they always have the definite article when talking about a definite person?

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Post #13

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 12 by The Tanager]

(1) Which books do you think John wrote and that we should look at: the gospel, 1/2/3 John, revelation?

[font=Comic Sans MS](1)Most scholars seem to agree that the author of the Gospel of John also wrote 1 John. I can go either way: John only, or John and 1st John. Your choice. [/font]

(2) Why should abstract nouns be excluded in our analysis? Is there a difference between abstract nouns and concrete nouns in this regard? If so, then it seems to me that the more pertinent question is what other concrete nouns do in Greek grammar. Are other definite concrete nouns always preceded by the definite article?

[font=Comic Sans MS](2) Recognized trinitarian NT Greek scholars all seem to avoid abstract nouns as proper examples simply because sometimes the NT writers used the article with them and sometimes they do not. Count nouns, however, are pretty consistent when the obvious exceptions are eliminated. I think we will find that, with the exceptions noted by trinitarian NT grammar experts, singular count nouns use the article. But what we really need to know is whether John always uses the article with theos or not. [/font]

(3) Why did you focus on predicate adjectives/nouns? Why is Theos considered to be the predicate in John 1:1c, when it is in the same Nominative case as Logos. Why couldn't this verse be saying "and God was the Word", which would mean looking also at subjects and not just predicate nouns. Must predicate nouns always take an article? In English, for example, saying George Washington is president is fine without using either article. But you are saying that if no article is used, in Greek this means the indefinite article should be brought in, right?

[font=Comic Sans MS](3) I chose to focus on predicate nouns because every rule I have seen concocted to make John 1:1c translate 'and the Word was God' makes a big fuss about the p.n. (theos) coming before its verb in the NT Greek of John 1:1c. Normally, as in English, the subject will have the article and the predicate noun won't. E.g., 'John is a boy'; 'The cat is an animal'; etc. We find that in the Greek, unlike English, the predicate noun comes before the verb nearly as often as not. So translators of all Bibles I have seen translate theos in 1:1c as a predicate noun.

Most often predicate nouns do not take the article. 'George Washington' is a personal noun. Personal nouns don't take the article in English, but are ambigious in NT Greek (may or may not take the article). In English certain words are intended as one-of-a kind, or very special. So words like 'God,' and 'President' are often used without the article. In NT Greek they would normally require the definite article.

Yes, except for the NT Grammar scholars' exceptions, most of which I have noted, anarthrous count nouns will be translated with the indefinite article (a/an). [/font]

(4) What is the Greek word for the indefinite article, when it is expressly used? Or is it just assumed when the definite article is not used?

[font=Comic Sans MS](4) There is no indefinite article in the NT Greek, so, yes, it is assumed by the translator.
[/font]

(5) Why should time/season nouns be excluded? I would think "it was winter" has a definite winter in mind. The hour/an hour seem interchangeable to me. For instance, in John 5:28, to say "for an hour is coming when..." seems to me to say the same thing as "for the hour is coming when...". Although, the hour seems to make more sense since a definite hour is probably in one's mind in many cases.

[font=Comic Sans MS](5) These are used ambiguously in the Greek. At John 5:28, for example, it says in the Greek: 'Not be-you-wondering-at this because is-coming hour (h�ra) in which all the (ones) in the tombs ...." This is rendered variously in English: 'Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which...' - ASV; 'Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming... -CSB; 'Wonder not at this, for an hour is coming in which all who...' - Darby; 'Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who...' -ESV; 'Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming...' -KJV; 'Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which...' -NASB; etc. [/font]

(6) The personal names bit is a little confusing to me. Obviously personal names pick out a definite person. It sounds like you are saying that sometimes in Greek, personal names have the definite article and sometimes they don't. Are you saying that if John was trying to talk about one person being another person, he would have definitely used the definite article to display that?

[font=Comic Sans MS](6)No, NT Greek experts are saying that any use of personal names may or may not have the article in the Greek. They are ambiguous examples, and, therefore, are not proper examples for any 'rule' which depends on the use or non-use of the article. Notice these examples from John:
3:3 - _Jesus answered
3:4 - The Nicodemus
3:5 - The Jesus answered
3:9 - _Nicodemus answered
3:10 - _Jesus answered
3:14 - _Moses lifted up
3:22 – The Jesus and the disciples
3:23 – The John
3:24 - _John had not yet been thrown
4:7 - The Jesus said to her
4:10 - _Jesus answered and said [/font]

(7) Why should we not take into account prepositional phrases and genitive cases? In Greek do they obviously have different grammatical rules concerning those? Do they always have the definite article when talking about a definite person?

[font=Comic Sans MS](7) I have already listed at the end of post 5 above some of the noted NT Greek scholars (trinitarian, of course) who admit these are ambiguous examples:

"Probably the most misused irregular usage is found when the predicate noun in question is connected to a prepositional phrase, a genitive case noun, or a possessive noun in English translations. Most of the time these will be found to be “possessive� [“of�] phrases such as “king of Israel,� “disciples of me,� etc. - see A.T. Robertson, pp. 790, 791; Moulton, Vol. III, pp. 179-180; Moule, p. 117; Dana & Mantey, p. 137; Jesus as God, p. 304, esp. (2) and (4) in 5b, Murray J. Harris, Baker Book House, 1992; The Greek Testament, p. 420, Henry Alford."

Strangely enough these are usually translated with the definite article, unlike examples which are actually parallel to John 1:1c. [/font]

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Post #14

Post by The Tanager »

[Replying to post 13 by tigger2]

(1) John and 1 John is fine.

(2) So, are you saying that no single count nouns in Greek ever appear without the definite article or just that they do so more often than not?

(3) So, you are saying that it is perfectly normal in Greek for the predicate noun to not have the definite article but be referring to a definite thing, except for one-of-a-kind words that never appear without the definite article or just that they do so more often than not?

(5) But I'm still unsure why we shouldn't consider these cases. It's a count noun that sometimes uses the definite article and sometimes doesn't, but even when it doesn't it at least sometimes (or all the time?) refers to a definite hour.

(6) But what if John is using Theos like a personal name? Just like using the Word like a personal name. These two terms may be picking out a specific individual, Jesus.

(7) Yes, you noted they are examples were John sometimes uses the definite article and some times does not, but I'm asking why we shouldn't use these. I don't listen to Greek scholars because they are Trinitarian. I want to know the why behind Greek grammatical rules. These ambiguous examples seem to show that John uses no article at times when speaking about a specific being. But you are saying there is no way John could be saying Jesus is the specific God of the Tanakh. Of course, if you rule out all the prepositional and genitive cases that conflict with your rule, your rule looks like a more valid rule. It seems you and the 'trinitarian' scholar are both doing that because you both are claiming that the grammar can only be taken one way. I'm questioning that and so I need to have a separate reason to rule out these cases as non-parallel.

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Post #15

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 14 by The Tanager]

1) John and 1 John is fine.

(2) So, are you saying that no single count nouns in Greek ever appear without the definite article or just that they do so more often than not?

[font=Comic Sans MS](2) I am saying that singular nominative count nouns in John appear in the Greek with and without the article. When they have the article (and are not improper examples), they are translated into English as definite, When they have no article (anarthrous) they are translated into English as indefinite.
[/font]

(3) So, you are saying that it is perfectly normal in Greek for the predicate noun to not have the definite article but be referring to a definite thing, except for one-of-a-kind words that never appear without the definite article or just that they do so more often than not?

[font=Comic Sans MS](3) I am saying that it is normal in NT Greek for the predicate count noun not to have the article. And these anarthrous count nouns (if they are not improper examples) will be translated into English as indefinite with the English indefinite article.


However, the anarthrous "prepositional" predicate noun which comes before the verb in the Greek will most often be translated into English with the definite article. But we are going to leave out the ambiguous improper examples (including 'prepositional" examples) and stick to proper examples which are truly parallel to John 1:1c.

The use of the predicate noun in Greek which has the definite article (and which is not an improper, irregular example) will be translated into English as definite with the definite article: John 1:21; 20:15. [/font]

(5) But I'm still unsure why we shouldn't consider these cases. It's a count noun that sometimes uses the definite article and sometimes doesn't, but even when it doesn't it at least sometimes (or all the time?) refers to a definite hour.

[font=Comic Sans MS](5) If we are trying to determine the meaning of an unmodified anarthrous count noun (theos - John 1:1c) by examining all John's uses of parallel examples, we need examples which are truly parallel. If we, instead, use the irregular examples (as trinitarian scholars do), we can pick only those which give us the answer we want. For example, notice the examples I gave for John 5:28 above. You can see that some Bibles translate it with "the hour," but a number of other respected translations use "an hour." The same thing happens with other ambiguous, improper examples. So if a person wants John 1:1c to mean 'and the word was the god (God), he can pick only the irregular examples which are translated with the definite article to prove that John meant the definite article at John 1:1c. If it is an ambiguous example, it proves nothing. To be truly a parallel example to 1:1c, ambiguous examples must be excluded. [/font]

(6) But what if John is using Theos like a personal name? Just like using the Word like a personal name. These two terms may be picking out a specific individual, Jesus.

[font=Comic Sans MS](6) We have already seen that personal names are very irregular about taking the article or not. So if we find the same thing in proper examples of theos in John's writing, I will agree that it is a possibility. First, we have to examine all uses of the nominative theos in John's writing! [/font]

(7) Yes, you noted they are examples w[h]ere John sometimes uses the definite article and some times does not, but I'm asking why we shouldn't use these. I don't listen to Greek scholars because they are Trinitarian. I want to know the why behind Greek grammatical rules. These ambiguous examples seem to show that John uses no article at times when speaking about a specific being. But you are saying there is no way John could be saying Jesus is the specific God of the Tanakh. Of course, if you rule out all the prepositional and genitive cases that conflict with your rule, your rule looks like a more valid rule. It seems you and the 'trinitarian' scholar are both doing that because you both are claiming that the grammar can only be taken one way. I'm questioning that and so I need to have a separate reason to rule out these cases as non-parallel.

[font=Comic Sans MS](7) I'm not sure I can make it any plainer.

If you were told that adding 's to a word makes that word possessive, wouldn't you need to know the exceptions? For example Jesus' is possessive but does not have 's. So you need to know the exception that words ending in s may merely have the apostrophe alone added to show possession. And if we see "it's" and think that it is possessive because it has 's added, we need to know that it is an exception and actually means "it is." So if you were to list a number of examples proving your 'rule,' you would explain and avoid the exceptions.

I emphasize that the noted NT Greek grammar experts are also trinitarians, because it is trinitarians who have insisted on the 'God' ('the god') interpretation of John 1:1c.

You wrote: [/font] [font=Times New Roman]"Of course, if you rule out all the prepositional and genitive cases that conflict with your rule, your rule looks like a more valid rule." [/font]

[font=Comic Sans MS]How does using only valid examples make it any less true? If there are 15 or more valid examples in John, how are they somehow less valid? Do you really think all those respected trinitarian scholars I have listed are wrong? What does it hurt to eliminate those ambiguous examples which are not really parallel to 1:1c and which can be manipulated by those who want a certain result?

If you do not have one, I highly recommend a good NT interlinear and access to a number of Bibles. I have several interlinears and many Bibles on my shelves, but if you don't, I recommend this online interlinear: https://www.studylight.org/desk/interli ... r_nas&ns=0

And here for a number of Bibles: https://www.biblegateway.com/ [/font]

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Post #16

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 15 by tigger2]

[font=Comic Sans MS]Let me try again.

We can see for ourselves the irregularity of article usage with “prepositional� constructions by comparing how they are translated in various trinitarian Bibles:

John 1:23 (without article in NT Greek "the voice of...� - RSV, ASV, NIV, TEV. But “a voice of...� - NASB, NEB, JB, LB.

John 3:10 (with the definite article): “the teacher of...� - ASV, NASB, Young’s, Beck. But “a teacher of...� - RSV, JB, NIV, TEV, MLB, Moffatt.

John 5:27 (without article in Greek): ...because he is a son of man. - ASV; because he is the Son of Man. - ESV; ...because he is a son of man. - WEB; because he is the Son of man. - RSV.

John 8:34 (without article in Greek) ...Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin. - ASV; ...anyone who sins is a slave of sin! - CEV; ...is the servant of sin. - KJV; ...is a slave to sin. - NIV; ...is the bondservant of sin. - WEB.

And there are many more such ambiguous 'prepositional' examples in the rest of John’s Gospel!

Do you not see that using such ambiguous 'prepositional examples selectively (as trinitarian scholars so often do) will 'prove', according to your subjective beliefs, either that such predicate nouns are indefinite (or definite)? Since they can be honestly translated either way, they should not be used as proper examples which prove the definite (or indefinite) interpretation. They are ambiguous and should not be used as examples for or against the definite meaning of the predicate noun! [/font]

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Post #17

Post by The Tanager »

[Replying to post 15 by tigger2]
tigger2 wrote:(2) I am saying that singular nominative count nouns in John appear in the Greek with and without the article. When they have the article (and are not improper examples), they are translated into English as definite, When they have no article (anarthrous) they are translated into English as indefinite.
Thanks for the clarification.
tigger2 wrote:I am saying that it is normal in NT Greek for the predicate count noun not to have the article. And these anarthrous count nouns (if they are not improper examples) will be translated into English as indefinite with the English indefinite article.
Just to make sure I'm clearly following you: We do have Greek examples of anarthous predicate nouns picking out definite entities, but these are all improper examples?
tigger2 wrote:If we are trying to determine the meaning of an unmodified anarthrous count noun (theos - John 1:1c) by examining all John's uses of parallel examples, we need examples which are truly parallel. If we, instead, use the irregular examples (as trinitarian scholars do), we can pick only those which give us the answer we want. For example, notice the examples I gave for John 5:28 above. You can see that some Bibles translate it with "the hour," but a number of other respected translations use "an hour." The same thing happens with other ambiguous, improper examples. So if a person wants John 1:1c to mean 'and the word was the god (God), he can pick only the irregular examples which are translated with the definite article to prove that John meant the definite article at John 1:1c. If it is an ambiguous example, it proves nothing. To be truly a parallel example to 1:1c, ambiguous examples must be excluded.
It would prove that the Greek grammar is ambiguous and we would need to look at context to see if that can decide what John intended one way or the other. Like I've said, I'm a philosopher by training. You seem to be arguing against someone who says there is a clear grammatical rule for interpreting John 1:1c as "the god", while you think there is a clear grammatical rule for interpreting John 1:1c as "a god". But this is a conversation with me. I'm questioning why there has to be a clear grammatical rule at all. I'm saying maybe the Greek grammar is ambiguous. You agree that the grammar is ambiguous in some cases, but let's throw those cases out, so that we can make an unambiguous rule. I'm not understanding why we need an unambiguous rule at all. Maybe there just isn't a rule that fits. At least that is how it looks to me. Please correct me where I'm misunderstanding you.

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Post #18

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 17 by The Tanager]

I am saying that there are dozens of uses of theos in John's writings intended to mean 'God' in English. They all use the definite article (ho theos) - except for a very few which are prepositional. John's use of theos without the article in John 1:1c would indicate that it does not refer to God.

I am saying there are many clauses truly parallel to John 1:1c. in the rest of John's writing. These are not translated into English as definite or ambiguous but indefinite.

If you don't care to see if I'm correct or not by following me through my examination of the Greek of John, that is certainly your choice.

So you can believe I am just mistaken, if you wish, and ignore the whole thing. But I at least have evidence which anyone can look up for himself.

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Post #19

Post by The Tanager »

[Replying to post 18 by tigger2]

I'm not ignoring anything. Right now I'm asking questions about the foundational context of your claims in order to better see if your conclusion is sound. I deeply care to see if you are correct.
tigger2 wrote:I am saying there are many clauses truly parallel to John 1:1c. in the rest of John's writing. These are not translated into English as definite or ambiguous but indefinite.
I understand that. What I'm focusing on in my questioning is whether your definition of 'truly parallel' is a good one or not. If it is not, then it is useless to consider your examination of the Greek of John that uses that definition as its basis. If you cannot defend your definition of 'truly parallel,' then the rest of your argument is moot.

You want 'truly parallel' examples to be unambiguous so that you can get an unambiguous answer concerning John 1:1c. So, how do you decide what kind of examples go into the 'truly parallel' set? Well, first off you exclude all ambiguous examples. Why? Because they are ambiguous. All this does is beg the question. Of course 'truly parallel' examples will exclude ambiguous Greek examples if you reject them directly because they are ambiguous. How is this a good way to come up with a definition? You have to be able to answer this question about definition for the rest of what you want to do to be a rational examination. Once you do that I'm very happy to follow your examination through.

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Post #20

Post by tigger2 »

[Replying to post 19 by The Tanager]

John 1:1c has an anarthrous, unmodified, singular count noun as a predicate noun before its verb. This is the target. This is as close as we can get to truly parallel examples in John's writings. If we find only the examples which are perfectly parallel, we have

John 4:19 - indefinite (“a prophet�) - all
John 18:37 (a) - indefinite (“a king�) - all

and none that are definite or ambiguous. So, like many NT grammar scholars, we need more examples which are as close to the target as possible. I have found a number of other examples which even the noted trinitarians who have also used examples to 'prove' John 1:1c intends 'God' have listed as parallel to John 1:1c.

Here are all the other examples which are the closest I could find to the above two and which are also listed by trinitarian scholars as parallel to 1:1c:

H John 4:9 (a) - indefinite (“a Jew�) - all translations
H,W John 4:19 - indefinite (“a prophet�) - all
H,W John 8:44 - indefinite (“a murderer�/“a manslayer�) - all
H,W John 8:48 - indefinite (“a Samaritan�) - all
H,W John 9:24 - indefinite (“a sinner�) - all
H,W John 10:1 - indefinite (“a thief and a plunderer�) - all
H,W John 10:33 - indefinite (“a man�) - all
H,W John 18:35 - indefinite (“a Jew�) - all
H,W John 18:37 (a) - indefinite (“a king�) - all
[H,W John 18:37 (b) - indefinite (“a king�) - in Received Text and in 1991 Byzantine Text]
………………………………................................
H,W Jn 8:44 (b) - liar (he) is.
H,W Jn 9:8 (a) - beggar (he) was.
H,W Jn 9:17 - prophet (he) is. (compare Jn 1:21)
H,W Jn 9:25 - sinner (he) is.
H,W Jn 10:13 - hireling (he) is.
H,W Jn 12:6 - thief (he) was.
1 Jn 4:20 - liar (he) is.

H: Also found in Philip B. Harner’s list of “Colwell Constructions�
W: Also found in Daniel B. Wallace’s list of “Colwell Constructions�

All are translated as indefinite with the indefinite article in all Bibles I examined. Those trinitarian scholars who have made rules 'proving' that theos in 1:1c is definite or 'qualitative' have used the same method I have, but they have mostly selected examples which are ambiguous (mostly 'prepositional') and ignored most of the proper examples (except for merely listing some of them in a footnote of parallel examples).

So, if I'm wrong and you can find other parallel examples which are translated with the definite article, or I have made an error in my list, please tell me.

The same goes for theos as used by John. I see no reason for arguing 'what ifs' when the written record is available to all.


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