Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

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WinePusher

Jesus Interrupted By Bart Ehrman

Post #1

Post by WinePusher »

Chapter 1: A Historical Assult On Faith
Bart Ehrman wrote:The Bible is filled with discrepanies, many of them irreconcilable contradiction. Moses did not write the Pentateuch and Matthew, Mark Luke and John did not write the Gospels. It is hard to know whether Moses ever existed and what, exactly, the historical Jesus taught.
Major Points:

-Bart Ehrman begins his book by attempting to debunk many of the traditionally held beliefs of Christians and Biblical Fundamentalists by pointing out many "supposed" contradictions found in the Bible.
-He trys to draw a clear and distinct line between evanglical scholarship of biblical texts and his "historical-critical" method of the bible.

Questions for Debate:

In his first chapter, Bart Ehrman makes the following claims: The Exodus probably did not occur as described in the Hebrew Scriptures, the conquest of the promised land is based on legend, the teachings of the historical Jesus are misrepresented, and the Acts of the Apostles contains faulty information on the life of Paul.

1) Can the Bible be considered a historically, reliable document in light of Ehrman's claims?

2) Are Bart Ehrman's claims about scripture true, or are they simply wrong and a result of ignorance?

WinePusher

Post #91

Post by WinePusher »

Cathar1950 wrote:There is very little �good historical evidence for the historical existence of Jesus and his death by crucifixion�.
Well, I'd have to disagree. Firstly, the fact that there are texts known as Gospels that belong to the canon of the Bible does not discount them from being historically accurate accounts. They are reliable sources of information on the historical ministry and existence of Jesus. They are then backed up by Jewish and Roman sources, and external charismatic movements.
Cathar1950 wrote:There is no reason to take them literally and I doubt the writers did either or those that listen to them being read to them.
Some of the Gospel writers state the reason of why they are writing in their book. John states the purpose of his book in John 20:30. I would consider that a good reason to take them literally because the author leaves no room for doubt or figurative interpretation.
Cathar1950 wrote:The day Jesus dies is also a contradiction between the Synoptic and John. John and Mark share Mark’s outline, innocents’ defense and the Passion Narrative.
The confusion amoung Jesus' death in Mark and John has nothing to do with the day, but rather the date of passover.

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Post #92

Post by McCulloch »

Cathar1950 wrote: There is very little �good historical evidence for the historical existence of Jesus and his death by crucifixion�.
WinePusher wrote: Well, I'd have to disagree. Firstly, the fact that there are texts known as Gospels that belong to the canon of the Bible does not discount them from being historically accurate accounts. They are reliable sources of information on the historical ministry and existence of Jesus.
In what way are the anonymous writings of the promoters of a new religion written decades after the events in a language foreign to the primary participants be considered reliable sources of information?
WinePusher wrote: They are then backed up by Jewish and Roman sources,
The Jewish and Roman sources attest only to the community of believers in the late first century.
WinePusher wrote: and external charismatic movements.
People in war torn, chaotic strife filled periods of history have a tendency to get caught up in extremist movements. Nothing unusual here.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

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Post #93

Post by Druijf »

A good point, but it would then be your burden to show the sources for the Gospel of John and even the other 3 Gospels. If the Gospel Writers were not Eye-Witnesses, then you would have to provide explanations as to how they got their information.
They got their information from oral and written sources. The majority view on the Synoptic Problem, which I think is very reasonable, is that Matthew and Luke used Mark and another source which we call Q. It is therefore not unlikely, and many scholars think so, that Mark and John also had some literary sources they used when constructing their gospel. When you look closely, you will notice that Luke and Matthew don't seem to have had any difficulty altering and rearranging traditions from Mark and Q they received.

1) I think this source by my old professor sums it up. The Gospels agree that Jesus died on a friday, they are in harmony when it coems to the day Jesus died. What they are not in harmony on is the exact date of Passover.
That is true, but that makes it more unlikely that we are dealing with eyewitness reports here. If someone I care about died tragically on a certain festival day that would cling on my memory, more than which day of the week it was. If the author of the Gospel of John really was the disciple John, wouldn't this be odd? Especially because this also means that in John's view Jesus did not institute the Lord's supper on the Passover festival. (It is offcourse also possible that John is right, and the Synoptics are wrong)
2) Could you please extrapolate on the temple being cleansed at the beginning of Jesus ministry, it is to vague for me to respond to.
In the gospel of John, the cleansing of the temple is at the beginning of Jesus ministry (John 2:13-25), while in the synoptic tradition it is at the end. It is ofcourse not entirely impossible that Jesus did this twice, but it is not very likely.
3) I think your view of Mark portraying Jesus to be secretive in regards to his divine nature is an opinion. The consensus amoung New Testament scholarship is that Mark focuses on the miracle ministry of Jesus. That is in conflict with your claim that Mark has some sort of secrecy theme about Jesus' divinity.
The secrecy theme of Mark is mentioned in every decent New Testament handbook I know of (conservative or mainstream). The groundbreaking study of William Wrede on this issue was a significant turning point in Gospel scholarship.

The secrecy theme is found throughout Mark. (Mark 1:43-44, Mark 3:12, Mark 4:33-34, Mark 5:43, Mark 7:36, Mark 8:11-13, Mark 8:26, Mark 8:30, Mark 9:8, Mark 9:30, Mark 10:32). Only at a climactic moment Jesus reveals his identity towards an outsider (Mark 14:62).

See for further information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_Secret

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Post #94

Post by Cathar1950 »

WinePusher wrote:
Cathar1950 wrote:There is very little �good historical evidence for the historical existence of Jesus and his death by crucifixion�.
Well, I'd have to disagree. Firstly, the fact that there are texts known as Gospels that belong to the canon of the Bible does not discount them from being historically accurate accounts. They are reliable sources of information on the historical ministry and existence of Jesus. They are then backed up by Jewish and Roman sources, and external charismatic movements.
Cathar1950 wrote:There is no reason to take them literally and I doubt the writers did either or those that listen to them being read to them.
Some of the Gospel writers state the reason of why they are writing in their book. John states the purpose of his book in John 20:30. I would consider that a good reason to take them literally because the author leaves no room for doubt or figurative interpretation.
Cathar1950 wrote:The day Jesus dies is also a contradiction between the Synoptic and John. John and Mark share Mark’s outline, innocents’ defense and the Passion Narrative.
The confusion amoung Jesus' death in Mark and John has nothing to do with the day, but rather the date of passover.

If you have read Ehrman then you would have known the issue on days. In Mark and the other Synoptic Gospels Jesus has the Passover meal instituting Paul’s vision of the Bread and wine most likely evolving from the community meal and other cults, and it is after the preparation while in John he is the Passover main meal and there is no last supper.
Not the same day at all.

The gods seem to be vying for our affections and obedience.
When God (Yahweh), one of the gods became God, the god for much of Western culture in our presumptions we figured being the only god he had to be everything and we added the idealist gods to God’s nature.
Jesus then becomes God and Yahweh to the Greek and Roman mind sometimes taking on the personalities of the gods, everywhere from Zeus to Hermes and one of their children where like the ancient father son gods gives reign to his son even over the other gods.
.
I appreciate some innovations in Christianity and from the beginning it has experimented with various visions of what it meant to be a follower of disciple of Jesus everywhere from Jesus schools to Jesus cults.
The prince of Peace
God is love
Love God and love your neighbor.
Or like Paul, love your neighbor, unless he is from James.
But the historical Jesus most likely was a Zealot type, swords and all, and if there is anything to the gospels, he attacks the Temple, which was attacking both the High Priest and Rome.
One point of Mark is to make Jesus appear innocent (which he clearly wasn’t) of insurrection, and instead of being honest history of any sort, it is an apology and rhetoric and includes traditions, myth, invention and ritual…

The other Gospels followed Mark’s lead and a generation later added their own traditions and made changes where it no longer fit Mark’s context.
They are mostly Pauline and do not represent the very people who would have been there but rather represent the forces they encountered as they reformed themselves after the fall of the Temple and the loss of the Jewish leadership.
But the story is evolving as a generation after these writings were produced the situation changes and they start selecting based upon the use in communities and granted by accepted church fathers which were the very ones that had selected and produced the writings and those that used them as they all found over doctrinal supremacy even beating each other up in the streets with the mobs of bishops.
I doubt the church fathers and the people that first read and wrote the NT wrings saw the writings as historical and fact give the freedom of expression we see in them.

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Post #95

Post by Adamoriens »

WinePusher wrote:
Adamoriens wrote:Most historians wouldn't accept that all ancient narratives are true and accurate simply by virtue of being written down.
I never suggested this. If you think that the New Testament is literally inaccurate then please give reasons to support that view rather then trying to shift the burden.
You most certainly just did! By stating that I have to show that the New Testament is literally inaccurate you assume by default that they are indeed factual. Again, most historians wouldn't accept that all ancient narratives are true and accurate simply by virtue of being written down.
WinePusher wrote:
Adamoriens wrote:I have challenged elsewhere your strange claims that the gospels are eyewitness accounts. You've yet to respond.
I said that the fact that the Gospels were written only a few decades after the alleged events gives a more credence to the belief that they were written by eye-witnesses. Do you take issue with that claim?
Yes, goodness me. If the Gospels were all written within a week of the alleged events I'd probably accept them as eyewitness testimony. We have what appear to be diverging, theologically developed oral traditions, written in a different language by educated authors at least twenty years after the alleged events. You've ignored the whole issue: how likely is it that illiterate Aramaic-speaking working-class men in a war-torn region would learn to read and write Koine Greek and become relatively sophisticated narrative authors?
WinePusher wrote:
WinePusher wrote:Do you think this Applies to the Gospels? Which parts of the Gospels would you consider legend?
Adamoriens wrote:Others here may have better examples, but I would point to the mass resurrection found in Matthew. And consider the entire Gospel of John. There's a reason it's not part of the Synoptics.
What do you mean by "mass" resurrection?
Matthew 27:51-54.
WinePusher wrote:Point A: John did not use the other Synoptic Gospels as a source.
Point B: John's Gospel is significantly different from the Synoptics in areas such as style, emphasis and demeanor, but agrees with the synoptics on major events in Christ's ministry.
Point C: Since John did not copy from the Synoptics, but lists many events of Jesus' life that agree with the Synoptics (such as the passion narratives), it is reasonable to assume that John wrote from the perspective as an eye-witness.
The highly developed theology and higher Christology of John would seem to indicate it to be a later development. In retrospect I see that describing the Gospel of John as entirely legend was rash.
WinePusher wrote:
WinePusher wrote:I think that the options are fine the way they are. Jesus was either who he claimed to be, or he was lying about his nature, or he really believed believed he was God but was actually just insane. Those are the three most logical options we have, and the legend option is dismissed because we have pretty good evidence pertaining to Jesus' life and ministry.
Adamoriens wrote:Oh? Statements assuming the veracity of the Bible are not good enough in this forum. Back it up. Also, literal inaccuracy does not equal legend.
You've been arguing with alot of straw men recently. Where did I assume the veracity of the Bible in my above statement, please quote verbatim.
The entire Lewis Trilemma rests on the assumption that the Bible is historically accurate. Your support of said argument does the same. I for one reject the Trilemma because it does not account for the possibility that the Bible is historically inaccurate (because of myth development, fabrication or exaggeration etc etc.). So long as the Bible can be shown to be possibly inaccurate, the Trilemma is moot.

You've repeatedly used the qualifier "only" to describe the twenty year time span (at best) between Jesus' death and the Gospel of Mark. I would suggest that twenty years is a considerable time; is it possible that the oral traditions changed or were fabricated in this time, rendering any hope for complete historicity lost?

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Post #96

Post by Cathar1950 »

Adamoriens wrote:
WinePusher wrote:
Adamoriens wrote:Most historians wouldn't accept that all ancient narratives are true and accurate simply by virtue of being written down.
I never suggested this. If you think that the New Testament is literally inaccurate then please give reasons to support that view rather then trying to shift the burden.
You most certainly just did! By stating that I have to show that the New Testament is literally inaccurate you assume by default that they are indeed factual. Again, most historians wouldn't accept that all ancient narratives are true and accurate simply by virtue of being written down.
WinePusher wrote:
Adamoriens wrote:I have challenged elsewhere your strange claims that the gospels are eyewitness accounts. You've yet to respond.
I said that the fact that the Gospels were written only a few decades after the alleged events gives a more credence to the belief that they were written by eye-witnesses. Do you take issue with that claim?
Yes, goodness me. If the Gospels were all written within a week of the alleged events I'd probably accept them as eyewitness testimony. We have what appear to be diverging, theologically developed oral traditions, written in a different language by educated authors at least twenty years after the alleged events. You've ignored the whole issue: how likely is it that illiterate Aramaic-speaking working-class men in a war-torn region would learn to read and write Koine Greek and become relatively sophisticated narrative authors?
WinePusher wrote:
WinePusher wrote:Do you think this Applies to the Gospels? Which parts of the Gospels would you consider legend?
Adamoriens wrote:Others here may have better examples, but I would point to the mass resurrection found in Matthew. And consider the entire Gospel of John. There's a reason it's not part of the Synoptics.
What do you mean by "mass" resurrection?
Matthew 27:51-54.
WinePusher wrote:Point A: John did not use the other Synoptic Gospels as a source.
Point B: John's Gospel is significantly different from the Synoptics in areas such as style, emphasis and demeanor, but agrees with the synoptics on major events in Christ's ministry.
Point C: Since John did not copy from the Synoptics, but lists many events of Jesus' life that agree with the Synoptics (such as the passion narratives), it is reasonable to assume that John wrote from the perspective as an eye-witness.
The highly developed theology and higher Christology of John would seem to indicate it to be a later development. In retrospect I see that describing the Gospel of John as entirely legend was rash.
WinePusher wrote:
WinePusher wrote:I think that the options are fine the way they are. Jesus was either who he claimed to be, or he was lying about his nature, or he really believed believed he was God but was actually just insane. Those are the three most logical options we have, and the legend option is dismissed because we have pretty good evidence pertaining to Jesus' life and ministry.
Adamoriens wrote:Oh? Statements assuming the veracity of the Bible are not good enough in this forum. Back it up. Also, literal inaccuracy does not equal legend.
You've been arguing with alot of straw men recently. Where did I assume the veracity of the Bible in my above statement, please quote verbatim.
The entire Lewis Trilemma rests on the assumption that the Bible is historically accurate. Your support of said argument does the same. I for one reject the Trilemma because it does not account for the possibility that the Bible is historically inaccurate (because of myth development, fabrication or exaggeration etc etc.). So long as the Bible can be shown to be possibly inaccurate, the Trilemma is moot.

You've repeatedly used the qualifier "only" to describe the twenty year time span (at best) between Jesus' death and the Gospel of Mark. I would suggest that twenty years is a considerable time; is it possible that the oral traditions changed or were fabricated in this time, rendering any hope for complete historicity lost?
It is more like 40 years as Mark was after the Jewish war 70 CE.
Then 15 to 40 year for the others.
Some have suggested he might have died much earlier then 30 as there is some reasons to think Pilot was there earlier.
Erhman in another book compares another contemporary of Jesus Apollonious with comparable myths, should we take all other writings as fact and literal?
Of course the Roman did destroy many writings and it is a wonder anything survive but all these various groups, mystery religions, cults were growing up at the same times when the writings were being written and selected.
The followers of Apollonious claimed he was the real thing and Jesus was a fake while the followers of Jesus did the same and to each other.

WinePusher

Post #97

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:Well, I'd have to disagree. Firstly, the fact that there are texts known as Gospels that belong to the canon of the Bible does not discount them from being historically accurate accounts. They are reliable sources of information on the historical ministry and existence of Jesus.
McCulloch wrote:In what way are the anonymous writings of the promoters of a new religion written decades after the events in a language foreign to the primary participants be considered reliable sources of information?
-They relay information which is consistent with what we know about the ancient world at that time
-The Greek language was not foriegn to the Gospel writers
-No good reasons have been provided to reject their historical veracity, the most I can assume is that you're approaching them a preconcieved bias
WinePusher wrote:They are then backed up by Jewish and Roman sources,
McCulloch wrote:The Jewish and Roman sources attest only to the community of believers in the late first century.
True, but they also give mention to a Jesus the Christ would performed superhuman feats and left behind a large group of apostles with such a strong conviction that the Jews and Romans persecuted them.
WinePusher wrote:and external charismatic movements.
McCulloch wrote:People in war torn, chaotic strife filled periods of history have a tendency to get caught up in extremist movements. Nothing unusual here.
Come now, as I mentioned in another thread, would it be reasonable to explain that the Civil Rights movement if Martin Luther King did not exist and did not do the things that his adherants claimed he did?

WinePusher

Post #98

Post by WinePusher »

WinePusher wrote:A good point, but it would then be your burden to show the sources for the Gospel of John and even the other 3 Gospels. If the Gospel Writers were not Eye-Witnesses, then you would have to provide explanations as to how they got their information.
Druijf wrote:They got their information from oral and written sources. The majority view on the Synoptic Problem, which I think is very reasonable, is that Matthew and Luke used Mark and another source which we call Q.
Indeed, however if we were to go by this theory Mark, and most of Matthew and Luke are still unaccounted for. Here's a visual diagram:

Image

The Q source would account for commonalities between Matthew and Luke, but as Wikipedia rightly points out, one would think that the Early Church would have preserved such documents. So, to recap, the Q source is certainly a viable explanation for the Synoptic Gospels, but when competing with the explanation that eye-witnesses wrote the texts, it loses.
WinePusher wrote:1) I think this source by my old professor sums it up. The Gospels agree that Jesus died on a friday, they are in harmony when it coems to the day Jesus died. What they are not in harmony on is the exact date of Passover.
Druijf wrote:That is true, but that makes it more unlikely that we are dealing with eyewitness reports here. If someone I care about died tragically on a certain festival day that would cling on my memory, more than which day of the week it was. If the author of the Gospel of John really was the disciple John, wouldn't this be odd?
Well, since both Gospels agree on major parts of the event, such as the day of the death, the possibility of original translation and copying errors is likely. But even if I concede to you that you are right, this would hardly be a damning indictement of Gospels. You're using one small information set to reach a broad range conclusion that the Gospels aren't eye-witness accounts.
WinePusher wrote:2) Could you please extrapolate on the temple being cleansed at the beginning of Jesus ministry, it is to vague for me to respond to.
Druijf wrote:In the gospel of John, the cleansing of the temple is at the beginning of Jesus ministry (John 2:13-25), while in the synoptic tradition it is at the end. It is of course not entirely impossible that Jesus did this twice, but it is not very likely.
I'll first point out that all the Gospels have this recorded. And yes, you are right in saying that it is possible that Jesus did this twice. Also, John does not write in a way that chronciles Jesus' ministry event by event. John 13:1 says points out that the Passover was near, so that event probably happened at the end of Jesus' ministry.

WinePusher

Post #99

Post by WinePusher »

Adamoriens wrote:Most historians wouldn't accept that all ancient narratives are true and accurate simply by virtue of being written down.
WinePusher wrote:I never suggested this. If you think that the New Testament is literally inaccurate then please give reasons to support that view rather then trying to shift the burden.
Adamoriens wrote:You most certainly just did! By stating that I have to show that the New Testament is literally inaccurate you assume by default that they are indeed factual. Again, most historians wouldn't accept that all ancient narratives are true and accurate simply by virtue of being written down.
No, I'm simply asking you to prove your assertion. If you think that the New Testament is literally inaccurate, then give your reasons.
WinePusher wrote:I said that the fact that the Gospels were written only a few decades after the alleged events gives a more credence to the belief that they were written by eye-witnesses. Do you take issue with that claim?
Adamoriens wrote:Yes, goodness me. If the Gospels were all written within a week of the alleged events I'd probably accept them as eyewitness testimony. We have what appear to be diverging, theologically developed oral traditions, written in a different language by educated authors at least twenty years after the alleged events.
Notice that they were written decades after the events. If they were written centuries after the events, that would rule out eye-witness authorship. But they were written only decades after the event, so an objection to eye-witness authorship based on the timeless is fruitless.
Adamoriens wrote:You've ignored the whole issue: how likely is it that illiterate Aramaic-speaking working-class men in a war-torn region would learn to read and write Koine Greek and become relatively sophisticated narrative authors?
I have provided my reasons:

-There is no reason to think that the Apostles did not know Greek
-Greek was a dominant language during the Roman Empire, it is regarded as modern day english, a universal language that tied the empire together
-Greek Scribes could have supplemented parts of the Gospels that seem to be above and beyond Rudimentary Greek through oral dictation.

WinePusher wrote:Point A: John did not use the other Synoptic Gospels as a source.
Point B: John's Gospel is significantly different from the Synoptics in areas such as style, emphasis and demeanor, but agrees with the synoptics on major events in Christ's ministry.
Point C: Since John did not copy from the Synoptics, but lists many events of Jesus' life that agree with the Synoptics (such as the passion narratives), it is reasonable to assume that John wrote from the perspective as an eye-witness.
Adamoriens wrote:The highly developed theology and higher Christology of John would seem to indicate it to be a later development. In retrospect I see that describing the Gospel of John as entirely legend was rash.
Yes, this is consistent with biblical scholarship, John was the last canonical gospel to be written. But this doesn't refute my syllogism, the conclusion that John wrote from an eye-witness perspective still stands.
Adamoriens wrote:The entire Lewis Trilemma rests on the assumption that the Bible is historically accurate.
Not at all. The trilemma rests on the assumption that Jesus Christ historically existed, preached and evangelized, and was crucified. It does not beg the question because that assumption has been proven.
Adamoriens wrote:Your support of said argument does the same. I for one reject the Trilemma because it does not account for the possibility that the Bible is historically inaccurate (because of myth development, fabrication or exaggeration etc etc.). So long as the Bible can be shown to be possibly inaccurate, the Trilemma is moot.
As I said from the beginning, give your reasons as to why you think the Bible is inaccurate when relaying history. The "myth" position is extremely fringe and out of mainstream biblical scholarship. If you to regard the Gospel narratives as myth you would subsequently have to regard the Early Church persecutions and the extra-biblical references as myth.
Adamoriens wrote:You've repeatedly used the qualifier "only" to describe the twenty year time span (at best) between Jesus' death and the Gospel of Mark. I would suggest that twenty years is a considerable time; is it possible that the oral traditions changed or were fabricated in this time, rendering any hope for complete historicity lost?
Yes, I do use that qualifer because when we study other ancient documents that were written centuries after the events, there accuracy is not called into question. From another thread:

"In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies"—e.g., Hammurabi, David, Socrates—would fade into legend.� -- Historian, William Durant

“The two earliest biographers of Alexander the Great, for example, Arrian and Plutarch, wrote more than four hundred years after Alexander’s death in 323 B.C., yet historians generally consider them to be trustworthy. Fabulous legends about the life of Alexander did develop over time, but for the most part only during the several centuries after these two writers.� -- Professor Craig L. Blomberg

The fact is when atheists tend to approach the Bible, they raise the bar (either intentionally or unintentionally) that are not conventional means of discerning history.

WinePusher

Post #100

Post by WinePusher »

Cathar1950 wrote:Erhman in another book compares another contemporary of Jesus Apollonious with comparable myths, should we take all other writings as fact and literal? Of course the Roman did destroy many writings and it is a wonder anything survive but all these various groups, mystery religions, cults were growing up at the same times when the writings were being written and selected.
The followers of Apollonious claimed he was the real thing and Jesus was a fake while the followers of Jesus did the same and to each other.
This is similar to the fossil record gap dilemna. The Romans destroyed the documents pertaining to Jesus Apollonious but left the others untouched? What sets Jesus of Nazareth aside from the other Messiah Figures at that time is that his influence far more enourmous to the point that it threatened Judaism and the Roman Empire. Also, what iis unaddressed is why the other cults and religious groups did not gain as much track as Christianity did.

Frankly, I would submit Constantine's conversion to Christianity as evidence for the divinity of Christ if it is coupled with the other pieces of evidence we have.

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