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Acts 4:13. A death-blow to Apostolicity ?

This is probably a provocative subject considering most of us are conservatives, some of us even more than others.

I have held off this subject, but I feel now is a proper time.

As we all know, in the current set of books in the New Testament / Brit Hadashah there exists 5 Johannine books, and 2 Petrine books. These have been traditionally attributed strictly to the Apostle John (son of Zebidee) and to the Apostle Peter. Granting the Semitic position (Hebrew & Aramaic) but also granting the majority position (Koine Greek) we run into an issue immediately.

First and foremost, the only books of these seven that actually claim they are by an Apostle, are the two ascribed to Peter. None of John's books claim to be by the Apostle himself (the Gospel of John is the only book one can make an argument for that it does claim to be by the Apostle). Contrary to popular belief, Revelation as we have it, only claims to be a revelation to a man named John, a common name amongst Hebrews.

Now onto Scripture and the evidence:
The Acts of the Apostles, by Luke represents the earliest historical record amongst believers.

In Acts 4:13 we have a statement that raises many problems:
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began
to recognize them as having been with Jesus.


Now if they were uneducated, untrained Hebrew/Aramaic speaking layman/peasants, how could they have an ability to write in Hebrew or Aramaic? Or even worse, how could they have written in such magnificent Greek? And why do their books contain Greek Philosophic words? We even have a mention of Tartarus in 2 Peter 2:4.

I am wondering what your opinions are on this, certainly it's not impossible they learned to write, but they are unlikely to have produced Epistles, a genre principally written in Greek.

As a final note, there is at least another 5 writings ascribed to Peter, such as the Apocalypse of Peter or the Preaching of Peter. Also the Gospel of Peter.

Thank you for reading.

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But no way in which psychological harm would not be done.

Chad Evans said:
There are ways in which CP could be done without physical harm to anyone.

@Anayah
Who says it would be lust? maybe in most cases, but not all.

James Trimm said:
The Scriptures forbid harming children and harming one another.
true.

James Trimm said:
But no way in which psychological harm would not be done.

Chad Evans said:
There are ways in which CP could be done without physical harm to anyone.

@Anayah
Who says it would be lust? maybe in most cases, but not all.

James Trimm said:
The Scriptures forbid harming children and harming one another.
" Now if they were uneducated, untrained Hebrew/Aramaic speaking layman/peasants, how could they have an ability to write in Hebrew or Aramaic? "
in the ancient times anyone may send an epistle but he needs a SCRIBE to pen down his message, there were fewer men capable of writing script than today. tradition says that Kefa had a scribe with him in the name of Markus (1 Pet. 5:13).

"Or even worse, how could they have written in such magnificent Greek? And why do their books contain Greek Philosophic words?"
the book of Acts was written by a greek physician named Luke for the benefit of a certain Theophilus, probably a wealthy benefactor of early churches whose worthy request cannot be refused by a physician like Luke, certainly Luke had good command in Greek. Paul writes unto greek speaking congregations: sending a letter to the Ephesians in Aramaic? of course not, greek is the natural language to the readers and Paul had a good command in that language.
but 1st Letter of Peter being intended to the diaspora is naturally written in aramaic.
The question of the Luke/Acts tradition holds particular interest to us. This is because the common wisdom has been to portray Luke as a Greek speaking, Greek writing Gentile who wrote his account to the Gentiles. The reality of the matter is (whether Luke himself knew Greek or not) that Luke was most certainly written in a Semitic language. as Charles Cutler Torrey states:

In regard to Lk. it remains to be said, that of all the
Four Gospels it is the one which gives by far the plainest and
most constant evidence of being a translation.
- C.C. Torrey; Our Translated Gospels p. lix

Luke was a Syrian of Antioch (Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:4) so his native language would have been Syriac, an Aramaic dialect.

Actually Theophilus was a Jew who had been High Priest from 37-41 CE (Josephus; Ant. 18:5:3). A Syrian convert to Judaism such as Luke would likely have written the High Priest in Aramaic.

The Pauline Epistles

The common wisdom of textual origins has always been that the Pauline Epistles were first written in Greek. This position is held by many, despite the fact that two "church fathers" admitted the Semitic origin of at least one of Paul's Epistles and one (Jerome) admits to the Semitic origin of most, if not all, of Paul's Epistles . Still, Paul is generally seen as a Helenist Jew from Tarsus who Hellenized the Gospel. So strong has this image of Paul been instilled in Western scholarship that even those who have argued for a Semitic origin for significant portions of the New Testament have rarely ventured to challenge the Greek origin of the Pauline Epistles.


Paul and Tarsus

In addressing the issue of the Pauline Epistles, we must first examine the background of Tarsus. Was Tarsus a Greek speaking city? Would Paul have learned Greek there? Tarsus probably began as a Hittite city-state. Around 850 B.C.E. Tarsus became part of the great Assyrian Empire. When the Assyrian Empire was conquered by the Babylonian Empire around 605 B.C.E. Tarsus became a part of that Empire as well. Then, in 540 B.C.E. The Babylonian Empire, including Tarsus, was incorporated into the Persian Empire. Aramaic was the chief language of all three of these great Empires. By the first century Aramaic remained a primary language of Tarsus. Coins struck at Tarsus and recovered by archaeologists have Aramaic inscriptions on them .
Regardless of the language of Tarsus, there is also great question as to if Paul was actually brought up in Tarsus or just incidentally born there. The key text in question is Acts 22:3:

I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia,
but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,
taught according to the strictness of our father's Torah.
and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

Paul sees his birth at Tarsus as irrelevant and points to his being "brought up" in Jerusalem. Much argument has been given by scholars to this term "brought up" as it appears here. Some have argued that it refers only to Paul's adolescent years. A key, however, to the usage of the term may be found in a somewhat parallel passage in Acts 7:20-23:

At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God;
and he was brought up in his father's house for three months.
And when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away
and brought him up as her own son.
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians...

Note the sequence; "born" (Greek = gennao; Aramaic = ityiled); "brought up" (Greek = anatrepho; Aramaic = itrabi); "learned/taught" (Greek = paideuo; Aramaic = itr'di). Through this parallel sequence which presumably was idiomatic in the language, we can see that Paul was born at Tarsus, raised in Jerusalem, and then taught. Paul's entire context is that his being raised in Jerusalem is his primary upbringing, and that he was merely born at Tarsus.


Was Paul a Helenist?

The claim that Paul was a Hellenistic is also a misunderstanding that should be dealt with. As we have already seen, Paul was born at Tarsus, a city where Aramaic was spoken. Whatever Hellenistic influences may have been at Tarsus, Paul seems to have left there at a very early age and been "brought up" in Jerusalem. Paul describes himself as a "Hebrew" (2Cor. 11:2) and a "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Phil. 3:5), and "of the tribe of Benjamin" (Rom. 11:1). It is important to realize how the term "Hebrew" was used in the first century. The term Hebrew was not used as a genealogical term, but as a cultural/linguistic term. An example of this can be found in Acts 6:1 were a dispute arises between the "Hebrews" and the "Hellenistic." Most scholars agree that the "Hellenistic" here are Helenist Jews. No evangelistic efforts had yet been made toward non-Jews (Acts 11:19) much less Greeks (see Acts 16:6-10). In Acts 6:1 a clear contrast is made between Helenists and Hebrews which are clearly non-Helenists. Helenists were not called Hebrews, a term reserved for non-Helenist Jews. When Paul calls himself a "Hebrew" he is claiming to be a non-Helenist, and when he calls himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews" he is claiming to be strongly non-Helenist. This would explain why Paul disputed against the Helenists and why they attempted to kill him (Acts. 9:29) and why he escaped to Tarsus (Acts 9:30). If there was no non-Helenist Jewish population in Tarsus, this would have been a very bad move.
Paul's Pharisee background gives us further reason to doubt that he was in any way a Helenist. Paul claimed to be a "Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee" (Acts 23:6) meaning that he was at least a second generation Pharisee. The Aramaic text, as well as some Greek mss. have "Pharisee the son of Pharisees," a Semitic idiomatic expression meaning a third generation Pharisee. If Paul were a second or third generation Pharisee, it would be difficult to accept that he had been raised up as a Helenist. Pharisees were staunchly opposed to Helenism. Paul's claim to be a second or third generation Pharisee is further amplified by his claim to have been a student of Gamliel (Acts 22:3). Gamliel was the grandson of Hillel and the head of the school of Hillel. He was so well respected that the Mishna states that upon his death "the glory of the Torah ceased, and purity and modesty died." The truth of Paul's claim to have studied under Gamliel is witnessed by Paul's constant use of Hillelian Hermeneutics. Paul makes extensive use, for example, of the first rule of Hillel. It is an unlikely proposition that a Helenist would have studied under Gamliel at the school of Hillel, then the center of Pharisaic Judaism.


The Audience and Purpose of the Pauline Epistles

Paul's audience is another element which must be considered when tracing the origins of his Epistles. Paul's Epistles were addressed to various congregations in the Diaspora. These congregations were mixed groups made up of a core group of Jews and a complimentary group of Gentiles. The Thessalonian congregation was just such an assembly (Acts 17:1-4) as were the Corinthians . It is known that Aramaic remained a language of Jews living in the Diaspora, and in fact Jewish Aramaic inscriptions have been found at Rome, Pompei and even England. If Paul wrote his Epistle's in Hebrew or Aramaic to a core group of Jews at each congregation who then passed the message on to their Gentile counterparts then this might give some added dimension to Paul's phrase "to the Jew first and then to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16; 2:9-10). It would also shed more light on the passage which Paul writes:

What advantage then has the Jew,
or what is the profit of circumcision?
Much in every way!
To them first, were committed the Words of God.
- Rom. 3:1-2

It is clear that Paul did not write his letters in the native tongues of the cities to which he wrote. Certainly no one would argue for a Latin original of Romans.
One final issue which must be discussed regarding the origin of Paul's Epistles, is their intended purpose. It appears that Paul intended the purpose of his Epistles to be:

1) To be read in the Congregations (Col. 4:16; 1Thes. 5:27)

2) To have doctrinal authority (1Cor. 14:37)

All Synagogue liturgy during the Second Temple era, was in Hebrew and Aramaic Paul would not have written material which he intended to be read in the congregations in any other language. Moreover all religious writings of Jews which claimed halachic (doctrinal) authority, were written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Paul could not have expected that his Epistles would be accepted as having the authority he claimed for them, without having written them in Hebrew or Aramaic.



Semitic Style of Paul’s Epistles

Paul clearly writes using Semitic idiomatic expressions. Paul uses the term "word" to refer to some matter or thing (1Cor. 12:8) Paul also uses the Semitic form of magnification by following a noun with its plural form. This is used in the Tenach (Old Testament) in such terms as "Holy of Holies." Paul uses this idiom in such phrases as "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Phil. 3:5); "King of kings" and "Lord of lords" (1Tim. 6:15).

Paul was born in Tarsus, an Aramaic speaking city, and raised up in Jerusalem as a staunch non-Helenist. He wrote his Epistles to core groups of Jews at various congregations in the Diaspora to hold doctrinal authority and to be used as liturgy. There can be little doubt that he wrote these Epistles in Hebrew or Aramaic and they were later translated into Greek.

Clement of Alexandria (150 - 212 C.E.)
In the work called Hypotyposes, to sum up the matter briefly
he [Clement of Alexandria] has given us abridged accounts of
all the canonical Scriptures,... the Epistle to the Hebrews he
asserts was written by Paul, to the Hebrews, in the Hebrew
tongue; but that it was carefully translated by Luke, and
published among the Greeks.
(Eccl. Clement of Alexandria; Hypotyposes; referred to by Eusebius in Hist. 6:14:2)

Eusebius (315 C.E.)
For as Paul had addressed the Hebrews in the language of his
country; some say that the evangelist Luke, others that
Clement, translated the epistle.
(Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:38:2-3)

Jerome (382)
"He (Paul) being a Hebrew wrote in Hebrew, that is, his own
tongue and most fluently while things which were eloquently
written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek
(Lives of Illustrious Men, Book V)

beryl etanah said:
" Now if they were uneducated, untrained Hebrew/Aramaic speaking layman/peasants, how could they have an ability to write in Hebrew or Aramaic? "
in the ancient times anyone may send an epistle but he needs a SCRIBE to pen down his message, there were fewer men capable of writing script than today. tradition says that Kefa had a scribe with him in the name of Markus (1 Pet. 5:13).

"Or even worse, how could they have written in such magnificent Greek? And why do their books contain Greek Philosophic words?"
the book of Acts was written by a greek physician named Luke for the benefit of a certain Theophilus, probably a wealthy benefactor of early churches whose worthy request cannot be refused by a physician like Luke, certainly Luke had good command in Greek. Paul writes unto greek speaking congregations: sending a letter to the Ephesians in Aramaic? of course not, greek is the natural language to the readers and Paul had a good command in that language.
but 1st Letter of Peter being intended to the diaspora is naturally written in aramaic.
Well-written.

However one major problem is that Tarsus was not an "Aramaic-speaking" town/city. It was not under the Persians as your statements seem to indicate, it was conquered in the campaigns of Alexander the Great, and later acquired by the Romans. Tarsus was a Greek-dominated Greek-speaking town/city. This can be placed anywhere between 85% to 93%, with the Jewish population (perhaps in the several 1000s?) holding onto Hebrew and Aramaic.

I would like to see more of your defense of the Semitic position on Paul's writings, as there is little to no doubt they all originate in Greek.

Also, you violate Paul's own commission when you claim he wrote to Jews as the majority, He was the Apostle(Emissary) to the Gentiles(Goyim) ! He can't be writing to Gentile assemblies in Hebrew or Aramaic.

Is there any evidence of Jewish-dominated assemblies? Scholarly consensus (Conservative & Liberal) indicate he wrote to mostly Gentiles, or in some cases, ONLY Gentiles.

James Trimm said:
The question of the Luke/Acts tradition holds particular interest to us. This is because the common wisdom has been to portray Luke as a Greek speaking, Greek writing Gentile who wrote his account to the Gentiles. The reality of the matter is (whether Luke himself knew Greek or not) that Luke was most certainly written in a Semitic language. as Charles Cutler Torrey states:

In regard to Lk. it remains to be said, that of all the
Four Gospels it is the one which gives by far the plainest and
most constant evidence of being a translation.
- C.C. Torrey; Our Translated Gospels p. lix

Luke was a Syrian of Antioch (Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:4) so his native language would have been Syriac, an Aramaic dialect.

Actually Theophilus was a Jew who had been High Priest from 37-41 CE (Josephus; Ant. 18:5:3). A Syrian convert to Judaism such as Luke would likely have written the High Priest in Aramaic.

The Pauline Epistles

The common wisdom of textual origins has always been that the Pauline Epistles were first written in Greek. This position is held by many, despite the fact that two "church fathers" admitted the Semitic origin of at least one of Paul's Epistles and one (Jerome) admits to the Semitic origin of most, if not all, of Paul's Epistles . Still, Paul is generally seen as a Helenist Jew from Tarsus who Hellenized the Gospel. So strong has this image of Paul been instilled in Western scholarship that even those who have argued for a Semitic origin for significant portions of the New Testament have rarely ventured to challenge the Greek origin of the Pauline Epistles.


Paul and Tarsus

In addressing the issue of the Pauline Epistles, we must first examine the background of Tarsus. Was Tarsus a Greek speaking city? Would Paul have learned Greek there? Tarsus probably began as a Hittite city-state. Around 850 B.C.E. Tarsus became part of the great Assyrian Empire. When the Assyrian Empire was conquered by the Babylonian Empire around 605 B.C.E. Tarsus became a part of that Empire as well. Then, in 540 B.C.E. The Babylonian Empire, including Tarsus, was incorporated into the Persian Empire. Aramaic was the chief language of all three of these great Empires. By the first century Aramaic remained a primary language of Tarsus. Coins struck at Tarsus and recovered by archaeologists have Aramaic inscriptions on them .
Regardless of the language of Tarsus, there is also great question as to if Paul was actually brought up in Tarsus or just incidentally born there. The key text in question is Acts 22:3:

I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city of Cilicia,
but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel,
taught according to the strictness of our father's Torah.
and was zealous toward God as you all are today.

Paul sees his birth at Tarsus as irrelevant and points to his being "brought up" in Jerusalem. Much argument has been given by scholars to this term "brought up" as it appears here. Some have argued that it refers only to Paul's adolescent years. A key, however, to the usage of the term may be found in a somewhat parallel passage in Acts 7:20-23:

At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God;
and he was brought up in his father's house for three months.
And when he was set out, Pharaoh's daughter took him away
and brought him up as her own son.
And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians...

Note the sequence; "born" (Greek = gennao; Aramaic = ityiled); "brought up" (Greek = anatrepho; Aramaic = itrabi); "learned/taught" (Greek = paideuo; Aramaic = itr'di). Through this parallel sequence which presumably was idiomatic in the language, we can see that Paul was born at Tarsus, raised in Jerusalem, and then taught. Paul's entire context is that his being raised in Jerusalem is his primary upbringing, and that he was merely born at Tarsus.


Was Paul a Helenist?

The claim that Paul was a Hellenistic is also a misunderstanding that should be dealt with. As we have already seen, Paul was born at Tarsus, a city where Aramaic was spoken. Whatever Hellenistic influences may have been at Tarsus, Paul seems to have left there at a very early age and been "brought up" in Jerusalem. Paul describes himself as a "Hebrew" (2Cor. 11:2) and a "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Phil. 3:5), and "of the tribe of Benjamin" (Rom. 11:1). It is important to realize how the term "Hebrew" was used in the first century. The term Hebrew was not used as a genealogical term, but as a cultural/linguistic term. An example of this can be found in Acts 6:1 were a dispute arises between the "Hebrews" and the "Hellenistic." Most scholars agree that the "Hellenistic" here are Helenist Jews. No evangelistic efforts had yet been made toward non-Jews (Acts 11:19) much less Greeks (see Acts 16:6-10). In Acts 6:1 a clear contrast is made between Helenists and Hebrews which are clearly non-Helenists. Helenists were not called Hebrews, a term reserved for non-Helenist Jews. When Paul calls himself a "Hebrew" he is claiming to be a non-Helenist, and when he calls himself a "Hebrew of Hebrews" he is claiming to be strongly non-Helenist. This would explain why Paul disputed against the Helenists and why they attempted to kill him (Acts. 9:29) and why he escaped to Tarsus (Acts 9:30). If there was no non-Helenist Jewish population in Tarsus, this would have been a very bad move.
Paul's Pharisee background gives us further reason to doubt that he was in any way a Helenist. Paul claimed to be a "Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee" (Acts 23:6) meaning that he was at least a second generation Pharisee. The Aramaic text, as well as some Greek mss. have "Pharisee the son of Pharisees," a Semitic idiomatic expression meaning a third generation Pharisee. If Paul were a second or third generation Pharisee, it would be difficult to accept that he had been raised up as a Helenist. Pharisees were staunchly opposed to Helenism. Paul's claim to be a second or third generation Pharisee is further amplified by his claim to have been a student of Gamliel (Acts 22:3). Gamliel was the grandson of Hillel and the head of the school of Hillel. He was so well respected that the Mishna states that upon his death "the glory of the Torah ceased, and purity and modesty died." The truth of Paul's claim to have studied under Gamliel is witnessed by Paul's constant use of Hillelian Hermeneutics. Paul makes extensive use, for example, of the first rule of Hillel. It is an unlikely proposition that a Helenist would have studied under Gamliel at the school of Hillel, then the center of Pharisaic Judaism.


The Audience and Purpose of the Pauline Epistles

Paul's audience is another element which must be considered when tracing the origins of his Epistles. Paul's Epistles were addressed to various congregations in the Diaspora. These congregations were mixed groups made up of a core group of Jews and a complimentary group of Gentiles. The Thessalonian congregation was just such an assembly (Acts 17:1-4) as were the Corinthians . It is known that Aramaic remained a language of Jews living in the Diaspora, and in fact Jewish Aramaic inscriptions have been found at Rome, Pompei and even England. If Paul wrote his Epistle's in Hebrew or Aramaic to a core group of Jews at each congregation who then passed the message on to their Gentile counterparts then this might give some added dimension to Paul's phrase "to the Jew first and then to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16; 2:9-10). It would also shed more light on the passage which Paul writes:

What advantage then has the Jew,
or what is the profit of circumcision?
Much in every way!
To them first, were committed the Words of God.
- Rom. 3:1-2

It is clear that Paul did not write his letters in the native tongues of the cities to which he wrote. Certainly no one would argue for a Latin original of Romans.
One final issue which must be discussed regarding the origin of Paul's Epistles, is their intended purpose. It appears that Paul intended the purpose of his Epistles to be:

1) To be read in the Congregations (Col. 4:16; 1Thes. 5:27)

2) To have doctrinal authority (1Cor. 14:37)

All Synagogue liturgy during the Second Temple era, was in Hebrew and Aramaic Paul would not have written material which he intended to be read in the congregations in any other language. Moreover all religious writings of Jews which claimed halachic (doctrinal) authority, were written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Paul could not have expected that his Epistles would be accepted as having the authority he claimed for them, without having written them in Hebrew or Aramaic.



Semitic Style of Paul’s Epistles

Paul clearly writes using Semitic idiomatic expressions. Paul uses the term "word" to refer to some matter or thing (1Cor. 12:8) Paul also uses the Semitic form of magnification by following a noun with its plural form. This is used in the Tenach (Old Testament) in such terms as "Holy of Holies." Paul uses this idiom in such phrases as "Hebrew of Hebrews" (Phil. 3:5); "King of kings" and "Lord of lords" (1Tim. 6:15).

Paul was born in Tarsus, an Aramaic speaking city, and raised up in Jerusalem as a staunch non-Helenist. He wrote his Epistles to core groups of Jews at various congregations in the Diaspora to hold doctrinal authority and to be used as liturgy. There can be little doubt that he wrote these Epistles in Hebrew or Aramaic and they were later translated into Greek.

Clement of Alexandria (150 - 212 C.E.)
In the work called Hypotyposes, to sum up the matter briefly
he [Clement of Alexandria] has given us abridged accounts of
all the canonical Scriptures,... the Epistle to the Hebrews he
asserts was written by Paul, to the Hebrews, in the Hebrew
tongue; but that it was carefully translated by Luke, and
published among the Greeks.
(Eccl. Clement of Alexandria; Hypotyposes; referred to by Eusebius in Hist. 6:14:2)

Eusebius (315 C.E.)
For as Paul had addressed the Hebrews in the language of his
country; some say that the evangelist Luke, others that
Clement, translated the epistle.
(Eusebius; Eccl. Hist. 3:38:2-3)

Jerome (382)
"He (Paul) being a Hebrew wrote in Hebrew, that is, his own
tongue and most fluently while things which were eloquently
written in Hebrew were more eloquently turned into Greek
(Lives of Illustrious Men, Book V)

beryl etanah said:
" Now if they were uneducated, untrained Hebrew/Aramaic speaking layman/peasants, how could they have an ability to write in Hebrew or Aramaic? "
in the ancient times anyone may send an epistle but he needs a SCRIBE to pen down his message, there were fewer men capable of writing script than today. tradition says that Kefa had a scribe with him in the name of Markus (1 Pet. 5:13).

"Or even worse, how could they have written in such magnificent Greek? And why do their books contain Greek Philosophic words?"
the book of Acts was written by a greek physician named Luke for the benefit of a certain Theophilus, probably a wealthy benefactor of early churches whose worthy request cannot be refused by a physician like Luke, certainly Luke had good command in Greek. Paul writes unto greek speaking congregations: sending a letter to the Ephesians in Aramaic? of course not, greek is the natural language to the readers and Paul had a good command in that language.
but 1st Letter of Peter being intended to the diaspora is naturally written in aramaic.

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