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Kevin Graham

Book of Abraham

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You will notice the darker writing at the base of the "s" is due to the double-stroke of the pen. Thus, the "color" of the ink is exactly the same as that of the Egyptian character to the left.

So the darker ink at the base of the "s" is due to a double-stroke of the pen, just like the ink at the top of the "s" and on each of the legs of the "m" following the "s" are the same shade as the base of the "s" due to the double-stroke of the pen? I must need new contacts because I don't see it. What I do see are double-strokes made both before and after the base of the "s" and neither of them is the same darkness as the base of the "s". What am I missing?

And each of the hieroglyphs on the left is the result of an exact "double-stroke of the pen" also? With no bleeding or shadowing from an inexact double-stroke? That's one heck of a scribe!!

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What bothers me is Brent Metcalfes research responding to John Gee's has been floating around the internet for a long time. It could be that John Gee is awaiting Brent Metcalfe's book before responding, but I have no way of knowing if John Gee is even aware of Brent's counter-points. And any updates in his position will be a long time in coming.

I have been dissapointed that FAIR has tried to tackle points that badly reflect on their current apologetic on this subject. If John Gee's case has fallen apart then nothing good exists to defend the missing papyrus idea period.

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== So here we have a single Egyptian fragment

It is a bit more than that. We have the beginning of the scroll and a preserved photo copy of its ending, with some text missing inbetween.

== and the letters in the Margins of the KEP and each Character translates to a whole paragraph.

Right.

== What I found intresting is the direction the Characters go. Did egyptians write like we do from top left to bottom right or where they more like the Orientals writting from bottom right to top left in Columns?

The sequence of the KEP characters is how Egyptian reads, from right to left, the same as Hebrew.

== Also what if the fragment was more like a biblical code type of thing? The characters where actually referants into, or perhaps a table of contents into a larger text that we no longer have? In fact the Egyptian paper is even paragraph indented like we do. That doesn't seem very egyptian to me.

Not sure what you're suggesting. That it is a fake? That's a first. Scholars seem to believe it is an authenticated 2nd century Egyptian scroll.

== And what is Gee's position these days?

Good question. From what I can tell, he has avoided the issue. I would be terribly surprised if he still maintained the two inks argument.

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And thanks to Brent's color copies you can develop your own. Before that time you were stuck with trusting Gee but now you can see what Gee saw. Just look at them for Pete's sake. If you think that two inks are manifest just from looking at the color photos, then please explain how you came to this conclusion. I cannot think of anyone who holds to the two ink theory anymore.

I don't see any reason to conclude that the English text to the right of the margin or the Egyptian hieroglyphs that straddle the margin were written by the same hand at the same time or even with the same quill. In fact, they look like they were written with two different quills.

That they appear to be the same color ink seems to my unschooled eye to be clear, but what do I know. I'm no epigraphic scholar.

BTW: your use of "color copies" like the above is what got me confused on this. Thanks for clearing it up that we're talking "color photos" vs. "BW photos" and not color xeroxes vs. BW xeroxes.

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And each of the hieroglyphs on the left is the result of an exact "double-stroke of the pen" also? With no bleeding or shadowing from an inexact double-stroke? That's one heck of a scribe!!

Could the darkness of the bottom of the S have been the Hyroglyph writer correcting the "S" and darkening it in?

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No Im not suggesting it is a fake. Just for a minute there until I went back and checked I thought it read from left to right but I can see I was mistaken. Thats why I said to disreguard.

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Could the darkness of the bottom of the S have been the Hyroglyph writer correcting the "S" and darkening it in?

I was thinking something similar. I noticed that the darkness does not only cover the overlap but the transition into it as well.

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Could the darkness of the bottom of the S have been the Hyroglyph writer correcting the "S" and darkening it in?

I was thinking something similar. I noticed that the darkness does not only cover the overlap but the transition into it as well.

But then there is the initial 'slash' in the beginning of the Egyptian that displays a two-tone as well.

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== So the darker ink at the base of the "s" is due to a double-stroke of the pen, just like the ink at the top of the "s" and on each of the legs of the "m" following the "s" are the same shade as the base of the "s" due to the double-stroke of the pen? I must need new contacts because I don't see it. What I do see are double-strokes made both before and after the base of the "s" and neither of them is the same darkness as the base of the "s". What am I missing?

Quite a bit it seems. Gee's argument was that the English text was written in a different ink. Different from the ink used to write the huge Egyptian symbol to the left. From the black and white copies this seemed plausible if not even probable, because there was a contrast in shade. However the color photos demonstrate that when a double-stroke occurs, the color and shade is identical to the ink used in the Egypian symbol. Therefore, the theory that two inks were used is supported by nothing.

== And each of the hieroglyphs on the left is the result of an exact "double-stroke of the pen" also? With no bleeding or shadowing from an inexact double-stroke? That's one heck of a scribe!!

You have to realze the types of pens they were probably using as well. Try reading the original Declaration of Independence. Maybe it was a feather, but the tips had a cut slant to them so that you could easily make a text thicker by twisting your hand a few degrees. I suspect that the thickness of the Egyptian character was intentional, but this doesn't change the fact that the same ink was used.

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And each of the hieroglyphs on the left is the result of an exact "double-stroke of the pen" also? With no bleeding or shadowing from an inexact double-stroke? That's one heck of a scribe!!

Could the darkness of the bottom of the S have been the Hyroglyph writer correcting the "S" and darkening it in?

This is why, IMO, a handwriting expert could help us understand this thing.

Did the same hand that wrote the English also write the Egyptian?

Is it the same pen?

There are people who do this kind of work all the time. Doesn't seem like that difficult a thing to have done, Kevin's objections notwithstanding.

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gtaggart

== At the very least, it seems odd to me that three of the most famous and prolific critics of the church have color photos of the KEP and the papyri.

It is really a non-issue for me whether Brent did anything irregular or wrong in obtaining the photos (to borrow an argument from Provis, "it doesn't matter how we got them, what matters is what they say!"). However, I do not believe he did anything wrong. He told me his side of the story, and without compelling counter-evidence I see no reason to dispute it. And I asked the same question above a few years ago but according to Tvetness, Metcalfe was not known as a "critic" during that time period, let alone one of the "most famous" ones. I seriously doubt he would have been able to keep a job working security for the Church, if he was some notorious Jack Mormon.

Tvetness also implied that if Mrs.Christenson had any idea that Metcalfe would fall away from the Church, she probably wouldn't have sold him the negatives. But that really doesn't matter. I suspect that if he obtained them illegally, then there would have been some type of legal dispute by now.

== I still have reservations about anything "proven" from color photos.

The initial claim was that something was proven using black and white photos. Gee forwarded his theory that the Egyptian text in the left margin was placed there after the English was written. To prove this he offered the two inks argument. But the color photos prove that this argument is untenable. Thus, the color photos disprove something more than they prove.

== That said, I hope that someone affilated with the church has been preparing to respond to the possible arguments in Metcalfe's much anticipated book, especially since he's already played his hand to some degree.

I couldn't agree more.

USU78

== Why, pray, should I, who know relatively little about the matter, accept Metcalfe's "optical analysis" as being more accute than Gee's?

You shouldn't. You should accept your own analysis. And thanks to Brent's color copies you can develop your own. Before that time you were stuck with trusting Gee but now you can see what Gee saw. Just look at them for Pete's sake. If you think that two inks are manifest just from looking at the color photos, then please explain how you came to this conclusion. I cannot think of anyone who holds to the two ink theory anymore. I doubt even Gee does anymore.

== Was Gee looking at the originals or copies?

Yep. If he wasn't, it is a knock against his credibility for making an argument about inks he never saw to begin with!

== What was the state of the color copy industry in the 1980s, when Metcalfe's copy was made?

You seem to be missing something. These were photos of the originals taken with a high quality 35mm camera. Brent has since scanned them, preserving them digitally. So we are talking about photos of the originals, not photo copies like something from a Xerox machine.

== In other words, slow down, cowpoke. No need to jump into bed with the likes of Metcalfe on anything. His agenda is clear, so check and double check before accepting what, on its surface and only upon his terms, is evidence that Gee is wrong.

I am sorry, but Gee's agenda is just as clear, and unlike Gee, I have no reason to distrust Brent. I am generally trusting, and often give people the benefit of the doubt, until the give me a reason not to. But as I said before, it is not Brent's eyes I am trusting. I am trusting my own, and I expect everyone else to trust their own eyes, which is why the two ink theory has seen its death. Nobody holds to it anymore. Try to find one single LDS apologist who believes it. Since Brent has released the color photos the apologetic died on the spot.

== we should be cautious about making too definite a statement about "identical" or "different" ink on different parts of the originals from perusal of copies, even color copies

But caution was thrown to the wind when Gee, not Brent, started makng arguments based on ink!

Kevin, lest you mistake my intent, it was not to shoot the messenger. I wanted to know where you got your information on Metcalfe's possession of the photos. And I made no claim that they were critics when they got the photos, but it is odd that the only people with photos are now critics (and no, I'm not implying that the KEP are what turned them).

I agree that the two ink theory doesn't look good up against the photo evidence we have at this point. The double stoke on that lower case "s" is pretty compelling; however, I remain skeptical of photographic evidence and claims, given my reasons stated in a previous post. If for example, Metcalfe were making claims about the JSP based on the color of the ink, using the reproductions of the JSP in Larson's book, and Gee were rebutting them, using the reproductions from his "Guide" book, I'd find it difficult to fault either one of them; the colors are that different.

I don't care how high the quality of the 35mm camera that was used to photograph the KEP. I'm more interested in what kind of film were they using. What lighting did they use? The photos Brent has appear to be back lit. Were the photos Gee used back lit? Brent's photos--at least what we've seen, and that's not very much (I have the same photos you have)--were apparently scanned from the photographs. Did the scanning change anything? Has the passage of time affected the quality of Metcalfe's photos? (It has been at least 20+ years since he acquired them.**) How do either set of photos--assuming Gee was working from photos--vary from the original KEP? Assuming Gee was working from the original KEP and Metcalfe from photos, does that change anything? Given how little we know about the quality of Metcalfe's photos relative to the originals versus what Gee was working from, why the rush to besmirch Gee's reputation?

I don't know how to solve the conundrum. Obviously, based on the photos Brent has posted and assuming that they are accurate representations of the KEP, including color, the two ink theory is history. But we don't know that, so I'll withhold judgment until we have more to evaluate.

**If Metcalfe explained this to me, I forget, but why is it 20+ years out, and he's just now (we hope) coming to press with the photos? Oh, I remember now. He said, ask the church. Tell you what. I'll ask the church. Now, maybe Brent will respond to my question: Why has it taken 20+ years to publish the photos (assuming you are still going to publish them)?

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This is why, IMO, a handwriting expert could help us understand this thing.

Did the same hand that wrote the English also write the Egyptian?

Is it the same pen?

There are people who do this kind of work all the time. Doesn't seem like that difficult a thing to have done, Kevin's objections notwithstanding.

Which leads to my question on the previous page about not making the KEP available.

I assume the person doing the tests would need the actual document, not just photos.

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This is why, IMO, a handwriting expert could help us understand this thing.

Did the same hand that wrote the English also write the Egyptian?

Is it the same pen?

There are people who do this kind of work all the time.  Doesn't seem like that difficult a thing to have done, Kevin's objections notwithstanding.

Which leads to my question on the previous page about not making the KEP available.

I assume the person doing the tests would need the actual document, not just photos.

Originals are always best, but for handwriting analysis, they might not be necessary.

Does anybody else get a queasy feeling on all of this, given the photos came from sources connected with Hoffman and the very time Hoffman was dishing his dirt and calling it gold?

Oh, Mr. Throckmorton? Got a minute?

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I can't figure something out with the photos.

On page one of this thread, there's a black and white photo of the KEP. I can't tell where on the KEP the close up color photo comes from. Are there more pages to the KEP other than that one? Are there any prints of those other pages (if there are more)?

Edit - n/m - I think the photo provided below answers my question.

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== Did the same hand that wrote the English also write the Egyptian? Is it the same pen?

Yes, it seems clear that the person who wrote the text to the left is the same who wrote the text to the right. Take for example this photo. Notice that the shades change when the scribe changes. This is due to styles of writing, which in this case is determined in how a pen is held, and how much pressure is applied.

ms2p1_web-sm.jpg

Further, handwriting experts are good for determining authorship of text, assuming it is written in their native language. It would be very difficult, for example, to determine whether a tribal signature or a Ying Yang that I had drawn was actually drawn by me. Likewise, how would one detemine if a weird Egyptian symbol was written by anyone, unless the expert had previous examples of Egyptian writings by that person?

It should also be noted that this observation further undermines a two inks theory.

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I think it might also have to do with how often the pen was dipped in the well. Too. In this case was a different pen used by the two scribes? Perhaps a different well even? (two inks) :P

If you are using a quill do you not have to sharpen once in a while?

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I can't figure something out with the photos. 

On page one of this thread, there's a black and white photo of the KEP.  I can't tell where on the KEP the close up color photo comes from.  Are there more pages to the KEP other than that one?  Are there any prints of those other pages (if there are more)?

Unless Bro. Graham has more photos than I do, what we have (we meaning everybody other than Metcalfe, G. Smith, Ashment, and the Church) are five or six or seven scanned photos of small parts of the KEP. The Kirtland Egyptian papers are made up of some 60+ pages of material that includes a grammar and what appears to be a translation or translation attempt, among other things. I'd guess that the scanned photos that Metcalfe posted make up less than a page or two, though it's been some time since I looked at them. (Sorry for the inexact count on the photos, but I have them saved on my laptop, and it's not up and running right now.)

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== On page one of this thread, there's a black and white photo of the KEP. I can't tell where on the KEP the close up color photo comes from. Are there more pages to the KEP other than that one? Are there any prints of those other pages (if there are more)?

Yes there are many more pages, and apparently Brent has a personal collection containing them all. Unfortunately he has not released any more publicly, but he recently said he would share some more scans with us. I look forward to it.

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I posted this on the other thread, bu considering the PMs and similar questions, it seems few have read it. So I will provide it here as well:

iCod,

At this point I do not know that there is an effective apologetic forthcoming, and what makes it frustrating for LDS apologetics is that the critics have access to the relevant materials, whereas talented apolgists are left on hold. But for how long?

A couple of years ago I was chatting on the phone with Ben McGuire. He and I were tossing out ideas about an effective response, noting how the KEP might be rendered irrelevant. But ultimately we both knew it would be meaningless to develop anything unless we could examine the color photos of the KEP first. This is why I pay little attention to new BoA apologetic. I know the KEP cannot be examined personally, so whatever is "new" in BoA apologetics will be ignoring the elephant in the room.

As I mentioned in the other thread, everything is not altogether grim. But perhaps the only thing going for us is the fact that the KEP do not represent a complete translation. This means that another translation manuscript was used for the final product. Smith's journal entries indicate that the final manuscript went through corrections, and there are no indications of any corrections being made in the KEP.

Technically, we do not know for a fact what the KEP were meant to be. But it will do us no good to ignore the fact that all evidence at this poin seems to favor the critical argument; that it was an effort to translate the Sensen papyrus. What seems to be undeniable at this point is that those involved in the KEP "project," even if they were not trying to "translate" something, at the very least seemed to believe the Sensen papyrus was directly related to the BoA in some way. This alone causes a huge problem for LDS apologists since virtually all of us have insisted that that particular scroll couldn't have possibly been the source for the BoA. This is a position that seems to be a permanent (except for a few like Paul Osborne) one in LDS apologia, and the reason for this is simple. Current scholarship in Egyptology proves beyond a doubt that this scroll had absolutely nothing to do with Abraham.

It is a quagmire for us to say the least, which is why I bring it up as such whenever someone asks what the toughest issue is that we have to deal with. It is by far the BoA. It dwarfs the BoM's problems, mainly because testimony-bearing LDS can find comfort in the fact that we do no have the original gold plates, nor do we have some kind of Roseta Stone to verify what "reformed Egypian" could look like in English. However we do have a Rosseta Stone to help us understand Egyptian, and that means LDS apologists must reject the second whammy: an extant source for the BoA translation.

To concede the existence of both means certain death to BoA apologetics. Paul Osborne acceps the source but rejects current scholarship and the claim that the Rosetta Stone can tell scholars what the Sensen Papyrus says in English. However most of us accept current scolarship and reject the claim that we have the source document. This is why the immediate knee-jerk apologetic is about some mysterious "missing scroll."

== Has it crossed your mind that maybe, just maybe, JS was wrong with the BOA?

Of course.

== And if so, how does that affect your views on JS as being a true prophet of God?

Naturally it would undermine that view considerably, but I have been holding out a few years for something to come forth, apologetically speaking. I can wait longer.

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Perhaps Brent should write up a review of all, or some of FAIR apologetic on the Book of Abraham & post a copy here & send one to FAIR. Maybe then somebody might get John Gee's responses on the subject. A review of FAIR's review of the Lost Book of Abraham film would be nice.

With the Book of Breathings I do not think if they had a lost portion of the papyrus that had better content in it that none of that portion turned up in that paperwork. And I just don't buy into the idea Joseph Smith was on vacation when the scribes tried to work with the wrong text. Unless he wasn't around when they used that text if he felt they were making a mistake he would have corrected them.

I also think it's highly likely they used the text because Joseph Smith pointed to it & said that's the Book of Abraham. And they no doubts saw Joseph Smith spend a lot of time working with certain portions of the papyrus.

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Perhaps Brent should write up a review of all, or some of FAIR apologetic on the Book of Abraham & post  a copy here & send one to FAIR. Maybe then somebody might get John Gee's responses on the subject. A review of FAIR's review of the Lost Book of Abraham film would be nice.

With the Book of Breathings I do not think if they had a lost portion of the papyrus that had better content in it that none of that portion turned up in that paperwork. And I just don't buy into the idea Joseph Smith was on vacation when the scribes tried to work with the wrong text. Unless he wasn't around when they used that text if he felt they were making a mistake he would have corrected them.

I also think it's highly likely they used the text because Joseph Smith pointed to it & said that's the Book of Abraham. And they no doubts saw Joseph Smith spend a lot of time working with certain portions of the papyrus.

Brent is or has been preparing what he calls a critical edition on the Book of Abraham, which is supposed to contain a critical text analysis of the KEP, akin to Skousen's work on the Book of Mormon manuscript I suppose. It was supposed to be out last December, but for whatever reason has been delayed.

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Quite a bit it seems. Gee's argument was that the English text was written in a different ink. Different from the ink used to write the huge Egyptian symbol to the left. From the black and white copies this seemed plausible if not even probable, because there was a contrast in shade. However the color photos demonstrate that when a double-stroke occurs, the color and shade is identical to the ink used in the Egypian symbol. Therefore, the theory that two inks were used is supported by nothing.

The underlined words are not correct. Try rereading my post. I point to two double-strokes, one before and one after the base of the "s" and neither is "identical to the ink used in the Egyptian symbol."

So the darker ink at the base of the "s" is due to a double-stroke of the pen, just like the ink at the top of the "s" and on each of the legs of the "m" following the "s" are the same shade as the base of the "s" due to the double-stroke of the pen? I must need new contacts because I don't see it. What I do see are double-strokes made both before and after the base of the "s" and neither of them is the same darkness as the base of the "s".

Please explain why the double-strokes at the top of the "s" and on the legs of the "m" are not dark. The dark base of the "s" would therefore appear not to be the result of a double-stroke, otherwise the top of the "s" and the legs of the "m" would also be dark. They are not.

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I admit I have no clue what you are talking about. Here it is again:

ms1bp5_web-detail.jpg

It is perfectly clear that the inks used here are identical. You seem to be the only person not seeing it.

== I point to two double-strokes, one before and one after the base of the "s" and neither is "identical to the ink used in the Egyptian symbol."

There is no double-stroke before the base of the "s." The double-stroke after the base is supposed to be the legs of the "m"? Sorry, but there is no double-stroke there either. There are perhaps two lines coming close together, but what makes the base of the "s" darker is not simply the double-stroke. It also has to do with the twisting of the pen's tip as the pen comes back across at a different angle. Pressure applied is a factor as well. Try writing an "s" with a paint brush with a wide head and you'll see similar results. In any event, it really doesn't matter what factors determine the color of the base of the "s" since its shade makes it perfectly clear that it is the same ink used in the Egyptian symbol.

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Kevin,

It still seems (with due respect to him) that the credibility of the photos owned by Mr. Metcalfe, and he himself are still in question. There's a couple things. From what I recall, Metcalfe's official association with the church ended right around 1996. Long before that, he worked with church security...but why do you think he left? I would like to place a timeline of when he left security employment and came in contact with the KEP. The reason this is a necessary piece, is because it questions the credibility of Metcalfe. If indeed he was let go, he'd have the perfect reason for vendetta against the church. I'm not suggesting that he adjusted photos, but it is a possible motive. Particularly as one closely associated with Hoffman, it is unfathomable to me that people don't take this without a grain of salt. Hoffman was perhaps the greatest forger of all times, and people accept Metcalfe's account and explanation hook line and sinker, forgetting he was associated with him? Not only that, but let us assume the Metcalfe is 100% truthful. How do we know that everything is as it appears, considering the number of hands these things have passed through over the years?

What apologists are being accused of (taking Gee's word) is the same problem with the critical side...taking Metcalfe's word without confirmation of the facts. Now of course, they may exist, but I am honestly not aware of them. The point that 'critics' happen to have access to copies of these papers is HUGE! Not to mention, Brent Metcalfe has NO training in handwriting analysis. For instance, in the picture (the zoom in on the S), I see a white horizontal line about a quarter of the way up. I don't know that it's anything, but it looks weird to me. Also, is there a difference between different ink, and a different pen? I don't know how many inks they had back then, but whether it was written at the same time or a very different time, do we know the ink is, or is not relevant? Would be nice to have a professional examine it. I'm not saying he's not right, but before jumping on the bandwagon, serious relevancy quesitons need to be answered.

I'll stop here for your comment.

PacMan

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I look forward to Brent's book. My difficulty is the best source I have for quick answers is FAIR. And when Brent publishes I suspect an later issue of FARMS Review of Books will have John Gee's response to him. And that means maybe in two to five years something new will be forthcoming from the missing papyrus camp. And directing some issues for FAIR to research will speed up the dialogue considerable.

And I have not seen any indications John Gee is as close to publishing his study as Brent is. Hopefully soon Brent Metcalfe can get his book out. I look forward to buying a copy.

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