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Twenty Years after Paradigms Regained, Part 2 up at Interpreter


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22 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

A long title, lots of Kuhn and Barker, dealing with some critics including the 2021 BYU Studies essay, and 205 endnotes.

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/twenty-years-after-paradigms-regained-part-2-responding-to-margaret-barkers-critics-and-why-her-work-should-matter-to-latter-day-saints/

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Excellent writing as always.

Regarding Eliason's charge that temple themes are scarce in the Book of Mormon...has he factored in Don Bradley's The Lost 116 Pages? As I recall, a major conclusion of that book was that the Book of Lehi was very temple oriented. It hasn't occurred to me to reread Bradley and compare it with Barker, but I will have to find the time one of these days. That study could be quite illuminating.

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

Excellent writing as always.

Regarding Eliason's charge that temple themes are scarce in the Book of Mormon...has he factored in Don Bradley's The Lost 116 Pages? As I recall, a major conclusion of that book was that the Book of Lehi was very temple oriented. It hasn't occurred to me to reread Bradley and compare it with Barker, but I will have to find the time one of these days. That study could be quite illuminating.

Don Bradley did notice temple themes in the Book of Lehi, as well as in Joseph Smith's first vision.  His chapter 11  in The Lost 116 pages is "Nephi's Temple." 

 But even more to the point regarding the Book of Mormon are things like John W. Welch's lIluminating the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon at the Temple, as his essay on "“The Temple in the Book of Mormon: The Temples at the Cities of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful,” in Temples in the Ancient World.  And a lot more.  Gordon Thomasson recalls being an assistant to Hugh Nibley and coming to work and having Nibley turn and say, "Kick me."  Thomasson refused, but Nibley explained they he should consider all the research that had been doing regarding ancient Near Eastern temples, and then read Alma 12-13 in that light.   If you stop and think, most of the important discourses in the Book of Mormon are given by temple priests either at the temple, or concerning temple themes.   So that particular charge by Eliason, against a substantial chunk of notable LDS scholarship struck me as almost willfully blind.  In many ways, he made a response necessary.

Thanks for the comments.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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On 2/4/2023 at 11:02 AM, OGHoosier said:

Excellent writing as always.

Regarding Eliason's charge that temple themes are scarce in the Book of Mormon...has he factored in Don Bradley's The Lost 116 Pages? As I recall, a major conclusion of that book was that the Book of Lehi was very temple oriented. It hasn't occurred to me to reread Bradley and compare it with Barker, but I will have to find the time one of these days. That study could be quite illuminating.

That is completely speculative. As far as we know and, according to Joseph himself, the 116 pages contained the Book of Lehi. In addition, when Oliver Cowdery arrived in Harmony in April 1829, he likely began scribing as Joseph Smith translated Mosiah, where Joseph and Martin (and Emma and other possible fill-in scribes) had left off. One such piece of evidence that supports this is the appearance of the handwriting of John Whitmer as a scribe in the original Book of Mormon manuscript in the 1 Nephi-to-Words of Mormon section.

There is no reason to believe that there was any information about the temple in those pages. The latter-day temple ceremony is completely different than the one performed in ancient Israel. Nephi makes no mention of anything related to a "ceremony". Lehi offers "sacrifice and burnt offerings" (1 Ne 5:9, 7:22). It is in 1836 in Kirkland that a simple version of the temple ceremony appears, which was later expanded in Navoo in a revelation in 1841.

Any other conclusions in regards to temple ceremonies within the 116 pages lacks any substantive evidence.

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@Islander

You've read Bradley's treatment of the subject of Temple themes in the Book of Mormon, then, and found adequate reason to reject it?  Thanks in advance for any clarification.

-Ken

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16 minutes ago, Islander said:

That is completely speculative. As far as we know and, according to Joseph himself, the 116 pages contained the Book of Lehi. In addition, when Oliver Cowdery arrived in Harmony in April 1829, he likely began scribing as Joseph Smith translated Mosiah, where Joseph and Martin (and Emma and other possible fill-in scribes) had left off. One such piece of evidence that supports this is the appearance of the handwriting of John Whitmer as a scribe in the original Book of Mormon manuscript in the 1 Nephi-to-Words of Mormon section.

There is no reason to believe that there was any information about the temple in those pages. The latter-day temple ceremony is completely different than the one performed in ancient Israel. Nephi makes no mention of anything related to a "ceremony". Lehi offers "sacrifice and burnt offerings" (1 Ne 5:9, 7:22). It is in 1836 in Kirkland that a simple version of the temple ceremony appears, which was later expanded in Navoo in a revelation in 1841.

Any other conclusions in regards to temple ceremonies within the 116 pages lacks any substantive evidence.

Have you actually read Don Bradley's work?  How about Welch's Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount. Welch shows that 3 Nephi 8-29 offers a very complete and detailed temple ceremony in a temple setting, using temple language, levels of sacredness, priesthood authority to baptize followed by priesthood authority to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, the same covenants, and prayer circles and theophany.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/mi/42/

Or Welch's “The Temple in the Book of Mormon: The Temples at the Cities of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful,” in Temples in the Ancient World. 

Or watched this from Book of Mormon Central?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHieRKUC6kU

How about D. John Butler's books on Plain and Precious Things and The Goodness and Mysteries?

Or read my essay in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem on Temple themes in the Book of Mormon, or noticed how many important discourses are given at the temple and/or on temple themes?

file:///C:/Users/Sam's%20Club/Downloads/CH%2016%20The%20temple%20the%20monarchy%20and%20wisdom.pdf

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

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1 hour ago, Kenngo1969 said:

@Islander

You've read Bradley's treatment of the subject of Temple themes in the Book of Mormon, then, and found adequate reason to reject it?  Thanks in advance for any clarification.

-Ken

Got the e-book during Covid. It is primarily a commentary. The narrative is elegant but all that Don Bradley does is refer to "echoes and element of Jewishness". There is absolutely nothing that he can put his finger on that points, decidedly, to a clearly defined temple "ceremony" either in the BoM or any other source. He keeps making reference to "elements that points to..." That is a far cry from what can be called "evidence".

Some friends enjoyed the book, I admit. The difference is that they were satisfied with the possibilities and the inferences. I am a researcher in the health sciences by trade. I am not persuaded by ethereal possibilities based on speculation and farfetched reference loops. We are not talking about faith here. This is just a well intended faith-promoting exercise but it strays too far out into the speculative for my taste.

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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Have you actually read Don Bradley's work?  How about Welch's Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount. Welch shows that 3 Nephi 8-29 offers a very complete and detailed temple ceremony in a temple setting, using temple language, levels of sacredness, priesthood authority to baptize followed by priesthood authority to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, the same covenants, and prayer circles and theophany.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/mi/42/

Or Welch's “The Temple in the Book of Mormon: The Temples at the Cities of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Bountiful,” in Temples in the Ancient World. 

Or watched this from Book of Mormon Central?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHieRKUC6kU

How about D. John Butler's books on Plain and Precious Things and The Goodness and Mysteries?

Or read my essay in Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem on Temple themes in the Book of Mormon, or noticed how many important discourses are given at the temple and/or on temple themes?

file:///C:/Users/Sam's%20Club/Downloads/CH%2016%20The%20temple%20the%20monarchy%20and%20wisdom.pdf

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

I have been a subscriber to FARMS (now the Maxwell Institute) since September of 2000, when I was baptized. I am thoroughly aware of their work and publications.

I understand that, for the most part, I will not be able to persuade anyone in this forum no matter what evidence I bring forth. It seems most people refuse to be persuaded by the facts since they already made up their minds. But the forum is our best effort to exchange ideas and viewpoints across vast distances and time zones. Most times it is impractical to engage in drawn out, extensive arguments. Note that both replies, so far, have failed to point out the actual evidence the writers (Bradley or Welsh) propose as definitively for a "temple ceremony" within the Nephite context. That was and remains my original and only position in regards to the OP.  

Welsh does the same that Bradley does as so many others. It is an "interpretation" which is subjective in nature and lacks any evidentiary value. People may enjoy it. It may enhance their faith experience and, in their minds, provides greater "understanding". But it is NOT grounded in factual information. When it comes to the BoM, we have the text, the message the text conveys and the context described by the text. And that should suffice to ground our understanding of the doctrine and the word of God. Anything else is pure speculation. I have no issue with anyone who enjoys such works. I just alluded to what is undeniable when assessing the text critically and objectively.

I had to go digging on my PDF library in my MI folder but I found it. In "Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount" Welch acknowledges: "What follows, therefore, especially in chapter 4, is an interpretive essay. It is more of an exploration than a proof. Before getting to the individual details of that interpretation...p.25" 

I believe I have said enough.

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1 hour ago, OGHoosier said:

The "message the text conveys" cannot be accessed without interpretation. The very message itself is the product of interpretation. 

"Objective" is fake when it comes to textual analysis and historiography, and "critical" is really just the weighing of competing interpretations; the best you can hope for in narrative history is "intersubjectivity", not "objectivity." 

I will note that Bradley's research is in large part derived from witness testimony who say that the Book of Lehi talked a lot more about temple ceremony and ritual than the succeeding portions of the Book of Mormon. 

That is post-modernism at its best and it has no place when the word of God is concerned.

I disagree. If all scripture is subject o interpretation then it is worthless and does mean anything. Since, according to you, it is subject to interpretation then it could mean anything to anybody and lacks any objective, intrinsic value. Either God has spoken of He has not. Either what He says means what He intended to mean to the people He is talking to at that point. 

We must be careful not to confuse understanding with interpretation. We tend to use it interchangeably but they are not the same. In the case of a literary device like an allegory or a parable we must "interpret" the meaning because it is veiled by the story line. But the meaning of the allegory is ONE. You are not free to "interpret" it as you see fit. Like in the case in 1 Ne 8. Nephi said: "I desire to behold the things which my father saw." He did not launched his own "interpretation" of the dream. He wanted to know the actual meaning of the dream, what God intended for them to know. in 1 Ne 11:16-18 we read: "

"And he [the angel] said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God? And I [Nephi] said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh." There. The angel "interprets/explains" the actual meaning of the vision; what in fact signifies, what is, in reality, what Nephi is seeing. Nephi did not go out on a limb to speculate, explore or infer on his own what the meaning of the vision was in this case.

Forgive me, but you can not (without running afoul) stretch a passage to "interpret" what you "think/feel/believe" when it comes to the Word of God. That is just bad theology and can lead to the worse kinds of scriptural misunderstandings. All heresies begin that way. 

But, like I said before, you already made up your mind.

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Regarding the air quotes around "interpretation" there is this rather inescapable issue with human experience, nicely observed by Ian Barbour:

Quote

In N. R Hanson’s oft quoted words, “All data are theory-laden,” the procedures of measurement and the interpretation of the resulting numerical values depend on implicit theoretical assumptions. Most of the time, of course, scientists work within a framework of thought which they have inherited. … But, says Feyeraband, when the background theory itself is at issue, when the fundamental assumptions and basic concepts are under attack, then the dependence of measurement on theoretical assumptions is crucial.

 Ian Barbour, Myths, Models, and Paradigms: A Comparative Study of Science and Religion, Chapter 6: Paradigms in Science (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 95,  https://www.religion-online.org/book/myths-models-and-paradigms-a-comparative-study-in-science-and-religion/.

Everyone interprets, inescapably, and everyone's interpretation is influenced to one degree or another by their background assumptions.  Ideology is not something that happens only to other people, but is the reason that Jesus says judgement should begin with self-judgement, checking one's own eye for beams so we can critically consider the implications of our own ideology.  Alma 32, I notice, makes a clear and important distinction between coercive irresistable "proof" and inviting "cause to believe."  So the main issue ought not be whether interpretation is involved, but whose interpretation is best, and how do we go about measuring best.  

I occasionally quote Godel, Escher and Bach on how "The important thing to remember is that proofs are demonstrations within fixed systems of propositions" and that "Godel showed that provability is a weaker notion than proof no matter what axiomatic system is involved."  (pages 18 and 19.)

So observing that that Welch says of his chapter four "is an interpretive essay. It is more of an exploration than a proof," is his own recognition that what he does involves interpretation, is "theory-laden," and will not be coercive to everyone.  But "more exploration than a proof" does not mean that the exploration produced nothing substantial, nothing that counts as various kinds of evidence, and the weight of the argument of the book is in what that exploration turns up, in Thomas Kuhn's terms, puzzle definition and testability, accuracy of key predictions, comprehensiveness and coherence, simplicity and aesthetics, fruitfulness, and future promise.   Labeling what Welch did as "interpretation" is not at all the same thing as comprehensively and carefully accounting for what he turned up.  And he continues to explore and find more good material.  See additional insights that Welch offers here:

http://www.templestudies.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MormonismAndTheTemple.pdf

Bradley spoke about his approach and findings here:

On Temple Worship in the Lost 116 pages.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/conference/august-2012/piercing-the-veil-temple-worship-in-the-lost-116-pages

And more recently, on Joseph Smith's First Vision as an Endowment.

https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/conference/august-2019/first-vision-as-endowment-and-epitome-of-the-gospel

 As to "Note that both replies, so far, have failed to point out the actual evidence the writers (Bradley or Welch) propose as definitively for a "temple ceremony" within the Nephite context", besides the material in various sources that I linked, I did mention that "Welch shows that 3 Nephi 8-29 offers a very complete and detailed temple ceremony in a temple setting, using temple language, levels of sacredness, priesthood authority to baptize followed by priesthood authority to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, the same covenants, and prayer circles and theophany."

That, I think, includes some specific Book of Mormon texts, in an rather obvious temple setting, and is evidence that, even a person is committed to the notion that Nauvoo temple theology is a departure from Palmyra Mormonism and derives from Masonic influence, and that LDS temple worship is nothing like Ancient Jewish and Christian temple worship, and that there is nothing about the temple in the Book of Mormon, ought to at least acknowledge and explain. Labeling and dismissing is not evidence of close reading but of rhetorical shortcuts.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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10 hours ago, Islander said:

... It seems most people refuse to be persuaded by the facts since they already made up their minds.  ...

"My rhetorical opponents are so pig-headed ... unlike me!"

:D :rofl: :D 

Never mind me!

Carry on! ;) :D 

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10 hours ago, Islander said:

... Welsh [sic] does the same that Bradley does as so many others. ...

You can't even be bothered to get the man's name right.  Please pardon me if I don't put much stock in your assessment of what he has written. :blink:<_< :rolleyes: 

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10 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

... The meaning of a sentence is not self-evident in the way that the presence of the color red is self-evident. ...

Hmm.  @mfbukowski could engage you in a lively debate about the supposed self-evident nature of the presence of the color red. ;):D 

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13 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Hmm.  @mfbukowski could engage you in a lively debate about the supposed self-evident nature of the presence of the color red. ;):D 

I think Mark and I would be fundamentally in agreement: we see red and therefore, for all practical intents and purposes, the red is there. 

I could be mistaken but I think that's how it would go.

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40 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

... The meaning of a sentence is not self-evident in the way that the presence of the color red is self-evident. ...

 

28 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Hmm.  @mfbukowski could engage you in a lively debate about the supposed self-evident nature of the presence of the color red. ;):D 

 

14 minutes ago, OGHoosier said:

I think Mark and I would be fundamentally in agreement: we see red and therefore, for all practical intents and purposes, the red is there. 

I could be mistaken but I think that's how it would go.

Hmmm.  Perhaps, My Young Padawan.  Perhaps.  Then again, perhaps not. ;) 

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22 hours ago, Islander said:

If all scripture is subject o interpretation then it is worthless and does mean anything

This is precisely what postmodernism SAVES scripture FROM.  People today find stopping the sun, talking donkeys, flood stories and a 6 day creation as... not credible.

And that attitude then leads to throwing away the 10 commandments with it.

ANYTHING written in ANY language is "confounded" - that's one to take literally! ;)

You can't reach heaven by by building a tower, and scripture is not a science text.  THAT is what Babel teaches me!

That tower didn't work, and can't work

Edited by mfbukowski
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14 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

"My rhetorical opponents are so pig-headed ... unlike me!"

:D :rofl: :D 

Never mind me!

Carry on! ;) :D 

Well, when all someone has to offer is opinion in the face of the facts, that is the only logical conclusion.

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14 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

You can't even be bothered to get the man's name right.  Please pardon me if I don't put much stock in your assessment of what he has written. :blink:<_< :rolleyes: 

Typical. When all else fail, attack! 

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13 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Nephi believed that the prophets could not be understood by anybody but the Jews, but he refused to teach his people after the manner of the Jews and refused to write his own Judaic understanding. Instead, he prophesied after the manner of his own plainness...which means that Nephi broke from how he previously interpreted the scriptures, hewing instead to the spirit of prophecy within him. All this is plainly visible in 2 Nephi 25. I personally think that the God who authorized scripture can do that, and that the best interpretation of a scripture may not necessarily be the "original" one given our God, who is not as constrained by time as we are.

As for Welch and Bradley, I sincerely am at a loss as to why you think their work is so offensive. They are not corrupting scripture in heretical fashion, they're trying to explore parts of it that were lost. What is wrong with that? 

In that case Nephi was uttering NEW scripture as revelation. He was not "interpreting existing scripture". It is not the same, and if you read my argument carefully and the example I used from 1 Ne 8 and 11 you will see that. What I was referring to is that we are not at liberty to interpret scripture however we want. Nephi did not interpret his father dream. The angel interpreted it for him. It gave him the "right/correct/only" interpretation possible.

I do not find Bradley or Welch "offensive". As you plainly see, I did not use that word. I was just commenting on the fact that the work offers nothing new in terms of tangible evidence that there was any temple ceremony descriptions in the lost 116 pages. I think I quoted Welch, for example, when he admitted in his essay that there was no proof and he was just making inferences and interpreting (his own way), which could not be supported by the scriptural text in question. That is all. 

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1 hour ago, mfbukowski said:

This is precisely what postmodernism SAVES scripture FROM.  People today find stopping the sun, talking donkeys, flood stories and a 6 day creation as... not credible.

And that attitude then leads to throwing away the 10 commandments with it.

ANYTHING written in ANY language is "confounded" - that's one to take literally! ;)

You can't reach heaven by by building a tower, and scripture is not a science text.  THAT is what Babel teaches me!

That tower didn't work, and can't work

Nothing new. Fools have always mocked the word of God to their own peril. I am not concerned about that. My argument was that can't "read" something into the scriptures that IS NOT there just because I happen to believe it is. I think I articulated the reasons why this is not sound scripture study in my response to the OP. 

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Wonderful as usual, Kevin!

Just wanted to mention, to those who don't realize it, is that Kuhn's ideas about paradigms flow directly from the philosophy of Pragmatism.

It was strange when I started reading Kuhn that I felt that "I already know this stuff!" because of my knowledge of William James and John Dewey's work.  Kuhn's genius though is HOW he explains and analyzes precisely the details of how paradigms work-  He has altered the philosophy of science forever.

And Kevin, I think that essay will be shown to have been a cornerstone of where LDS "theology"- a non-sequitur- needs to go.  No we do not have- and must not have a "systematic theology" but only scriptural hermeneutics.  But it is Kuhn who shows us the importance of hermeneutics; he takes up pragmatic instrumentalism and, to create an analogy, explains the pistons and ignition system and transmission of what makes the vehicle of instrumentalism move forward in LDS thought.

If we have only hermeneutics without a theology, he shows us the rules FOR those hermeneutics, to see them within our central paradigm.

 

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@OGHoosier 

@Kenngo1969

Hi guys!

The way I see it, "red" is a quale- a direct experience that is in itself unspeakable, as in fact all qualia are.   How do you describe "red" to a blind person, or the taste of orange juice to one who has never tasted it, or the beauty of a symphony to a deaf person?  Qualia are direct experiences and ARE "reality" as we know it- they cannot be described nor can the words of their descriptions "correspond" to their reality- as we know it.

Reality itself- LIKE the "kingdom of heaven"- is within, as we paste together our individual qualia into a picture of the "world outside" using paradigms.

One of my greatest professors, Robert Solomon wrote this, describing Kant's "synthetic apriori":  I have lost the original source info:

Quote

590195a238bbc_solomonp18capture.JPG.e7edf5b0417e0684d009b847347db142.JPG

From above, a pyramid is a square, from the side, a triangle.  How can they be two things at once?  How is that relevant to the Godhead being three persons and one God?   It depends on how you are looking at it- and what PARADIGM you are using at the time.

The Kantian synthetic apriori is ultimately the basis for pragmatism- and to make it relevant to this thread- the whole notion of paradigms.   We don't know what is "out there"- we can only know what we PERCEIVE what we paste together from a synthesis of our qualia as we perceive them.

Whether or not that makes stuff "self evident" is up to you's guys ;)

I mean do we really see "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as self - evident today? ;)   

When you study the philosophy of language everything anyone says becomes a paradigm!

At's mah trooth and I's stickin' to it!

So the bottom line for me is that anything in words is pasted together from automatically ambiguous language, and therefore cannot "correspond to reality"

About Robert Solomon:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_C._Solomon

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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