Translating John 1:11-13

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by William Finck © 2007

Updated March 3rd 2012 for an audio presentation

Many of those who wisely reject the universalism of modern denominational churchianity unjustly blame the writings of Paul of Tarsus for the errant positions being trumpeted by those mainstream theologians. However these critics of Paul fail to realize, or at least admit, that the errors of universalism are founded in like manner upon misinterpretations of statements found in the Gospels and other New Testament scriptures, as well as in certain passages found in Paul’s letters. One pericope in the gospels which has often been misinterpreted in such a fashion is John 1:11-13, which shall be discussed at length here. Once the New Testament is translated in a proper historical and scriptural context, while maintaining the integrity of scholarly Greek exegesis, it is certain that not only the gospels, but also the letters of Paul and other New Testament scriptures are certainly not universalist, but are rather exclusivist, separatist, containing a consistent message borne only to those nations which had in ancient times descended from the Old Testament Israelites. Those nations are found in the Aryan nations of Europe, and such is fully demonstrable from both history and scripture, and especially from Paul’s letters.

In the King James version, John 1:11-13 reads thusly: 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Here the Greek of this pericope shall be examined, one verse at a time.

John 1:11: ες τ δια λθεν, κα ο διοι ατν ο παρέλαβον.

Interpretation of this verse revolves around the two phrases derived from the word διος (Strong’s #2398). By itself, διος is basically “I. one’s own, pertaining to oneself ... 1. private, personal ...” (An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon Founded Upon The Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, hereinafter L&S). Here the first occurrence of διος is the neuter plural, while the second is the masculine plural. Both occurrences of the word appear with the Greek Article, where each phrase is actually a Substantive, a group of words acting as a Noun. Only the second occurrence can refer to people. The first must designate something material. While its rendering is poetic, the King James Version misses this important distinction entirely. The large Ninth Edition of A Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell & Scott (hereinafter L&S,9) has for the phrase τὰ ἴδια “one’s own property”, citing examples from secular Greek writings. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (hereinafter Thayer) has for this phrase “one’s native land”.

For the second phrase derived from διος here, ο διοι, L&S,9 has “members of one’s family, relatives”, yet the 1996 Revised Supplement to this edition of the lexicon adds for the singular τὸν διον “fellow townsman” in addition to “relatives”. Thayer says of οἱ διοι: “one’s fellow-countrymen, associates, Jn. i. 11 ...”, citing this very passage. Here it shall be stated that ο διοι may just as well be referencing τ δια, those people belonging to the land, and not to Yahshua Christ.

It must be realized that not all of the inhabitants of Judaea at the time of Christ’s first coming were of His people Israel, as He Himself tells us at John 8:30-47 and 10:26, among other places.

John 8:37-47: “37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”

John 10:26: “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.”

Rather, Judaea was also populated with the hated Edomites (Malachi 1:1-3, Ezekiel chapters 35 and 36), as Paul explains at Romans 9:1-13, and as attested to by historians such as Strabo (Geography, 16.2.34) and Josephus (Antiquities 13.9.1 [13:254-258]). That these Edomites came to authority in Judaea is also evident in Josephus’ Antiquities, along with other historical accounts such as those of Eusebius, and the letters of Paul (i.e. Romans 16:20; 2 Thessalonians 2), and this is the very theme of the parable found at Luke 19:11-27. Therefore οἱ ἴδιοι is here interpreted as referring to “the men of the country”, those people inhabiting Judaea in general, and not merely to the relatives of Christ, and this interpretation is certainly in agreement with those definitions provided by the lexicons. The phrase refers not back to Christ, but back to the land: the land's own people, not Christ's own people. John 1:11 may properly be read: “He came into His own land, and the men of [that land, or of] the country received Him not”. Or alternatively, if ο διοι refers back not to Christ, but to τ δια, the land itself, the verse may be rendered: “He came into His own land, and its inhabitants received Him not”, either of these versions fully concurring with the parable in Luke mentioned above, and fitting the context of the entire Bible. Yet there is no distortion of the meaning of the original Greek, while the distinction in the use of the neuter and masculine genders of the phrases which are used is maintained.

John 1:12: σοι δ λαβον ατόν, δωκεν ατος ξουσίαν τέκνα θεο γενέσθαι, τος πιστεύουσιν ες τ νομα ατοῦ;

The first and third sections of this verse, which I would render “But as many who received Him” and “to those believing in His name”, are not matters of dispute when compared to the A.V. rendering of this verse. Where I must differ, however, is with the middle clause, δωκεν ατος ξουσίαν τέκνα θεο γενέσθαι, which the A.V. renders “to them gave he power to become the sons of God”.

The word τέκνα (τέκνον, #5043) in this plural form children is ambiguous since the form is the same for both the Nominative and Accusative cases, and it is debatable whether the word is the subject or the object of the verb γενέσθαι, an aorist infinitive form of γγνομαι (#1096), which in its most basic interpretation is “to come into being” (L&S). Here, for reasons that shall become evident below, I must treat τέκνα as the subject of the verb, in the Nominative case, and not as the object as the A.V. treats the word.

That the verb γγνομαι may be understood in the active sense, here “to attain”, is evident in the Apocrypha at 2 Macc. 13:13, where in his edition of the Septuagint (LXX), Brenton rendered the phrase κα γενέσθαι τῆς πόλεως ἐγκρατεῖς simply “and get the city”. The King James Apocrypha rendered this same passage in the very same manner, “and get the city”. This phrase I would render more literally, and more properly word for word, “and to attain control of the city”. Similarly, in my edition of The Records of Luke at Acts 27:16, the phrase περικρατεῖς γενέσθαι τῆς σκάφης is rendered “to attain full control of the skiff”. The King James renders that phrase rather strangely: “to come by the boat”. These examples clearly support a similar interpretation of the verb as I have translated it in this context here at John 1:12.

The children of Israel cannot “become” children of Yahweh. Being children of Adam, they already are children of Yahweh (Luke 3:38), and are told as much explicitly in the Old Testament (i.e. Deut. 14:1; Isa. 45:11) as well as in the New (Romans 8:14-17; Heb. 2:13-14).

Deuteronomy 14:1: “Ye are the children of the LORD your God...”

Isaiah 45:11: “Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

Hebrews 2:13: “And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil...”

Yet Abraham was never told that gentiles, or any alien nations, would somehow become his offspring – as universalist denominational churchianity teaches. And the other races, non-Adamites, are never addressed in the Bible but for a few exceptions where certain tribes are mentioned (i.e. Genesis 15:19-21), or to be pejoratively called “beasts” (i.e. Exodus 19:12-13; Isaiah 56:9; Jeremiah 31:27; Jonah 3:7; Hebrews 12:20), and there is certainly no indication that any of the aliens or the beasts could ever become children of Yahweh! Rather, Abraham was told that his offspring would become many nations (i.e. Genesis 17:4-9; 35:10-11), which the children of Israel did become, which can be evidenced in history, and which Paul explains fully in Romans chapter 4.

With all of this, and without violating any of the rules of Greek grammar, it may certainly be more proper to render John 1:12: “But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His name:”, and to see what John was referring to, see gospel passages such as those at Matthew 16:18-19; 18:18; and Luke 10:1-16, 17-19. This rendering is therefore consistent with all scripture, while the A.V. rendering of this passage produces serious conflicts which cannot be readily resolved.

Matthew 16:18-19: "18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

John 1:12: “But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His name.”

Matthew 18:18-19: "18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."

John 1:12: “But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His name.”

Luke 10:1-20: 1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. 12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. 17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

John 1:12: “But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His name.” This is exactly what John was referring to 60 years later when he recorded these words in reflection upon the things that had transpired during the ministry of Christ. It does NOT give us license today to take squat-monsters out of the jungles of the netherworld and attempt to somehow make them into “children of God”! Rather, upon the restoration of the children of Israel, they, the children of God, will have that same power that the apostles were given. That is the deposit of the Spirit later spoken of by Paul, that is a Christian promise, and that was what John was referencing.

Before proceeding, it may be appropriate to discuss the word translated as adoption in the King James Version, where it appears in Paul’s letters at Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5. This word is υἱοθεσία (5206), and is literally the placing of a son or the position of a son, son being υἱός (5207). While the word may be used to describe the placing of a son for the purposes of adoption, or for any other purpose, the actual act of adoption is described by the Greek words εἰσποιήσις, which is a noun, and εἰσποιέω, which is a verb. A general theme of the Bible, as reported by the prophets, the gospels, the letters of Paul, and the Revelation, is that Yahweh had put the children of Israel off in punishment, and that the children of Israel would be reconciled to Yahweh through Yahshua Christ. That reconciliation includes the restoration of each Israelite to his or her status as a child of Yahweh, upon a return to obedience, which is a conformance with Christ. Whether one wants to translate υἱοθεσία correctly as the position of a son, the placing of one who is already a son, or a daughter, or incorrectly as adoption is even immaterial in context, since Paul tells us that it pertains to Israel (Romans 9:4), who are “them that were under the law” who Christ came to redeem (Galatians 4:5), and it pertains to no one else! There is no room for universalism in the New Testament, except in the minds of those who would pervert the Word of Yahweh and Yahshua Christ. People would rather take one word out of context, and build their entire world-view upon that one misunderstood word, than actually take the time to read the whole book and consider the context of each word as it appears. People who do such things are those who are described by Paul at Ephesians 4:14 where he described “children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive."

John 1:13: ο οκ ξ αμάτων οδ κ θελήματος σαρκς οδ κ θελήματος νδρς λλ κ θεο γεννήθησαν.

While all of the ancient mss. are consistent concerning the contents of John 1:11-12, here the 5th century Codex Bezae contains minor differences with a couple of words, although not enough to substantially affect the translation or the points of discussion here. Also, the 4th century Codex Vaticanus is wanting the phrase οδ κ θελήματος νδρς, in the A.V. “nor of the will of man”, yet the text given here, from the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition (NA27), is sufficiently attested by several other codices and papyri of equal or greater antiquity.

The only point of contention here is the first portion of the verse, specifically the words ξ αμάτων. The A.V. rendering of the other words, “Which were born not ... nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”, are acceptable. The A.V. has rendered ξ αμάτων simply “of blood”, which I do not find to be acceptable. Using A Concordance To The Greek Testament by W.F. Moulton and A.S. Geden, Fifth Edition revised by H.K. Moulton as a guide, out of as many as 99 occurrences of the word αμα (#129), blood in the N.T., this is the only time that the word appears in the plural, and surely for that reason alone the phrase merits investigation. I shall begin by turning to the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX).

According to A Concordance to the Septuagint And the Other Greek Versions of the Old Testament (Including the Apocryphal Books) by Edwin Hatch and Henry A. Redpath, Second Edition (H&R), the word αμα appears in the plural in the LXX mss. on as many as 53 occasions, counting all listed variations among the LXX mss. as supplied by H&R. Examining the LXX, one must consider also the Hebrew from which the word was translated. The Hebrew Dictionary in Strong’s Concordance says of the Hebrew word for blood, dam (#1818): “figuratively (especially in the plural) bloodshed”, and this is the obvious meaning in the context in 50 of 53 occasions where αἷμα is found in the plural in the LXX, which are at Judges 9:24; 2 Kings 3:28; 16:7, 8 (bis); 21:1; 3 Kings 2:5, 33; 4 Kings 9:7 (bis), 26 (bis); 1 Chronicles 22:8; 28:3; 2 Chronicles 30:16; Esther 8:13; Psalms 5:6; 9:12; 15:4; 25:9; 50:14; 54:23; 58:2; 105:39; 138:19; Proverbs 29:10; Jeremiah 2:34; 19:4; Ezekiel 16:36; 22:2, 3 (bis), 13; 23:45; 24:6, 7, 9, 14; Micah 3:10; 7:2; Nahum 3:1; Habakkuk 2:8, 12, 17; Sirach 22:24; 31 (34):21; 1 Maccabees 7:17 and 2 Maccabees 8:3; 14:18 and 45. In all of these places it is apparent, and significantly important to notice, that the translators maintained the Hebraism, writing αμα in the plural where bloodshed is implicated, wherever the Hebrew word for blood had apparently been in the plural in the original. Twice Brenton’s translation recognizes this idiom, where he rendered the word “blood-guiltiness” at Psa. 50:14, and “bloodshed” at Ezek. 24:14. However if one reads all of these passages, it will be apparent that they all may have been, and should have been, rendered in this same manner.

Of the other 3 occasions where αμα is plural in the LXX mss., one is at Amos 2:4 where only the Codex Alexandrinus has αματα, “bloods”, in place of μάταια, “vanities”, in all other mss., which is an obvious gloss, examining the context. The final two occurrences of αμα in the plural are found at Hosea 4:2, where the word appears twice, and the Greek καμοιχειά κέχυται ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, κααματα ἐφ̉’ αμασι μίγουσι is rendered by Brenton: “and adultery abound in the land, and they mingle blood with blood”, even though “blood” here is plural on both occasions. This statement by Hosea is an obvious reference to race-mixing. Although the A.V. version is somewhat different, Brenton’s translation is faithful to the Greek of the LXX texts, which obviously differs from the Masoretic Text here.

Now returning to the New Testament, apart from the passage at John 1:13, αμα appears on 98 other occasions, including the spurious interpolation found in Luke 22:43-44, and where the word is found in some mss. at Acts 17:26, and where at the end of Matt. 27:49 some mss. contain a line which is similar to the text of John 19:34 but which is not found in the A.V. Of all these 98 other occurrences, αμα appears in the plural twice, and only in a couple of mss. The first is at Rev. 16:6, in the Codex Sinaiticus, where it appears in that ms. to be a gloss for the Hebraism since the context is bloodshed. All other codices and papyri have αἷμα in the singular at Rev. 16:6. The second is at Rev. 18:24, where the text upon which the A.V. is based, the Textus Receptus or Majority Text which is actually a large collection of late Medieval mss., has αμα in the plural, as do a couple of 10th century mss. designated 046 and 051 in the NA27. All of the older mss., some which date from the 4th and 5th centuries, have αἷμα in the singular here also. Therefore it is relatively safe to say that αἷμα appears in the plural in the N.T. only at this one passage, John 1:13, which all of the extant mss. of John attest, and that even the Hebraistic use of the word, where it is rendered in the plural where bloodshed is meant, did not carry over into the New Testament scriptures.

Thayer has at αμα, in part: “Since the first germs of animal life are thought to be in the blood ... the word serves to denote generation and origin (in the classics also): Jn. i. 13”, citing this very passage. L&S has at αμα, in part: “blood ... III. like Latin sanguis, blood-relationship, kin ... ὁ πρὸς αματος one of the blood or race ...”. Likewise L&S,9: “blood ... III. blood-relationship, kin ... blood or origin ...”. And here in John 1:13 where αἷμα appears in the plural, Thayer and the other lexicographers admitting that even here it refers to origin, it must denote multiple origins, i.e. mixed blood, bloods, as Thayer himself nearly suggests, but where he does not himself address the plural form but rather he ignored it, and also as the usage of the plural at Hosea 4:2 in the LXX suggests, where it is speaking of adultery in the context of adulterous race-mixing.

Since the Hebraism concerning bloodshed certainly does not fit the context for the plural of αμα, at John 1:13, and that Hebraism appears nowhere else in the Gospels, even though bloodshed is often discussed (i.e. Luke 11:47-51), this explanation that the word denotes mixed origins here is the only valid alternative. Otherwise, why else should the word appear in the plural here only, of all places? And why does the word appear here at all, when in so many places in the N.T. γενεά (1074) and γένος (1085) are used of race and birth, rather than αἷμα? The plural of αἷμα here was used to convey a specific meaning, which other words and phrases could not do in so simple and eloquent a manner, especially in conjunction with the phrases which follow, concerning carnal desires and the will of man in opposition to that of Yahweh. For it is unchecked carnal desire which got Adamic man into trouble from the beginning, which is evident in Genesis chapter 3.

While all of the children of Adam were created from one (and the appearance of the word blood at Acts 17:26 is refuted by the older and better mss.), Adam was not merely the first man, but the first White man, as attested to by the Biblical and historical records, the anthropological and archaeological records, and the very meaning of the word adam in Hebrew. That reading mixed origins for the plural of αἷμα makes sense in the Biblical context here in John 1:13, as we have just explained, is fully realized once it is understood that the Judaean nation consisted of both Edomites and Israelites, and Esau, father of the Edomites, took his wives of the Canaanite races (Gen. 36), who themselves were mixed with the Kenites (descendants of Cain) and other non-Adamic races (Genesis 15:19-20) such as the Kenizzites, Kadmonites and Perizzites who did not descend from Adam (cf. Genesis 10) and were aboriginal, non-Adamic peoples of unrecorded origin, along with the Rephaim descendants of the fallen angels.

Seeing that the Edomites of Judaea were, in part, descendants of Cain, one can understand how Herod, an Edomite (as Josephus often attests in his histories), could be representative of Satan, the serpent, et al., which attempted to destroy the Christ child (Revelation 12:4), and only Herod the Edomite fulfilled such a description, as the opening chapters of Matthew’s Gospel attest. One this is understood, one can also understand how the serpent’s seed had bruised the heel of the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), and many other aspects of the Old and New Testaments.

With all of this, I shall read John 1:11-13 thusly, and fully within the constructs and meanings of the Koine Greek as described above: 11 He came into His own land, and the men of the country received Him not. 12 But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His name: 13 not those from of mixed origin, nor those from of the desire of the flesh, nor from of the will of man, but they who have been born from Yahweh”.

Those born from Yahweh can only be those descendants of Adam endowed with the Spirit of Yahweh (Genesis 2:7), born in accordance with His law of “kind after kind” (i.e. Genesis 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25; Leviticus 19:19 et al.), rather than in fornication which is the pursuit of strange (ἕτερος, #2087, other or different) flesh (Jude 7). Rather, Adam and Eve are our example as they were of the same flesh (Genesis 2:23)! For this reason Paul warned the Corinthians not to commit fornication, as their ancestors once did with the Moabite women, and twenty-three thousand of them were slain (1 Corinthians 10). By this Paul refers back to Numbers chapter 25 and the events recorded there. The Israelites were not punished so severely for mere idolatry here, but for fornicating with Moabite women: for the Baal religions were nothing but fertility rituals which were culminated in sexual unions! In this chapter Phineas slays a man, not upon some foreign altar, but who was coupled with a foreign woman. For his action, Phineas was greatly rewarded! The day is coming, praise Yahweh, when there shall be many more like Phineas. Soon we shall hear the call, Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion.

The phrase “of mixed blood” is commonly used of people with multi-racial backgrounds. Had the KJV rendered αμάτων at John 1:13 literally, “of bloods” rather than “of blood”, surely many of our people might have recognized the meaning of such language, and they might have asked the newfangled liberal pastors of recent times some hard questions, rather than being led astray by such an erroneous premise. At the very least, the KJV and other modern versions may have rendered John 1:13: “Which were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Yet there always seems to be a soapbox somewhere, from atop which some liberal humanist – usually a jew or someone of some other mixed race – is found preaching the “brotherhood of man” and other universalist punch-lines, and deceiving the sheep! Yet clearly John tells us that it is not the will of the flesh – which is lust – which shall prevail, nor the will of man – which is humanism – but rather the will of Yahweh shall prevail! On which end of Phineas’ spear should one be found? One's world-view, based upon what one has perceived to be true, but which is not necessarily so, is a good indication of the answer to that question.

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