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4/03/2018 3:59 am  #31


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

“They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD,

How does Jeremiah 31 help your case?! We're debating whether or not Jesus was G-d. I'd say that qualifies as teaching each other to "know the L-rd." Christians cite this like it's some self-evident deductively valid axiom. It refutes their position as it describes a key feature of the Messianic Era that doesn't currently obtain.   

Your post is a collection of affirmations of the consequent. How do you know these are the correct interpretations of the Hebrew Bible? Because the NT says so. I don't accept the NT, koran, book of mormon, and sundry. Quoting them to prove their authority is absurd. That's your conclusion, not your premise.

Johannes wrote:

First, all those "everlasting" and "eternal" qualifications are from Israel's viewpoint.

Because the NT and your church say so. I don't accept either one. Prove they're true without invoking them as evidence. The Torah says no such thing. You can't redefine "eternal," "everlasting," "throughout your generations" to mean whatever happily coincides with your post-hoc theology. The meaning of those expressions is as crystalline as anything in the Bible. 

Johannes wrote:

Abraham's seed above does not refer to his carnal seed but to his spiritual seed,

Because the NT and your church say so. The Torah says Jack-squat about "spiritual seed." You're redefining another term to accommodate your position. 

Johannes wrote:

Both the Passover and Yom Kippur were figures of Jesus Christ's Passion, Death and Resurrection for the atonement of sins. They subsist by being assumed in Christ's Sacrifice.

Because the NT and your church say so, the authority of which you're hoping to demonstrate. Do you not see how you're assuming the validity of your conclusion?

Johannes wrote:

He will speak in the future through the promised "prophet like him" (Deut 18:15-19).

Christians & moslems hang their theologies from this thread. A prophet is a human being who receives a message from G-d. Moses was the humblest man who ever lived. He was not G-d or the son of G-d. Roll call: Jesus was G-d, the son of G-d, Moshiach, the son of man, a prophet, a priest ... am I forgetting anything? (The whale in Jonah?) No wonder it's so easy to find proof-texts in the TaNaKh!  

Johannes wrote:

this consistency of trinitarian doctrine with the Shema

For those keeping score. You've redefined "eternal," "everlasting," "seed," "prophet," "Passover & Yom Kippur." Now you redefine "G-d." I see some major inconsistencies:

G = G-d. F = Father. S = Son. B = Begotten. nB = not begotten. Shield of the Trinity:

1) G = F (The father is fully G-d)

2) G = S (The son is fully G-d)

3) F =/= S (The father is not the son)

Principle of Differentiation so that 3 can be true:

4) S = B (The son is begotten)

5) F = nB (The father is not begotten)

Conclusions:

1) Following from 2 and 4, G = B

2) Following from 1 and 5, G = nB

3) Following from the above two, B = nB (violation of the principle of non-contradiction)

Also, the trinity has a criterion of individuation whereby the father & son are distinct. That means it has an ontological/conceptual cause and can't be the Bottom Line of reality. The trinity can't terminate the regress of explanations because it requires an explanation itself. This is absolutely not compatible with the Oneness of HaShem. This is a mess.

Johannes wrote:

 the eternal generation of the Son of God is in fact prefigured in the Old Testament, in Proverbs 8:22-31.

You're quoting the Ketuvim to refute the conception of G-d found in the Torah. Pathetic. And you know this interpretation is correct because ... the NT says so, the Divine authority of which is your conclusion.

Johannes wrote:

the nefarious consequences of ironclad assumptions about what a Messiah must do

You mean the nefarious consequence of using the standards specified in the Hebrew Bible. Now we're redefining what Moshiach means! (Jesus fails some of the 101 stuff.)  Again, you can't simply assert that key terms don't mean what they say. Moslems & mormons do this too.       

Johannes wrote:

So, if God raised Jesus from the dead, He certified that everything that Jesus said and did had his seal of approval.

After not existing for eternity you're here, complete with a handy-dandy list of a priori requirements the Source of all reality is obligated to observe. The Torah says miracle-workers who lead them away from the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses is a test. Period. No limits are mentioned. Their forefathers did not worship a son of G-d or a trinity. It really is this simple. The national Revelation from the Mouth of HaShem never said a peep about this new-fangled system replacing the Eternal Torah. Not once. Therefore I reject it. 

"I believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of Moses is absolutely true. He was the chief of all prophets, both before and after him. ... If a prophet comes and attempts to refute Moses’ prophecy, we do not accept him, no matter what great miracles he performs. ... I believe with with perfect faith that this Torah will not be changed, and that there will never be another Torah given by G-d." The 13 Principles
 

Last edited by 119 (4/03/2018 4:29 am)

 

4/03/2018 4:30 am  #32


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Your propositional system does not reflect trinitarian doctrine correctly. You are confusing:

1. "ho Theos" (accusative "ton Theon"), literally "the God", which always refers to a divine Person, usually the Father, and

2. anarthrous "Theos", which may refer 

2.1. either to the common divine essence, substance or nature, in which case it is the attribute of a copulative sentence whose subject is the Son (Jn 1:1 and Rom 9:5) or the subject of a passive predicative sentence,

2.2. or to a divine Person, the Father when it appears without qualiication or the Son in "monogenēs Theos" (Jn 1:18).

If you do not have this in mind, you do not need a propositional system to find an inconsistency, since you can find it in the usual translation of Jn 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

This propositional system reflects both trinitiarian and christological orthodoxy:

ousía = essence or form in a particular sense
 
hypostasis = act of being in a particular mode + ousía

act of being = {Subsistent Act of Being (one), contingent act of being (many)}

modes of the Subsistent Act of Being = {fontal plenitude and paternity, filiation, passive spiration or procession}

modes of a contingent act of being = {created}  -- or none at all

divine Ousía (one) = Subsistent Act of Being (one)  -- per absolute divine simplicity

God the Father = Subsistent Act of Being in fontal plenitude and paternity mode

God the Son before the Incarnation = Subsistent Act of Being in filiation mode

God the Son after the Incarnation = Subsistent Act of Being in filiation mode + Jesus' human ousía

Holy Spirit = Subsistent Act of Being in passive spiration or procession mode

In contrast:

Peter = Peter's contingent act of being + Peter's human ousía

 

 

4/03/2018 5:08 am  #33


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

This is a Rube Goldbergian contraption with gnostic, platonic, and tri-theistic parts. How is it compatible with Divine simplicity?

There are true statements we can make about the father that can't be made about the son. One begets; one is begotten (eternally so). This constitutes a conceptual cause of the trinity. Your deity has a cause. There exists a criterion of individuation whereby the father & son are distinct. This criterion explains the intrinsic divisions and is ontologically prior to them, which is absurd and incompatible with the Oneness of G-d.

 

Last edited by 119 (4/03/2018 5:10 am)

 

4/03/2018 6:02 am  #34


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

How does Jeremiah 31 help your case?!

Because "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers " is an instance of the point 2) you were asking for in your previous post:

119 wrote:

To believe that a national Revelation has been "fulfilled," annulled, or replaced, I'd need one of two things. [...] 2) An explicit statement in the original Revelation that this will occur.

Back to your latest post:

119 wrote:

We're debating whether or not Jesus was G-d. I'd say that qualifies as teaching each other to "know the L-rd." Christians cite this like it's some self-evident deductively valid axiom. It refutes their position as it describes a key feature of the Messianic Era that doesn't currently obtain.

Leaving the issue of whether Jesus is God for later, I note that the passage does not refute my position. Of course, I say that from my position, which does not show you, nor is intended to show you, that my position is true. Which is an appropriate introduction to the following part.
 

119 wrote:

Your post is a collection of affirmations of the consequent. How do you know these are the correct interpretations of the Hebrew Bible? Because the NT says so. I don't accept the NT, koran, book of mormon, and sundry. Quoting them to prove their authority is absurd. That's your conclusion, not your premise.

[+ Innumerable quotes from my post followed by "Because the NT and your church say so."]

None, not one, not a single f* one of my statements that you replied with "Because the NT and your church say so" was intended to convince you of the truth of said statement. They were only intended to state my beliefs so as to show that your objections did not affect my position.

"Covenant with Abraham? Fulfilled. Passover and Yom Kippur? Fulfilled. Sabbath? Fulfilled. No adding or substracting commandments? That's for the people, not for God."

It was clear that all those "Fulfilled" were mere statements of what WE Christians believe, and that none of them was intended to convince YOU that the Torah statute in question was in fact fulfilled in the NT. So, we indeed have an extremely serious communication problem here, whereby I will terminate my participation in this exchange after this post.

Requoting now

119 wrote:

We're debating whether or not Jesus was G-d.

There are only three points which are relevant for that issue:

1. The resurrection of a human being is a work necessarily performed directly by God.

2. By resurrecting a dead human being R through the intervention of another human being P who claims to speak in the name of God, God is unequivocally certifying in front of everyone that P's words and deeds have God's "seal of approval", so that whatever P has said in the name of God so far is true.

Point 2 applies to the epistemic case of people in Judea and Galilee at the time of Jesus' ministry, particularly to the case of the members of the Sanhedrin regarding Jesus at the time of his trial. But, always according to the Gospels, instead of reasoning correctly from the perceived facts, they decided instead to kill Jesus.

Now, you may say that, by the time of his trial, Jesus had not performed any resurrection, and that the Gospel account of Lazarus' resurrection was concocted. IF you say so, THEN your position remains self-consistent.

But if you said that Jesus ought to be rejected and killed EVEN IF He actually performed the resurrection of Lazarus, THEN your position would become one of irremediable epistemic insulation, as God could not do anything at all to show you that Jesus was telling the truth. Additionally, your position would imply blasphemy, as it would imply holding that God would directly perform a miracle that He alone can perform in order to lead people astray.

3. As a special case of 2, by resurrecting to a glorious state a human being P who had claimed to speak in the name of God and had predicted that he would be killed and then rise from the dead, God would be conferring to P the maximum possible "seal of approval", thus certifying in front of everyone that all of P's words and deeds up to his death were in accordance with God's truth and will.

Point 3 applies to the epistemic case of people everywhere after the beginning of the predication of the Gospel in Pentecost of 30 AD. So, if the result of your assessment of historical evidence is that Jesus must indeed have risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, then all of Jesus' words and deed where true and good. Thus, if He claimed to be one with the Father, He was indeed one with the Father, and any preconception one may have developed from one's interpretation of the OT regarding whether there is one or several consubstantial divine Persons, or regarding what the Messiah was supposed to do or not to do, goes to the background. Because by resurrecting Jesus to a glorious state, God is saying loudly and clearly to anyone "My Servant Jesus spoke the truth and did my will. Therefore believe everything He said."

Again, you may say that Jesus did not actually rise from the dead. IF you say so, THEN your position remains self-consistent.

But if you said that Jesus ought to be rejected EVEN IF He actually rose from the dead, THEN your position would become one of irremediable epistemic insulation, as God could not do anything at all to show you that Jesus was telling the truth. Additionally, your position would imply blasphemy, as it would imply holding that God would directly perform a miracle that He alone can perform in order to lead people astray.

So, all our presuppositions about the Trinity, about the Incarnation, about what a Messiah should or should not do while on Earth, or about whether a Messiah should or should not die and then rise from the dead, become secondary to the historical facticity of the Resurrection, so that:

- If Jesus actually rose from the dead, all He said was true, and since He said He was one with the Father, we kneel down before Him and obey Him.

- If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then all those considerations come back to the foreground, and we keep alert for discerning the arrival of the Messiah when it happens.

 

Last edited by Johannes (4/03/2018 6:11 am)

 

4/03/2018 6:30 am  #35


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

There are true statements we can make about the father that can't be made about the son. One begets; one is begotten (eternally so).

Right.

119 wrote:

This constitutes a conceptual cause of the trinity. Your deity has a cause.

We are using cause in a different sense. In the Western vocabulary, cause has the connotation of external causation, of difference of substance between the causing and the caused. That is why the Ecumenical Council of Florence specifically stated "principle" for the Latins and "cause" for the Greeks, because the Greek word aitía does not have that connotation.

With this vocabulary in mind, neither the Trinity nor any of the Persons has a cause. God the Father is the only principle of the Trinity. By enunciating his perfect self-knowledge, He generates a Son, Who Is all that God the Father Is in a numerical identity sense, except for being Father.

What does it mean in practice? That the Son does not enunciate in turn his perfect self-knowledge, thus generating a grandson.

119 wrote:

There exists a criterion of individuation whereby the father & son are distinct.

Congratulations, you have avoided modalism aka sabellianism. Keep holding consubstantiality and you will avoid tritheism and arianism.

119 wrote:

This criterion explains the intrinsic divisions and is ontologically prior to them, which is absurd and incompatible with the Oneness of G-d.

There are no divisions, since the Persons do not partition the absolutely simple divine nature. Each Person is the only and absolutely simple divine nature in a different mode:

- the Father unbegotten, begetting, and spirating with the Son,
- the Son begotten and spirating with the Father,
- the Holy Spirit proceeding or being spirated.
 

 

4/03/2018 9:52 am  #36


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Johannes wrote:

Because "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers " is an instance of the point 2) you were asking for in your previous post:

The House of Israel was made up of the Ten Lost Tribes, which were scattered around the world since the fall of the Northern Kingdom (700-ish BCE.). When were they reunited? This passage describes a time when all of the descendants of every tribe are thriving in the Promised Land. It speaks of both the House of Israel and the House of Judah TOGETHER. This hasn't happened, and cannot refer to Christianity & their new covenant.

Johannes wrote:

None, not one, not a single f* one of my statements that you replied with "Because the NT and your church say so" was intended to convince you of the truth of said statement. They were only intended to state my beliefs so as to show that your objections did not affect my position.

I'm puzzled by this. Your position is based on question-begging re-definitions of all the terms I listed. If those are the "reasons" you hold your position, my objections apply. I'm pointing out why those reasons shouldn't persuade anyone ever. What, you can trot out the usual melange of hackneyed out-of-context proof-texts but I can't state why they fail (in general terms)? Talk about epistemic insulation! 

The Torah was dictated to the Prophet Moses. It was written by G-d. It is the Ultimate and Absolute Revelation that judges all others and is judged by none. If you want to call this "irremediable epistemic insulation" have at it.

Johannes wrote:

Additionally, your position would imply blasphemy, as it would imply holding that God would directly perform a miracle that He alone can perform in order to lead people astray.

If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them," you shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the L-rd, your G-d, is testing you, to know whether you really love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13)

"Hey you guys, I might test you with a miracle-worker who lies to you! Here's how to pass My test":

And that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death; because he spoke falsehood about the Lord, your G-d Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and Who redeemed you from the house of bondage, to lead you astray from the way in which the L-rd, your G-d, commanded you to go; so shall you clear away the evil from your midst.

G-d might give a prophet miraculous powers to LIE about Him. He might place EVIL in their midst. That's exactly what it says. No limit on miraculous powers is listed. Calling it "blasphemy" is based on some G-d = Cosmic Santa Claus conception. The Torah EXPLICITLY says G-d might perform tests using evil, lying prophets. I don't see what the fuss is. Christians believe G-d is going to torture the majority of mankind eternally, but it's mean to send false prophets?!

Johannes wrote:

if the result of your assessment of historical evidence is that Jesus must indeed have risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, then all of Jesus' words and deed where true and good.

NOT if he led them to worship a god who didn't bring them out of the land of Egypt. Exodus NEVER mentions HaShem "enunciating his perfect self-knowledge," generating a son "Who Is all that God the Father Is in a numerical identity sense," but who "does not enunciate in turn his perfect self-knowledge, thus generating a grandson." He spoke to Moses face to face, not in dreams, as a friend. This (bizarre) conception was entirely unknown. The quantitative & qualitative dimensions of a miracle don't negate the unprecedented, foreign nature of claims about G-d's nature. This is the whole point of the chaper.

Do these If-Then statements apply to the alleged miracles of Shabbetai Tzvi and the theology of his followers? "If he converted to Islam then the sins of Israel have been forgiven. His humiliation atoned for them." On what grounds do I reject this claim but not the christian ones? Deut. 13 puts the kibosh on both.

Last edited by 119 (4/03/2018 12:17 pm)

 

4/03/2018 11:23 pm  #37


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

Because "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers " is an instance of the point 2) you were asking for in your previous post:

The House of Israel was made up of the Ten Lost Tribes, which were scattered around the world since the fall of the Northern Kingdom (700-ish BCE.). When were they reunited? This passage describes a time when all of the descendants of every tribe are thriving in the Promised Land. It speaks of both the House of Israel and the House of Judah TOGETHER. This hasn't happened, and cannot refer to Christianity & their new covenant.

Even granting that the correct interpretation of the passage is that it "describes a time when all of the descendants of every tribe are thriving in the Promised Land" (BTW, should the descendancy be determined by mitochondrial DNA as per the Rabbis, or by Y Chromosome as per the Karaites?), and even granting that such a physical reunion of the true genetically authentic Israelites comes to pass, even then there cannot be a real new covenant because the Torah is, as you say, "the Ultimate and Absolute Revelation". Therefore, you must either reject that passage from Jeremiah or accept that your system of beliefs is internally inconsistent.

Note that Samaritans do not have that problem, because they hold that only the Torah is divinely inspired. It was Mt. Gerizim all the time!

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

None, not one, not a single f* one of my statements that you replied with "Because the NT and your church say so" was intended to convince you of the truth of said statement. They were only intended to state my beliefs so as to show that your objections did not affect my position.

I'm puzzled by this. Your position is based on question-begging re-definitions of all the terms I listed. If those are the "reasons" you hold your position, my objections apply. I'm pointing out why those reasons shouldn't persuade anyone ever. What, you can trot out the usual melange of hackneyed out-of-context proof-texts but I can't state why they fail (in general terms)? Talk about epistemic insulation! 

My position may include "question-begging re-definitions of all the terms" from your perspective, but is not "based on question-begging re-definitions of all the terms". The recognition of this difference is critical.

Of course you can state why any (or all) of my "hackneyed out-of-context proof-texts" fails in your system. The point is that your statements of failure implied your understanding that I was trying to convince you of the truth of my proof-texts on the basis of those proof-texts themselves, which was not - and could not possibly be - the case. Let's try to explain things graphically, with [whatever] standing for Passover, Yom Kippur, Sabbath, whatever.

119's belief system:
119's epistemic base -> 119's interpretation of [whatever]

J's belief system:
J's epistemic base -> J's interpretation of [whatever]

By stating my interpretation of [whatever], all I was trying to show was that my belief system was self-consistent. It would be outrageously ridiculous to try to persuade you to adopt any of my interpretations of [whatever], instead of your interpretation, on a standalone basis, i.e. before resolving the difference in our epistemic bases.

Therefore, I have no problem with you stating why any of my interpretations of [whatever] fails in your system. My problem was with your evident understanding that I was trying to persuade you to adopt any of those interpretations on a standalone basis.

119 wrote:

The Torah was dictated to the Prophet Moses. It was written by G-d. It is the Ultimate and Absolute Revelation that judges all others and is judged by none. If you want to call this "irremediable epistemic insulation" have at it.

Johannes wrote:

Additionally, your position would imply blasphemy, as it would imply holding that God would directly perform a miracle that He alone can perform in order to lead people astray.

If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them," you shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the L-rd, your G-d, is testing you, to know whether you really love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13)

"Hey you guys, I might test you with a miracle-worker who lies to you! Here's how to pass My test":

And that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream shall be put to death; because he spoke falsehood about the Lord, your G-d Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and Who redeemed you from the house of bondage, to lead you astray from the way in which the L-rd, your G-d, commanded you to go; so shall you clear away the evil from your midst.

G-d might give a prophet miraculous powers to LIE about Him. He might place EVIL in their midst. That's exactly what it says. No limit on miraculous powers is listed. Calling it "blasphemy" is based on some G-d = Cosmic Santa Claus conception. The Torah EXPLICITLY says G-d might perform tests using evil, lying prophets. I don't see what the fuss is. Christians believe G-d is going to torture the majority of mankind eternally, but it's mean to send false prophets?!

Johannes wrote:

if the result of your assessment of historical evidence is that Jesus must indeed have risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, then all of Jesus' words and deed where true and good.

NOT if he led them to worship a god who didn't bring them out of the land of Egypt. Exodus NEVER mentions HaShem "enunciating his perfect self-knowledge," generating a son "Who Is all that God the Father Is in a numerical identity sense," but who "does not enunciate in turn his perfect self-knowledge, thus generating a grandson." He spoke to Moses face to face, not in dreams, as a friend. This (bizarre) conception was entirely unknown. The quantitative & qualitative dimensions of a miracle don't negate the unprecedented, foreign nature of claims about G-d's nature. This is the whole point of the chaper.

Now you are stating clearly your epistemic base, specifically that your notion of the Torah as the Ultimate and Absolute Revelation includes it having:

- not only supreme authority, implying that any subsequent divine revelation must be consistent with it,

- but also comprehensiveness, implying that any subsequent divine revelation must already be present in it.

Furthermore, there are two possible ways to understand comprehensiveness:

- ontic comprehensiveness: the Torah contains all truths about God and his design;

- epistemic comprehensiveness: the Torah contains all truths that God decided to reveal to us about Himself and his design.

If ontic comprehensiveness, any proposition about God which cannot be deduced from the Torah is necessarily false and must be rejected as such.

If epistemic comprehensiveness, any proposition about God which cannot be deduced from the Torah but is consistent with it, may be true or false, and must be rejected as not being a divinely revealed truth but only a doubtful human opinion.

I assume that you attribute only epistemic comprehensiveness to the Torah, as I do not think that anyone could attribute ontic comprehensiveness to it.

Thus, when presented with a purported divinely revealed proposition which cannot be deduced from the Torah, such as proposition T1 = "God generates eternally a consubstantial Son", you do not even need to discern whether that proposition is consistent with the Torah or not. Rather, you reject it outright because, from your assumption of Torah epistemic comprehensiveness, you know that it is not divinely revealed, irrespective of whether it is true or false.

But in this case you do not know whether the proposition is true or false, and if the proposition is true it does refer to the one true God. So, even within the assumption of epistemic comprehensiveness, your statement that holding a proposition about God which is not already in the Torah refers necessarily to another god is wrong. For knowing that, you first need to go through the following process:

Is the proposition consistent with the Torah?
- If it is not, then it is false.
- If it is: Is the proposition true or false?

Of course, if you posit Torah comprehensiveness the second discernment is impossible.

Now, the notion of the Torah having comprehensiveness is not only absent in the Torah itself, but also inconsistent with this passage:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’ (Deut 18:15-19).

The passage does not state or even imply that the subsequent prophet will be limited to repeat things that Moses already said in the Torah. Rather, it implies the exact opposite: just as Moses taught Israel new things, the subsequent prophet "like Moses" will teach Israel new things. The same is true when we focus on the words that the LORD will put in the mouth of the subsequent prophet: the LORD is not stating or implying any self-limitation in the words that He will command the subsequent prophet to speak to the Israelites.  

To sum up, the Torah does not state anywhere that it is "the Ultimate and Absolute Revelation" ("Sola Torah"?), and if that status is understood as including comprehensiveness ("Solo Torah"?), the Torah actually implies the opposite.

The second mistake concerns the powers that God will concede to the false prophet. The signs or wonders will be limited to what an evil angel can perform when allowed by God (which leaves room for lots of predictions, because evil angels know e.g. tectonics and therefore when an earthquake is coming), and will not include direct miracles by God, which are distinguishable from the signs and wonders from false prophets on two levels: degree of power and wisdom displayed by the miracle, and character of the sign.

But this second mistake reaches an egregious level when it is extended to the resurrection of the false prophet himself! Because when the soul of the dead false prophet is already in hell, unable to do anything, God would work his resurrection to a glorious state purely on His own initiative just to set a trap on the faithful! This is blasphemy or insanity of an unheard of level.

Thus, through the twin assumptions of Torah comprehensiveness and granting of unlimited miraculous powers to false prophets, you place yourself in a state of absolute epistemic insulation, because:

- from the assumption of Torah comprehensiveness, any prophet that teaches some doctrine about God that cannot be deduced from the Torah is not speaking God's words, even if that doctrine is consistent with the Torah and even if it is actually true. (And if you assume ontic comprehensiveness, then the doctrine is actually wrong.)

- from the assumption of granting of unlimited miraculous powers to false prophets, no miracle from said prophet can change the previous conclusion.

And when you extend the second assumption to the resurrection of the false prophet himself to a glorious state, worked by God on His own initiative just to set a trap on the faithful, your position becomes either blasphemy or insanity.

So, as long as you hold that God has already said all He wanted (or had) to say in the Torah, and that He is willing to put his whole power at the service of lie and evil, there is nothing else to discuss.  I will only leave an appendix for the potential benefit of other readers on a related topic.


Appendix: the case of Christian absolute epistemic insulation

To note, I am not against absolute epistemic insulation "per se", because Jesus did mandate absolute epistemic insulation after Him to the Church. My point above was that no such epistemic insulation was mandated to Israel in the Torah. Actually, that is the first of 5 points which comprise my position, which I list below.

1. No state of epistemic insulation, excluding the possibility of acknowledging further divine interventions and revelation, had been divinely mandated to Israel, which is clear from Deut 18:15-22: "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me".

2. In contrast to the case of Israel after Moses (actually, after the final redaction of the Torah), Jesus did mandate absolute epistemic insulation after Him to the Church, which is clear from many Gospel passages and the absence of any saying like: "The Father will send down from heaven for you a Christ like Me".

3. There is a fundamental difference between the situation of Israel after being given the Torah and the situation of the Church after Jesus Christ, and a consequent principled reason why no epistemic insulation was mandated to Israel whereas absolute epistemic insulation was mandated to the Church.

4. The signs or wonders that can be performed by a magician, a false prophet, a false christ, an antichrist or "the" antichrist, as support for an instigation to go after false gods, or to disobey God, or to deny Jesus Christ, are not performed directly by God. Rather, they are performed by an evil angel, whom God has permitted to do it, by his own power.

5. A sign from God is distinguishable from a sign from a false prophet, a false christ, an antichrist or "the" antichrist, on two levels: degree of power and wisdom displayed by the agent, and character of the sign.

Points 2 to 5 are developed as theses 9 to 12 in an article I wrote in 2014 in response to the 2010 Erasmus Lecture by Professor J. H. H. Weiler of NY University School of Law on the subject "The trial of Jesus".

http://thetrialofjesus.blogspot.com/

(Note: I never check my blogs, so don't bother to comment in them.)
 

Last edited by Johannes (4/04/2018 1:32 am)

 

4/04/2018 7:41 am  #38


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

Johannes wrote:

there cannot be a real new covenant because the Torah is, as you say, "the Ultimate and Absolute Revelation"

Jeremiah does not say 'I will put my NEW Torah in their inward parts' It says, 'I will put MY LAW in their inward parts.' The laws of G-d do not change or get changed, they are eternal as G-d is Eternal.  What these verses are saying is that everyone will no longer need to look in any book to tell them what's right. They will know it instinctively because it will be in their hearts. This has not happened yet. It's part of the Messianic Era that Jesus completely failed to start.

Johannes wrote:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

How can you quote this with a straight face? I've already responded to this. Moses was a human being, born of two human parents. He was not Divine, morally perfect, or physically perfect. He died a human death. You're re-defining "prophet" to include things that are not anything "like" him at all. How is 1/3 of the godhead "like" Moses? 

The NT can't even quote the passage correctly: "… every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." (Acts 3:23) Has this ever happened? Most of the world isn't Christian, yet they persist un-destroyed.   

Johannes wrote:

The signs or wonders will be limited to what an evil angel can perform ... and will not include direct miracles ... which are distinguishable from the signs and wonders from false prophets on two levels ... when the soul of the dead false prophet is already in hell ... 

Christian claims. All of them. 

Johannes wrote:

This is blasphemy or insanity of an unheard of level.

It's quite mainstream. So is the denial that Jesus could have been a prophet, given when he lived. You accept the authority of the Men of The Great Assembly, I presume. They canonized the prophets you're quoting. When did they seal Scripture?

I detect an asymmetric standard. It's unthinkable that G-d tested the Israelites with Jesus, but He's a big huggy T-bear when He sends the anti-christ. You feign outrage (insanity! blasphemy! "He is willing to put his whole power at the service of lie and evil!") at the former and defend the latter on the laughable grounds that the anti-christ is abusing his free will with G-d's mere permission. (Is there a possible world where the AC becomes a used-car salesman?)


Johannes wrote:

2. In contrast to the case of Israel after Moses (actually, after the final redaction of the Torah), Jesus did mandate absolute epistemic insulation after Him to the Church, which is clear from many Gospel passages and the absence of any saying like: "The Father will send down from heaven for you a Christ like Me".

How convenient. You get to argue from verses that don't exist, but I don't. Conspicuous in its absence: "I will send you My son, the Messiah, to fulfill My Torah and die for your sins. I am three. This covenant is not-quite eternal or everlasting. Seed refers to something spiritual. So does everything. Messiah is a free-floating concept." All a mormon or muslim has to do is re-define NT concepts to suit them, affirm the consequent, and hope no one calls them on it.

Last edited by 119 (4/04/2018 8:13 am)

 

4/04/2018 2:20 pm  #39


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

How can you quote this with a straight face? I've already responded to this. Moses was a human being, born of two human parents. He was not Divine, morally perfect, or physically perfect. He died a human death. You're re-defining "prophet" to include things that are not anything "like" him at all. How is 1/3 of the godhead "like" Moses? 

"Like me" refers to this: "I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him." (Deut 18:18). Which applies to Jesus because He stated many times that He spoke the words that He had heard from the Father (Jn 5:19,30,43; 7:16; 8:28,38,40; 12:49-50; 14:10,24; 17:8,14,26).

And each divine Person is the only and absolutely simple divine nature, not a fraction of it.

119 wrote:

The NT can't even quote the passage correctly: "… every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." (Acts 3:23) Has this ever happened? Most of the world isn't Christian, yet they persist un-destroyed.   

The lack of precision in quoting shows precisely that Christianity is not a fable carefully concocted by some smart sages, but a work from God (Acts 5:38-39) carried out initially by means of unlearned people (Acts 4:13) to show precisely that it was from God and not from human smartness.

And the referred destruction is usually only spiritual in this life.

119 wrote:

Christian claims. All of them. 

That handwaving to what I wrote in the paragraphs in bold leaves it untouched. Because of its importance, and because I need to make an amendment, I will repeat those paragraphs below.

But this second mistake (God's granting unlimited miraculous powers to false prophets) reaches an egregious level when it is extended to the resurrection of the false prophet himself! Because when the soul of the dead false prophet is already in hell, unable to do anything, God would work his resurrection to a glorious state purely on His own initiative just to set a trap on the faithful!

And when you extend the second assumption to the resurrection of the false prophet himself to a glorious state, worked by God on His own initiative just to set a trap on the faithful, your position becomes either blasphemy or insanity.

Actually, I must correct my last statement above: your position is already blasphemy before being extended to the resurrection of the false prophet. I need to make that correction in view of the episode in the Gospels when Jesus called blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the sin that cannot be forgiven, the statement by the pharisees and scribes that Jesus worked miracles by the power of Beelzebul (Mt 12:22-32; Mk 3:22-30; Lk 11:14-20). Now, your position is even worse than that of those pharisees and scribes, because you say that a false prophet would work miracles by the direct power of God Himself, Who would place no limitations in the degree of power He would put at the disposal of the false prophet, even to the point of resurrecting him to a glorious state if he had predicted it! So, it is not the power of an evil agent, as the pharisees and scribes said, but God's own exclusive power put at the service of deceit and evil.

As long as you hold this, there is no point in further talk, so I am leaving out after this post.

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

This is blasphemy or insanity of an unheard of level.

It's quite mainstream. So is the denial that Jesus could have been a prophet, given when he lived. You accept the authority of the Men of The Great Assembly, I presume. They canonized the prophets you're quoting. When did they seal Scripture?

Wrong assumption. I do not know whether anything like the Great Assembly existed. More importantly, if it actually existed, it did not have any authority to seal Scripture. In fact, Christian Churches with apostolic succession  - Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox - regard as part of the OT the books of Maccabees, the book of ben Sirah, written in Palestine around 200 BC, and the Wisdom of Solomon, written in Alexandria in the I century BC.

And Jesus was not a mere prophet. As I said above, "like me" in Deut 18:15 refers to Deut 18:18: "I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him."

Moreover, the contents of the linked page are hilarious, if the intellectual situation which they evidence were not so tragic (2 Cor 3:14-15):

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin wrote:

The title and functions of a prophet or Navi ends with the Biblical greats of Malachi, Daniel, Ezra and Nechemia.

Where does the book of any of them say "That's all folks, no more prophesy from now on."???

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin wrote:

After them there are no more prophets in the BIBLICAL Tanach sense among the Jewish people. The era of what is called Prophecy (“Nevuah”) ends and a new era of Wisdom “Chochmah” commences with the onset of the era of the Men of the Great Assembly (“anshei knesset hagedolah”) that launches the era of the Oral Law as the main focus, they decide what shall and shall not be part of the Tanach, and once they “seal” it, the Hebrew Bible remains fixed forever.

Where in the OT is it written that God granted the Men of the Great Assembly the authority to prevent God Himself from making any further Revelation, whether by a human person or whether by a divine Person assuming a human nature???

Rabbi Yitschak Rudomin wrote:

Thus, according to Judaism as based on the Torah and as explicitly stated in this week’s parsha, Jesus could not have been a “prophet” because the era of prophets ended over 500 years before he was born.

Hilarious. So, the problem with Jesus was one of timing. After the Men of the Great Assembly closed the doors, not even a divine Person was allowed to come and reveal additional truths.

119 wrote:

I detect an asymmetric standard. It's unthinkable that G-d tested the Israelites with Jesus, but He's a big huggy T-bear when He sends the anti-christ. You feign outrage (insanity! blasphemy! "He is willing to put his whole power at the service of lie and evil!") at the former and defend the latter on the laughable grounds that the anti-christ is abusing his free will with G-d's mere permission. (Is there a possible world where the AC becomes a used-car salesman?)

The situations of Israel and the Church are indeed essentially different regarding the possibility of new divine revelation.

What is not different between both situations is

- that the signs or wonders that can be performed by a false prophet, etc. are not performed directly by God but by an evil angel, whom God has permitted to do it, by his own power, and

- that a sign from God is distinguishable from a sign from a false prophet, etc. on two levels: degree of power and wisdom displayed by the agent, and character of the sign.

119 wrote:

Johannes wrote:

2. In contrast to the case of Israel after Moses (actually, after the final redaction of the Torah), Jesus did mandate absolute epistemic insulation after Him to the Church, which is clear from many Gospel passages and the absence of any saying like: "The Father will send down from heaven for you a Christ like Me".

How convenient. You get to argue from verses that don't exist, but I don't. Conspicuous in its absence: "I will send you My son, the Messiah, to fulfill My Torah and die for your sins."

Zechariah 12:10-12; Isaiah 50:4-9 and ch. 53; Psalm 22.

Which of course your ultimate and absolute interpretation will deny that they can possibly refer to Jesus, a denial that becomes hermetically sealed by your ultimate and absolute interpretation of Deut 13:1-5 as including, between "the signs or wonders", the resurrection of the false prophet himself to a glorious state, worked by God on His own initiative just to set a trap on the faithful.

 

Last edited by Johannes (4/04/2018 3:41 pm)

 

4/05/2018 3:23 am  #40


Re: Is your belief in Christianity contingent on historical evidence?

I'm writing this on behalf of those interested in the subject. 

Johannes wrote:

(Deut 18:18). Which applies to Jesus because He stated many times that He spoke the words that He had heard from the Father (Jn 5:19,30,43; 7:16; 8:28,38,40; 12:49-50; 14:10,24; 17:8,14,26).

Maybe it refers to Muhammad? Credit where it's due. He never led anyone to idolatry. The Islamic take on the deity grooves with the Oneness of HaShem. Their conception is spot-on. Muslims say the Christians misunderstood the true messages of Jesus so G-d had to send another prophet to set the record straight. This was a prophet more "like Moses" than Jesus. If forced to choose between christianity & islam (Heaven forbid!) all my objections are ethno-cultural, not theological.

This verse is foundational to both theologies. Neither can simply point to it as if it self-evidently applies to them because their holy books say so. Am I supposed to feel guilty for calling out this rank fallacy time and time again? Do I have to apologize for it supporting much of christian theology? This passage can't refer to Jesus. Is it even about a particular prophet? Listen to both sides.

Johannes wrote:

The lack of precision in quoting shows precisely that Christianity is not a fable carefully concocted by some smart sages, but a work from God (Acts 5:38-39) carried out initially by means of unlearned people (Acts 4:13) to show precisely that it was from God and not from human smartness.

Then this book is the single greatest apologetic treatise of all time. Page after page after chapter after chapter of concoctions, deletions, additions, and worse. The NT authors' treatment of the TaNaKh could make a postmodernist blush. If Christianity is the Divinely-ordained successor of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, why did its authors need to change what they said? This isn't "proof" the NT is true. Neither is G-d forgetting Hebrew (for Greek!) and converting to platonic Gnosticism when describing Himself. This is evidence that we can't trust the NT, that the authority it claims is illegitimate. This is also a good source. I implore my christian brothers and sisters to consider the textual evidence for themselves.

Johannes wrote:

I do not know whether anything like the Great Assembly existed.

Or whether HaShem took the Children of Israel -- His "firstborn son" -- out of Egypt, or whether there was really a national Revelation, or whether the Book of Numbers lied about the census G-d commanded. Your opening shot at my position included all of these! You spit at G-d's Torah out of one side of your mouth and defend the "spiritual" meaning of its passages to support your theology with the other. I posed a challenge there: What ontological status did the Torah have for Jesus? Was he a rabbi of a religion that did not represent the Will of A-mighty G-d or not? Did he believe in an unreliable Torah of dubious accuracy, that he allegedly promised never to abolish? (Matthew 5:17)

The Anshei Knesset HaGedolah consisted partly of the Sanhedrin, which received it's authority from the Mouth of G-d in Deut. 16. (The NT's portrayal could make Goebbels & the National Enquirer blush.) They were called together by the Biblical Prophet Ezra and also included Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, and Mordechai. Who do you think canonized the Nevi'im and the Ketuvim? They were publicly debated in authoritative rabbinic courts. (Ecclesiastes almost missed the cut!) The popular christian view is that G-d somehow "inspired" the whole "Old Testament," all of which is on the same footing. This is dead wrong. This is abject nonsense.

The Torah was dictated to the Prophet Moses by G-d. It was never canonized by human beings. The rest of the Hebrew Bible was canonized for two reasons. One, someone must determine true from false prophecy. One characteristic of true prophecy is that it is in submission to the Torah. The Sages would never have canonized any book that implied the Torah would one day be replaced (G-d forbid!) The other reason is that there were innumerable prophets throughout Biblical history who received genuine prophetic visions from G-d, but not all of them were relevant for all future generations. The Nevi'im and Ketuvim were canonized to be read only until the coming of Mashiach, after which only the Torah and Scroll of Esther will be relevant.

Keep quoting Deut. 18 until you're blue in the face. Who determines a True Prophet from a charlatan, if not the Sanhedrin? How do you know all those prophets you're always quoting were the Real Deal? Cuz the catholic church said so?! How would they know? If you're quoting Jeremiah to prove your religion has the new covenant, you can't point to your religion as the source of Jeremiah's authority. (Sorry I have to keep mentioning this.) The Christian claim that the NT has the same status as a document dictated by G-d, which was never canonized, is absurd. Neither the Prophets nor the Writings have that status either. The Nevi’im (Prophets) are a step lower than the Torah. They were written by the Prophets in their own words under the spirit of nevu’ah (prophecy). They are not higher than the Torah, nor do they amend it in any way. If any prophet had ever prophesied that one day the Torah would be “fulfilled” and replaced by something else, he would have been put to death as a false prophet. The Ketuvim (Writings or Hagiographa) is a step lower than the Prophets. It was not written under the spirit of prophecy but under ruach haqodesh (Divine inspiration of “holy spirit”).  

These are the distinctions of the "Old Testament" regardless of what the catholic church or reform Judaism said last week. Up until about 300 years ago all Jews believed this. Their Cosmic Mission isn't to spread enlightenment rationalism or secular leftism. That's the philosophy of Amalek. They have 613 Commandments, binding for all generations. 

Deuteronomy 28 foretells how the Israelites will be scattered all over the earth amidst a series of horrendous curses. This chapter makes Stephen King sound like some grub-street hack. It alone keeps me from converting. (And all those extra commandments.) Some rabbis say it applies to the Holocaust. (Deut. 28 & Leviticus 26 explain why the Jews aren't big on New stuff). The Prophet Hosea wrote that their exile will last a long time: For the children of Israel shall remain for many days, having neither king, nor prince, nor sacrifice, nor pillar, nor ephod nor teraphim. Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the L-rd their G-d and David their king, and they shall come trembling to the L-rd and to His goodness at the end of days. (Hosea 3:4-5)

Deuteronomy 30 describes their ultimate redemption: And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the L-RD your G-d has driven you, and return to the L-RD your G-d, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the L-RD your G-d will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the L-RD your G-d has scattered you. (Deuteronomy 30:1-3)

A day will come when they return to the Torah and obey G-d in all He commanded them that day. Verse 8: And you shall again obey the voice of the L-RD and keep all His commandments that I command you today.

The L-RD your G-d will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the L-RD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the L-RD your G-d, to keep His commandments and His statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the L-RD your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 30:9-10)

Where does it say anything about being bathed in the blood of a human sacrifice, anything about the son of G-d, anything about Israel being replaced with some new Israel, anything about this Book being fulfilled? The notorious New Covenant refers to how the original is accessed.

Johannes wrote:

What is not different between both situations is that the signs or wonders that can be performed by a false prophet, etc. are not performed directly by God but by an evil angel, whom God has permitted to do it, by his own power,

Absolutely wrong. Judaism does not share your conception of satan. He's analogous to Slugworth from Willy Wonka, not some autonomous rebel at war with G-d. He's not the "god of this world." There is only HaShem. "There is none else besides Him." (Deut. 4:35,39) Ein od milvado. G-d doesn't step out on the porch for a smoke while bad stuff happens according to Isaiah: Who forms light and creates darkness, Who makes peace and creates evil; I am the L-rd, Who makes all these. (45:7)

Why? None of your damn business! "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?" That's my "theodicy," grounded in traditional sources. No one's ever refuted it. I admit to not understanding the New & Improved christian conception of G-d. He's too sweet to ZOT Canaanites or Sodomites or test people in ways that seem harsh to us, but everlasting torment is unobjectionable, and predestination.

Satan as the "god of this world"? Do you hear yourselves? That's crazy talk!

Johannes wrote:

Where in the OT is it written that God granted the Men of the Great Assembly the authority ...

The Sanhedrin is given authority enjoyed by no subsequent mortal. This is in Deut. 16. Where does it say a word about Gentiles and apostate Jews reinterpreting the Torah, using it to launch an altogether new paradigm, using it to cancel its own authority!? Deut. 33 says it's the inheritance of Jacob. You're reading someone else's mail. Most of it doesn't apply to Gentiles at all. What moral code was incumbent on all humanity prior to the Revelation at Sinai? It still is. 

Interesting point about the Children of Israel: there's a possible world where Abraham didn't rediscover monotheism, where it was a Native American girl. Then the Torah would have been given to her people (in their language) and they would have firstborn sibling status among the nations. This is radical to me. I thought it was preordained. Not according to Maimonides.

Johannes wrote:

Which of course your ultimate and absolute interpretation will deny that they can possibly refer to Jesus, a denial that becomes hermetically sealed by your ultimate and absolute interpretation of Deut 13:1-5

I just want to mention in passing that the christian version of Deut. 13:1 and the original are different. Why did christian censors feel the need to relegate THIS VERSE to the end of the preceding chapter? Because adding or subtracting from the Torah is off limits -- even to prophets. The fifth verse says to observe His commandments alone, to heed only His orders. You can't possibly read this chapter to prove that a miracle-worker's followers will have the authority to condemn “the old rule," which will be "set aside, because it [is] weak and useless. The law of Moses [can] not make anything perfect.” (Hebrews 7:18-19) There was a famous Torah Sage who refuted this long before it was even written.

Regarding G-d raising Jesus to some glorious state, I don't trust whoever wrote the NT. Period. If they're lying to me about the contents of the TaNaKh, why should I trust what they're saying about anything? I haven't addressed this issue directly because I've been positing, for the sake of argument, that Jesus had miraculous powers, which are not unheard of in Jewish history.

Here's where I'm at. If you can convince me a national Revelation didn't occur, that the Torah was not given to an entire nation through the Prophet Moses, that the foundation of Judaism is fundamentally false, I won't become a christian or moslem. Not even tempted. I might start listening to Michael Sidduth. I'll probably go back to being some half-assed deist who avoids the subject. Heck, here's my little Dostoevsky-like tantrum: "If Torah Judaism is false, it's all just a chaos of nothing." The thread has come full circle! 


Perhaps I'm not the best defender of the position. Theists should at least know what it is. You shouldn't start with Christianity, assuming everything it says about it's predecessor is obviously true. Some interesting links:

Sons of Noach: Genuine Righteous Gentiles Revisited

A Philosophy of Noahide Laws and Observances

TeNaK Talk

Guide for the Noahide

Aleph Beta Academy

Faith Strengthened

A Jewish Response to the Missionary Challenge

G*ds Your Forefathers Did Not Know

The Elephant and The Suit

Daily Minyan

How Do We Know We Heard G-d At Sinai?

What The Guide for the Perplexed Is Really About

Torah 101

Last edited by 119 (4/05/2018 5:52 am)

 

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