Did Jesus Care about the New Testament?


#1

Can someone please point me to a place where it says that Jesus cared about the writing and promulgation of the New Testament?

My limited understanding in this area is summed up this way:
[LIST]
*]Jesus, being human, had limited knowledge. Would he know that something like the New Testament would ever appear? He could not, and it would seem to me that if he cared about the construction of a New Testament, he would have been asking for some notes to be taken.

*]Jesus, being divine, had the knowledge of God, and so would know exactly what would happen. Therefore, perhaps he didn't care to make such requests because he already knew a New Testament would be written and eventually widely distributed and translated.
[/LIST]

However, I tend to believe that Jesus didn't care so much about exactly how the Church grew and developed over time. Thus, the existence of the New Testament does not seem to be something that the human intellect of Jesus would predict.

Does the Bible (or Church teaching) illuminate any assertion that the New Testament would materialize?

Thanks.


#2

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:346255"]
Can someone please point me to a place where it says that Jesus cared about the writing and promulgation of the New Testament?

My limited understanding in this area is summed up this way:
[LIST]
*]Jesus, being human, had limited knowledge. Would he know that something like the New Testament would ever appear? He could not, and it would seem to me that if he cared about the construction of a New Testament, he would have been asking for some notes to be taken.

*]Jesus, being divine, had the knowledge of God, and so would know exactly what would happen. Therefore, perhaps he didn't care to make such requests because he already knew a New Testament would be written and eventually widely distributed and translated.
[/LIST]

[/quote]

Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian. Jesus cites "the law and the prophets," which generally reflects two of the three parts of the Hebrew scriptures: Law (Torah) and Prophets (Nevi'im). The last, "Writings" (Ketuvim) are the final part of the T-N-K (Tanakh, the Hebrew term for their Bible), which we can assume Jesus was referring in some places.

Jesus explicitly told the Sadducee that they did not know the scriptures (Matthew 22:29 -- “You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God."). The Sadducees only held the Torah (the first five books) as their scripture. In this passage, Jesus is referring to writings about the resurrection, which only come from around two centuries before his life (e.g., Daniel, Maccabees, Wisdom). They're not in the earlier prophets (except some verses of the Psalms), so he must have known these other "writings," (which rabbinical Jews later called "Ketuvim"). Elsewhere, he also refers to himself as the "Son of Man," a reference to Daniel 7. So it's a fair bet Jesus had an idea of what the Hebrew canon was and was not.

Personally, I don't think Jesus was walking around on earth acting like an omnipotent being. As we're told in Philippians 2:7, he "emptied himself, taking the form of a slave." I think we can take that seriously. I think Jesus had a sense of vocation, which is what compelled him to ministry and toward Jerusalem at the end of his life. But I don't think Jesus was walking around acting like God. So I'd say that he had followers, which he charged with ministry, and it was they -- as the church -- that decided to put together the Bible.

However, I tend to believe that Jesus didn't care so much about exactly how the Church grew and developed over time. Thus, the existence of the New Testament does not seem to be something that the human intellect of Jesus would predict.

I agree. The earliest books of the New Testament were written around 50 AD (the letters of Paul). The oldest complete gospel we have is Mark, written around 70 AD. But as we read in Paul's letters, Christians had spread around the eastern Mediterranean, as far as Rome. That was by oral preaching, not by scripture. If Jesus was concerned with a written documentation of his life and resurrection, I would think that we'd have seen gospels from the very beginning, but we don't see that.

The earliest Christian texts we have are those that are cited in Paul's letters that in all likelihoood pre-date Paul (e.g., 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, Philippians 2:5-11; Romans 1:1-6 or 3-4). Then the letters of Paul were circulated widely, which were probably the first "scripture" that many of the first Gentile Christians used. These don't mention the gospels, and it's not until about 40 years after Jesus died that we get the Gospels. I think what you see is that as the eyewitnesses died, there was a need that arose in Christian communities to pass on the faith, and that's where I think scripture began -- particularly the Gospels.

Does the Bible (or Church teaching) illuminate any assertion that the New Testament would materialize?

Not that I'm aware. If you look at Luke 1, you see some of the reasoning for the author's writing the gospel:

"1 Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, 3 I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. "
In other words, the author of Luke has written for the purpose of "handing down" the tradition from "the eyewitnesses and ministers of the word."

That's my $0.02. Hope that helps.


#3

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:346255"]
Can someone please point me to a place where it says that Jesus cared about the writing and promulgation of the New Testament?

My limited understanding in this area is summed up this way:
[LIST]
*]Jesus, being human, had limited knowledge. Would he know that something like the New Testament would ever appear? He could not, and it would seem to me that if he cared about the construction of a New Testament, he would have been asking for some notes to be taken.

*]Jesus, being divine, had the knowledge of God, and so would know exactly what would happen. Therefore, perhaps he didn't care to make such requests because he already knew a New Testament would be written and eventually widely distributed and translated.
[/LIST]

However, I tend to believe that Jesus didn't care so much about exactly how the Church grew and developed over time. Thus, the existence of the New Testament does not seem to be something that the human intellect of Jesus would predict.

Does the Bible (or Church teaching) illuminate any assertion that the New Testament would materialize?

Thanks.

[/quote]

In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Ezekiel is a description of a lion, a bull, an eagle and a human face. These four figures represented the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This was the great prophecy of what these four Gospel writers will be witnessing to when Jesus will come. This prediction was first pointed out here in the first chapter of Ezekiel.


#4

Very good reference.


#5

Christ’s understanding of the Judaic faith and how it would be transformed into the Way, the followers of Christ, can be shown in one verse.

“I did not come to abolish the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them.” (Matt 5:17)

Let’s unpack this.

There was an encounter with God–not just of Moses but Abraham and many other prophets. In these encounters, God told his people to offer sacrifices, to build a temple of worship and provided standards and rules for worship. He also had a ministerial priesthood founded to offer the given sacrifices.

Man, being what he is, told these stories to others. Over time, these stories were transcribed to retain accuracy and for better study. That’s Scripture.

If we hold Christ to his word, we see Him gather a new ministerial priesthood. He instructs this priesthood specifically but also teaches the populace in general as a priest would. He establishes rules of conduct. Most importantly, He offers a new sacrifice that would be truly efficacious, that would truly atone for the sins of all mankind: Himself.

After His mission was completed, the ministerial priesthood teaches these stories by word. They offer the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Over time, these stories are codified into written form.

Of course, Christ expected his Church to arise and prosper. Matthew 16:18 is where the Lord establishes his Church, appointing a vicar, or steward of the earthly ministry. Not only that, He tells His followers, in a fashion, that the Church will endure (“the gates of hell will not prevail against it”). In fact, it implies that the Church will break down the barricades of hell itself (contrary to how others see the Church defending itself against hell).

Christ is God. While He humbled himself on Earth, He possessed the same power, knowledge and authority as the Father. He is fully God and fully man and the two are inseparable. Often we see Christ, the Word of God, use Judaic scripture or history to knock back the tests of the Pharisees and other opponents. How would He know all of this, being not a scribe or appointed and long-trained Judaic priest? There can be only one answer.

Christ did not leave with the words, “Now, write a book about what you’ve learned.” He knew, as the Word of God, that the writing of Scripture is a natural human documentation process, done by the Jews long before and soon to be done by the Christians over time. But the living expression of the Gospel is also part of your answer, for which an apostolic ministry fulfills, with Christ being the One Sacrifice.


#6

:thumbsup: There was a Church well before there was a canonical Christian Bible!


#7

[quote="chimo, post:3, topic:346255"]
In the first chapter of the Old Testament book of Ezekiel is a description of a lion, a bull, an eagle and a human face. These four figures represented the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This was the great prophecy of what these four Gospel writers will be witnessing to when Jesus will come. This prediction was first pointed out here in the first chapter of Ezekiel.

[/quote]

It is interesting that there were prophesies that were fairly explicit about Jesus and what he would be doing on Earth. It was not until he left that it became obvious, and it was the apostles/disciples looking at the scriptures after the fact to see this reality.

You have pointed to another prophesy that is easier to recognize after the fact. I do find it interesting that even with the benefit of Ezekiel, the Church still dithered on the acceptance of the Gospel of John as being the inspired Word of God in the 4th century. Therefore, I think that it is still safe to say that the human intellect of Jesus did not anticipate the New Testament, nor even suggest that it was something that needed to be created.


#8

[quote="Spencerian, post:5, topic:346255"]
Christ's understanding of the Judaic faith and how it would be transformed into the Way, the followers of Christ, can be shown in one verse.

"I did not come to abolish the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them." (Matt 5:17)

Let's unpack this.

There was an encounter with God--not just of Moses but Abraham and many other prophets. In these encounters, God told his people to offer sacrifices, to build a temple of worship and provided standards and rules for worship. He also had a ministerial priesthood founded to offer the given sacrifices.

Man, being what he is, told these stories to others. Over time, these stories were transcribed to retain accuracy and for better study. That's Scripture.

[/quote]

Agreed. I do think it is natural to understand that a new institution would necessarily have written material. My question is more about the New Testament as we now have it. The New Testament is one part, a component, of the organic reality of the Church. The Church grew in such a way as to produce the New Testament, but I do not see how Jesus would anticipate it specifically.

If we hold Christ to his word, we see Him gather a new ministerial priesthood. He instructs this priesthood specifically but also teaches the populace in general as a priest would. He establishes rules of conduct. Most importantly, He offers a new sacrifice that would be truly efficacious, that would truly atone for the sins of all mankind: Himself.

After His mission was completed, the ministerial priesthood teaches these stories by word. They offer the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. Over time, these stories are codified into written form.

Of course, Christ expected his Church to arise and prosper. Matthew 16:18 is where the Lord establishes his Church, appointing a vicar, or steward of the earthly ministry. Not only that, He tells His followers, in a fashion, that the Church will endure ("the gates of hell will not prevail against it"). In fact, it implies that the Church will break down the barricades of hell itself (contrary to how others see the Church defending itself against hell).

I agree. And, viewing hell as trying to defend itself against Christ and his Church is a sense that I have heard only recently. We're constantly under attack, at least it feels that way, so that is why it seems to be taken in the mistaken sense. But, I agree with your view on this.

Christ is God. While He humbled himself on Earth, He possessed the same power, knowledge and authority as the Father. He is fully God and fully man and the two are inseparable. Often we see Christ, the Word of God, use Judaic scripture or history to knock back the tests of the Pharisees and other opponents. How would He know all of this, being not a scribe or appointed and long-trained Judaic priest? There can be only one answer.

And... this is where I go off the rails. I don't get how Jesus, being man and human, can have both of these at the same time. He is unified, he is God, he is human. Do you have any reasonably readable text books that will help me get my hands around this?

If Jesus always had God's intellect, then did he just pretend to say baby-talk kinds of things? Did Jesus have the knowledge of God when he was in the womb? When he was just a single cell?

Also, if one attribute is taken too far ("too much divine" vs. "too much human"), then the other side suffers too much - and then there's ("too little divine" or "too little human"). For example, Jesus can't talk about being forsaken on the cross if he is complaining to himself (meaning that the divine side of Jesus rules all of his actions).

Christ did not leave with the words, "Now, write a book about what you've learned." He knew, as the Word of God, that the writing of Scripture is a natural human documentation process, done by the Jews long before and soon to be done by the Christians over time. But the living expression of the Gospel is also part of your answer, for which an apostolic ministry fulfills, with Christ being the One Sacrifice.

It's one thing to know that some sort of scripture would be written. That I could see would make sense. If so, it does seem he didn't care exactly how that would play itself out.


#9

[quote="in_servitude, post:1, topic:346255"]
Can someone please point me to a place where it says that Jesus cared about the writing and promulgation of the New Testament?

My limited understanding in this area is summed up this way:
[LIST]
*]Jesus, being human, had limited knowledge. Would he know that something like the New Testament would ever appear? He could not, and it would seem to me that if he cared about the construction of a New Testament, he would have been asking for some notes to be taken.

*]Jesus, being divine, had the knowledge of God, and so would know exactly what would happen. Therefore, perhaps he didn't care to make such requests because he already knew a New Testament would be written and eventually widely distributed and translated.
[/LIST]

However, I tend to believe that Jesus didn't care so much about exactly how the Church grew and developed over time. Thus, the existence of the New Testament does not seem to be something that the human intellect of Jesus would predict.

Does the Bible (or Church teaching) illuminate any assertion that the New Testament would materialize?

Thanks.

[/quote]

Jesus is fully God. His knowledge, while He was on Earth, was not limited in any way.

He knew, from before the world began, exactly how people would respond to Him, and how the Church would grow.

God Bless


#10

We know that Jesus knew who he was and that he had a mission at age 12 because he stated: "I must be about my Father's business." Still, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit instead of relying on his divine nature in what he said and did. This is why he told his disciples that they "will do greater works than these" because they would do what he, as a single human being could not do, take his Gospel into the whole world.

We have to remember that the NT is not Jesus' book--it's the Church's book. Jesus is the Word of God--God's last revelation of himself to man. The Bible is the written word of God--God inspired words written by man. There is a huge difference, one that many people don't seem to understand.

Jesus never commanded his Apostles to write anything down. I do believe, though that Matthew may have kept notes and that his was the first Gospel. There is a fragment of his Gospel that is strong evidence for this. In any event, Jesus commanded the Apostles to go into the whole world to make disciples, to baptize and to teach, not necessarily to write. The writing came about because the Apostles wanted to set down what they had seen and heard, thus the Gospels and Acts. The Epistles mostly deal with disciplinary matters and fighting against heresies that had already begun to grow.

We have to understand who wrote the NT and why before they make any sense to us. Jesus, being God and God inspired/led as a man would certainly have been aware that his Apostles would write things inspired by the Holy Spirit. But, he didn't set out to found a book. Rather, he founded a Church and the Church, led by the Holy Spirit gave us the NT.


#11

[quote="in_servitude, post:7, topic:346255"]
It is interesting that there were prophesies that were fairly explicit about Jesus and what he would be doing on Earth. It was not until he left that it became obvious, and it was the apostles/disciples looking at the scriptures after the fact to see this reality.

You have pointed to another prophesy that is easier to recognize after the fact. I do find it interesting that even with the benefit of Ezekiel, the Church still dithered on the acceptance of the Gospel of John as being the inspired Word of God in the 4th century. Therefore, I think that it is still safe to say that the human intellect of Jesus did not anticipate the New Testament, nor even suggest that it was something that needed to be created.

[/quote]

No, Jesus had anticipated it. For the New Testament to come alive it first needs to be lived. The NT would have never had been written unless it was first lived. This can be said of the Old Testament. It has to be lived first. When Moses had written the first five books of the OT there is no way they can be written unless these events had first occurred. Jesus came so that the NT will be available for us. It is the cornerstone of our Faith. It was very apparent that the NT would be written by Jesus as His prophecies from the OT had pointed to. There is no way the Church would have existed after the Apostles have died if there was no written NT.


#12

You’re speaking of Sacred Tradition, the orally and written teachings of God through the Apostles as well as papal documents and other official Magisterium teachings.

Since Jesus clearly had knowledge of Sacred Judaic Scripture (and having not been a Scribe or Judaic priest himself, per se), it’s clear here that Christ shows his omniscience in not only the knowledge of quoting scripture, but also from many sources of Judaism as well as the true meaning behind it. Remember that Judaism has never had a universal set of Scripture (the whole argument of Luther wanting to remove seven books from Sacred Scripture during the Protestant Reformation).

God is God. Whether in corporeal form or not, He doesn’t see time as you and I do. Yet, Christ showed a clear ability to foretell a betrayer in his ranks as well as the fall of the Second Temple.

Since Christ also noted how he was to fulfill and not abolish the first Covenant, that would also support His acceptance of new Scripture. Catholic teaching is that Scripture is the inspired Word of God, transcribed by man. The Church bishops were given insight over time to determine what writings were inspired, not inspired but helpful, and not inspired nor helpful.

Another way to interpret this is that Church’s existence weakens the locks on the gates of Sheol, the land of the dead, (different from the inescapable Hell), those trapped by original sin and freed by Christ’s death and resurrection.

You’re speaking of the hypostatic union. There are many threads on the topic you can search to help you understand it. Here’s one. You might also find the Original Catholic Encyclopedia definition a jumping point for more clarity.

We have a good analogy for Christ’s seeming inconsistency with modern literature and film: The Time Traveler. Say you are a time traveler that’s researching the JFK assassination. You must be very careful not to interfere with the timeline that occurred or ripple effects that could alter your own time can occur.

Similarly, Christ knew what information was useful and not helpful for his students. A popular example is when he was asked when the end of the world would happen. He deferred to answer but warned not to follow false teachers and to always be prepared. As God, He certainly knew this answer. As Christ on Earth, he often gave deference to what the Father had or had not already revealed, or allowed to be revealed through his Son.

Again, do research more on the hypostatic union. Christ is fully man and fully Divine. On the “My God, My God” verse, Christ was actually not lamenting about his fate but quoting Psalm 22 to let those who heard it and understood know that he was fulfilling this very passage of Scripture in their sight.

I hope I’ve shed a little more clarity for you with my answers. Just remember that Scripture didn’t drop from the sky. Like the history of our Church, formed by real people in real towns and real historical events, these books were formed with clerics of the early Church under the Holy Spirit, but formed as other books are, nonetheless.


#13

[quote="bilop, post:9, topic:346255"]
Jesus is fully God. His knowledge, while He was on Earth, was not limited in any way.

He knew, from before the world began, exactly how people would respond to Him, and how the Church would grow.

[/quote]

Humans have limited knowledge. If you say that Jesus did not experience a limited intellect, then he was not able to live a human existence.

I realize that Jesus IS God. I realize that there was also a divine intellect in Christ. I do not comprehend how Jesus can be human without limitations.

As we know, Jesus died. However, God does not die, and cannot die. Therefore, the picture is more complicated than simply saying "Jesus, being fully God, had no limitations."


#14

[quote="in_servitude, post:13, topic:346255"]
Humans have limited knowledge. If you say that Jesus did not experience a limited intellect, then he was not able to live a human existence.

I realize that Jesus IS God. I realize that there was also a divine intellect in Christ. I do not comprehend how Jesus can be human without limitations.

As we know, Jesus died. However, God does not die, and cannot die. Therefore, the picture is more complicated than simply saying "Jesus, being fully God, had no limitations."

[/quote]

Maybe this EWTN article on this very question will help you further.


#15

[quote="chimo, post:11, topic:346255"]
No, Jesus had anticipated it. For the New Testament to come alive it first needs to be lived. The NT would have never had been written unless it was first lived. This can be said of the Old Testament. It has to be lived first. When Moses had written the first five books of the OT there is no way they can be written unless these events had first occurred. Jesus came so that the NT will be available for us. It is the cornerstone of our Faith. It was very apparent that the NT would be written by Jesus as His prophecies from the OT had pointed to. There is no way the Church would have existed after the Apostles have died if there was no written NT.

[/quote]

You say, "There is no way the Church would have existed after the Apostles have died if there was no written NT." How do you account for the death of the last apostle occurring near the end of the 1st century, but the Church pulling together the NT in the 4th century? Remember that the Gospel of John, among other books, was contested even in the 4th century. Therefore, there was not a generally agreed upon NT for the 2nd and 3rd century.


#16

[quote="in_servitude, post:13, topic:346255"]
Humans have limited knowledge. If you say that Jesus did not experience a limited intellect, then he was not able to live a human existence.

I realize that Jesus IS God. I realize that there was also a divine intellect in Christ. I do not comprehend how Jesus can be human without limitations.

As we know, Jesus died. However, God does not die, and cannot die. Therefore, the picture is more complicated than simply saying "Jesus, being fully God, had no limitations."

[/quote]

Read the link the other poster provided.

Jesus had no limitation beyond those which He voluntarily chose to have.

If He had wished not to die, there was no way the Romans could have killed Him. If he chose to descend alive from the Cross, and summon the 12 legions of Angels, He could have.

God Bless


#17

[quote="in_servitude, post:15, topic:346255"]
You say, "There is no way the Church would have existed after the Apostles have died if there was no written NT." How do you account for the death of the last apostle occurring near the end of the 1st century, but the Church pulling together the NT in the 4th century? Remember that the Gospel of John, among other books, was contested even in the 4th century. Therefore, there was not a generally agreed upon NT for the 2nd and 3rd century.

[/quote]

You are misunderstanding me. These NT writings were there before the Apostles died because they must have been written by them while they were still living. Had these not been written at all there would have created a chaotic church. But since these writings were available then the Church relied on them after the Apostles have passed on. You are forgetting there were many copies of these letters and the Gospels floating around. It wasn't until later that the Church wanted to formalize what writings be acceptable and which were not since too many people had their own theories about Jesus. Yet is was these copies of the these originals that kept the Faith going. I do not know about this contested Gospel of John. I knew the Book of Revelation was contested but this does not mean it wasn't accepted until the Church accepted them formally. We are only talking about Bishops who were involved in this. I am sure many communities have always high regards to all the writings but because of so many false ones and other ones that were not based on truth the Church had to select those which were truth.


#18

=in_servitude;11435871]Can someone please point me to a place where it says that Jesus cared about the writing and promulgation of the New Testament?

My limited understanding in this area is summed up this way:
[LIST]
*]Jesus, being human, had limited knowledge. Would he know that something like the New Testament would ever appear? He could not, and it would seem to me that if he cared about the construction of a New Testament, he would have been asking for some notes to be taken.

*]Jesus, being divine, had the knowledge of God, and so would know exactly what would happen. Therefore, perhaps he didn't care to make such requests because he already knew a New Testament would be written and eventually widely distributed and translated.
[/LIST]

However, I tend to believe that Jesus didn't care so much about exactly how the Church grew and developed over time. Thus, the existence of the New Testament does not seem to be something that the human intellect of Jesus would predict.

Does the Bible (or Church teaching) illuminate any assertion that the New Testament would materialize?

Thanks.

SURE:D

Mark 16: 14-15 & Mt. 28:16-20:thumbsup:


#19

[quote="bilop, post:16, topic:346255"]
Read the link the other poster provided.

Jesus had no limitation beyond those which He voluntarily chose to have.

If He had wished not to die, there was no way the Romans could have killed Him. If he chose to descend alive from the Cross, and summon the 12 legions of Angels, He could have.

God Bless

[/quote]

I probably will not be able to go much further with this thread since I'm totally lost due to my lack of understanding of the hypostatic union. I intend to spend some time studying the concept. I need to have a better understanding than I do now, anyway. I've read some links, but the issue rapidly becomes a very deep one if we want to say that Jesus did or did not care about one thing or the other.

I did want to follow up and say that I do agree that Jesus made the choice to give his life over. He had the right to do so since it was his to give. This is very different than any other human because their body is not their own but rather a gift that must be cared for.


#20

[quote="chimo, post:17, topic:346255"]
You are misunderstanding me. These NT writings were there before the Apostles died because they must have been written by them while they were still living. Had these not been written at all there would have created a chaotic church.

[/quote]

I think that this depends on how much a person trusts the Spirit to lead the Church. Was it really up to human decisions to write things down for the Church to survive? I think most people would say, "no."

But since these writings were available then the Church relied on them after the Apostles have passed on. You are forgetting there were many copies of these letters and the Gospels floating around.

I do disagree that I am forgetting this fact. Rather, I add to this fact that there was other garbage texts floating around along side what would eventually become the NT texts.

It wasn't until later that the Church wanted to formalize what writings be acceptable and which were not since too many people had their own theories about Jesus. Yet is was these copies of the these originals that kept the Faith going.

I do doubt that it was the copies of NT texts that kept the Church going. Is there any evidence of this whatsoever?

I do not know about this contested Gospel of John. I knew the Book of Revelation was contested but this does not mean it wasn't accepted until the Church accepted them formally. We are only talking about Bishops who were involved in this. I am sure many communities have always high regards to all the writings but because of so many false ones and other ones that were not based on truth the Church had to select those which were truth.

If the NT texts kept the Church going, then how could the Church possibly be in the position to decide what the NT texts were? It sounds circular to me. However, if the Church was sustained by the Spirit and not the NT texts, then it would make much more sense that the NT texts were a consequence of the actions taken by the Church as led by the Spirit.


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