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Alan Lenzi

I'm surprised though glad that Waltke did this. But I would like to point out that Waltke's stand, as brave as it was personally, is a no-brainer for anyone, as you say, who has done some study in Biology. This kind of thing is so odd to outsiders because Evolution is so well-established that it's accepted as fact by most. So basically Waltke is taking a stand on a 20th Century issue. Now consider someone like Pete Enns, who is staking out a territory in Evangelical Biblical Studies that is even more important in many respects (i.e., the integration of critical scholarship and Evangelic theology). Waltke opposed him tooth and nail. Yet Enns is fighting the battle of the 21st Century.

As for RTS, welcome to the ghetto, baby! The conservative branch of the Reformed tradition in America is quickly burying itself. For a tradition that prides itself in intellectual rigor, it's becoming a joke. Oh well.


Right, but I think Bruce Waltke and Pete Enns see themselves as having honest differences.

Neither would think of saying that the other aims for anything but intellectual rigor, with the boldness and confidence that has always characterized the best part of the Reformed tradition.

Justin R

As someone who attended RTS Orlando I am deeply saddened by this. RTS-O is one of the best reformed seminaries out there but I am afraid it is not going to be for much longer. It seems as if there is a cultural shift going on and not for the better. It used to be a school that held to it reformed roots yet was not afraid to interact and adapt to the contemporary life. It also was one of the best experiences do to its ecumenical nature. I don't know how many awesome people I met who were Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, and even Mennonite.

Bruce Waltke to me is more than a scholar, but he is a sage. He instilled in me a love for Hebrew and careful exegesis, while maintaining a faith with integrity. His decades long study of Proverbs not only left him with a great commentary but he was somebody who is saturated with Godly wisdom. I don't think I ever left a lunch with him not feeling loved or edified. Him leaving RTS spells trouble. Atleast, there is still John Frame, Dr. Futato, and Dr. Hill I suppose. All of them are top notch.

In the end, I do not think it is indicative of the faculty, but it possibly comes down to the directors. I know they put a strangle hold on many good options we had in the past. Anyways, I pray for the best for RTS-O, but if they do not maintain some kind of distinctive nature within the Reformed community, there are probably going to be better alternatives.



What a moving tribute to Bruce Waltke!

This has long been my analysis of institutions like WTS-Philadelphia and RTS-Orlando: they came to occupy a position of intense respect in the eyes of people who are not part of the specific tribes the institutions are run by, and now their directors have become afraid of their own institutions' shadow.

A crying shame.

Seth Sanders

This is Hobbes' vision of how authority works: by decision--backed up by coercion--never by persuasion. In the end it's the judge, not the lawyers for either side, who decides the case. That's why Hobbes wanted to ban any religion that got in the way of political power. And it looks a lot like the RTS reasoning. Hobbes, of course, thought people were fundamentally stupid, and that their best hope was merely to be safe: to live as a nation of fat, sleek shopkeepers.

Going further, logically this position undercuts any possible argument for moral absolutes: if it is by definition impossible for arguments for evolution to be right, because they oppose a preexisting conviction you have, then why should anyone accept your arguments for anything that they don't already believe? How can you legitimately claim to argue for anything when all you really listen to is authority?

Gary Simmons

I'm shocked with how hostile people are to taking Genesis noetically, even though I used to have that hostility too. Evangel has a good post on Noetic Noah and the Fluffy Hermeneutic, although Mark Olsen doesn't ever address the "fluffy" hermeneutic. Somehow the comment thread became a battle over transubstantiation.


Hobbes does appear to be making a comeback in some circles. Not a guardian angel I would want on my shoulder.

"Fat, sleek shopkeepers." Oy, I need to lose about 30 pounds.


Apart from the theological questions involved, and I do not judge myself qualified to state an opinion on this topic, I hope that Professor Waltke will be able to continue teaching, writing and publishing on Biblical Hebrew for my own selfish reasons as I have learned a lot from his extraordinary erudition and contributions. In the final analysis, a very sad turn of events.



Thanks for the link.


Another excellent tribute. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to purchase his commentary on Micah.

G. Kyle Essary

I think from previous discussions that I don't need to discuss my deep admiration for Dr. Waltke. His passion for the sovereignty of God in every sphere of knowledge has always inspired me. Here's a current example...I'm preaching through Leviticus right now and have found just as much insight from a brief article from him and a dictionary entry on Leviticus as I have in Milgrom, Knohl, Hartley or Wenham (and I've particularly loved Milgrom).

There are so many things I'm thinking through on this issue and I'll post them all on this post (even though some may fit better on the Warfield and other Waltke post):

1. What's the major issue that led to his resignation? I think most evangelical atheists and fundamentalist Christians would like to make it a battle between evolution/creationism, but I'm pretty confident that isn't the issue. If that were the issue, then his OT Theology would not have been the OT theology textbook used (not only by Waltke) at RTS. It blatantly supports theistic evolution.

Take this quote, "The best harmonious synthesis of the special revelation of the Bible, of the general revelation of human nature that distinguishes between right and wrong and consciously or unconsciously craves God, and of science is the theory of theistic evolution. By "theory," I mean here "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for the origins of species, especially adam, not "a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural." By "theistic evolution" I mean that the God of Israel, to bring glory to himself, (1) created all the things that are out of nothing and sustains them; (2) incredibly, against the laws of probability, finely turned the essential properties of the universe to produce adam, who is capable of reflecting upon their origins; (3) within his providence allowed the process of natural selection and of cataclysmic interventions - such as the meteor that extinguished the dinosaurs, enabling mammals to dominate the earth - to produce awe-inspiring creatures, especially adam; (4) by direct creation made adam a spiritual being, an image of divine beings, for fellowship with himself by faith; (5) allowed adam to freely choose to follow their primitive animal nature and to usurp the rule of God instead of living by faith in God, losing fellowship with their physical and spiritual Creator; (6) and in his mercy chose from fallen adam the Israel of God, whom he regenerated by the Holy Spirit, in connection with their faith in Jesus Chrsit, the Second Adam, for fellowship with himself."

Obviously, his views were much more clearly explained in his OT Theology, which was proudly used by RTS in its classes (and should have been...I prefer it to both Brueggemann and Goldingay).

So what was the issue? Was it the strong language of using "cult" since that "cultish" view is typical for many of the other professors at RTS? Neither RTS nor Waltke are saying anything. Waltke in his clarification didn't seem to think that the video was edited properly and was posted hastily (he hadn't yet seen it).

I've got more to say, but the wife needs my help for awhile...I'll be back with more as this truly has me saddened and confused.

G. Kyle Essary

By the way, the above quote can be found on 202-203 in his OT Theology (although I think I have the British edition and the US edition may have different pagination). There are plenty of other quotes in the book that talk to this issue as well, this one just summarizes.


Thanks, Kyle. People are piling onto this post from all over the world, a mile a minute. It's good that you give us such a long and helpful quote.

Waltke's Theology will now receive the wide reading it deserves. That is the first silver lining in this whole mess.

Seth Sanders

Kyle's citation reminds me that here, as usual when the chips are down, what matters is a particular social consequence, *not* the fundamental political idea. For that, actually, von Clausewitz is brilliant: he has a whole theory of why theory never really applies: Friction.

As for being sleek and fat, me too- an occupational hazard of having a lot of thoughts and obligations to people. Though one reason I probably don't write enough is because I run a lot (not in the Pauline sense)...

G. Kyle Essary

2. This is not the same situation as what happened to Dr. Enns although I think those on both sides are trying really hard to tie the two together. There was no review over Waltke's book to see if it was in line with the WCF, there was no suspension from his position, there was no question of his orthodoxy by anyone outside of watchbloggers and the issues discussed are very, very different (although both times I side with the professor...and let's not forget that regardless of their discussions Waltke's endorsement is still on the back of I&I).

3. What's the full story? As is all too typical these days (and I think the IHE is not exempted from this), the report was made before any reporting was done. Is Waltke's resignation even directly tied to this event? Is it possible that he's just tired of the disputes from both sides (one need only read his responses here to see that he's clearly frustrated by online discussions/debates of which the Biologos situation is no different). Is it true that RTS initially refused his resignation? Should that factor into all those who are acting like Waltke was fired? Until Dr. Waltke speaks about the situation (which he probably won't) or someone at the seminary leaks out the real story, we're simply not going to find out and reporting as if he was fired over holding to theistic evolution only skews the truth.

4. What does this mean for RTS? Will their enrollment increase as all of those people who are trying to defend God against His Creation begin to see the seminary as a castle against the liberal schools like Regent, Fuller and Trinity (yes, that was sarcastic)? Will Waltke continue to perform his emeritus duties at Regent? I suspect that will be the clearest indicator whether or not this is actually him just wanting to resign from the constant debates with those to his left and right.



Your prudence and caution are well-taken. However, the Inside Higher Ed piece includes on-the-record conversation with the interim president of RTS-Orlando:

"Michael Milton, president of the seminary's Charlotte campus and interim president of its Orlando campus, where Waltke taught, confirmed that the scholar had lost his job over the video. Milton said that Waltke would "undoubtedly" be considered one of the world's great Christian scholars of the Old Testament and that he was "much beloved here," with his departure causing "heartache." But he said that there was no choice.

Milton said that the seminary allows "views to vary" about creation, describing the faculty members there as having "an eight-lane highway" on which to explore various routes to understanding. Giving an example, he said that some faculty members believe that the Hebrew word yom (day) should be seen in Genesis as a literal 24-hour day. Others believe that yom may be providing "a framework" for some period of time longer than a day. Both of those views, and various others, are allowed, Milton said.

But while Milton insisted that this provides for "a diversity" of views, he acknowledged that others are not permitted. Darwinian views, and any suggestion that humans didn't arrive on earth directly from being created by God (as opposed to having evolved from other forms of life), are not allowed, he said, and faculty members know this.

Asked if this limits academic freedom, Milton said: "We are a confessional seminary. I'm a professor myself, but I do not have a freedom that would go past the boundaries of the confession. Nor do I have a freedom that would allow me to express my views in such a way to hurt or impugn someone who holds another view." Indeed he added that the problem with what Waltke said was as much his suggestion that religion will lose support over these issues as his statements about evolution itself. (The statement of faith at the seminary states: "Since the Bible is absolutely and finally authoritative as the inerrant Word of God, it is the basis for the total curriculum.")

Given Waltke's role and reputation, Milton said that his resignation wasn't accepted on the spot. But after prayer on the question, Milton said, officials accepted the resignation."

As always in such situations, Milton's careful answers nevertheless raise just as many questions. But the sequence of events cannot be said to be shrouded in mystery given Milton's remarks.

G. Kyle Essary

I know...I know...but I'm not happy about it...there's gotta be more, right? We're not talking about some no name evangelical scholar, but the very conservative, very Reformed, world-class Bruce Waltke...

Rick Wadholm Jr

Just to be clear...recognizing (and I agree) that Waltke is a "very conservative, very Reformed, world-class" scholar does not make him inerrant. He should be allowed the freedom to believe things which are in fact false (just as we all do) and be called to account for such if it is indeed shown to be the case. He is not above harsh criticism (just as we all are not above it). He has chosen to make a position publicly known for which, it would appear, he had previously agreed not to do. The notion of so-called "academic freedom" in teaching where one ought to be allowed to teach anything witout reprecussions seems rather ludicrous. There are always boundaries of responsibility in any organization or relationship. Why should teaching be any different? Relationships are built upon a mutual trust and which Waltke apparently chose to violate. He is still a "very conservative, very Reformed, world-class" scholar in my estimation (though that is probably not worth much) and should continue to receive our respect and interaction as such. However, this does not (and cannot) mean that he is above reproach in any and every area of thinking, writing, or pontificating. He will always be a beloved personal hero of mine...but every hero has a weakness...

Seth Sanders

Some particular social consequence, bet on it. It is never ever just about the scholarship.



If I understand you correctly, the problem is not that Waltke defended his carefully qualified compatibilist stance on creation and evolution (along the same lines as the Hodges and Warfield), a stance fully exposited in his OT Theology, up to that point a standard text at RTS, but that he implies in the video that those who are non-compatibilists turn Christianity into an insignificant cult.

If that is the case, I find it interesting from my point of view because that it was sticks in my craw about Biologos, its tendency to project a mirror-image sectarianism, symmetrical to that of YECers who define orthodoxy in terms of their theory.

In my view, non-compatibilists turn Christianity into a cult only when they make YECism (or OECism) status confessionis. And if they do not, they are absolutely welcome to their stance, which I may continue to disagree with, but will not break fellowship over in any sense of that term.



I think Michael Bird (a Reformed Evangelical NT scholar) sees things along the lines you suggest:

Peter Burden-Teh


What is this thing called ‘Science’? Why do evangelicals buy into Modernism? Why do evangelicals prostrate themselves before the idol of Methodological Naturalism? For the acceptance by rebellious peer-referenced ‘scientists’? To misuse a quote, “this too is vapor, that corruption [which] turns the wise into fools, and makes the heart stray with a gift.”

It is both ironic and tragic that evangelicals – such a wax nose - lay aside the majesty of the truth of Christian theism and instead act as atheists for ‘hebel’, whereas atheists, such as Dawkins et al, assume theism [Methodological Theism], whilst using naturalistic narratives. The ‘evidence’ is there in the writings of Dawkins.

However, as Tevye might say, on the other hand, why fuss? For not only can evolutionists not agree amongst themselves, but “Molecular biologists have no problem with turnover mechanisms, [as] they tend to leave evolution to natural science alone. This, of course, suits the evolutionary biologists who are not too willing to leave the comfort of natural selection” [Gabriel Dover. 2001.104].

And yet, if Waltke’s views on Evolution/Creationism are considered a laugh at ‘scandal’, then it pales against the weep at scandal of Waltke’s views of [Old Testament] Jews. For as Prof McDuffee writes [], “should evangelical Christians know that this AOT, winner of the 2008 Christian Book Award, provides a rationale for why the Jews protected themselves from extermination in the generation of Esther and Mordecai that matches the character profile of the Jews given in the most powerful piece of anti-Semitic propaganda ever produced, the “dangerous lie” called The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion? According to the ninth protocol the Jews will succeed in their conspiracy at ruling the world because “the weapons in our hands are limitless ambitions, burning greediness, merciless vengeance (UNQ’s emphasis), hatreds and malice.” Does this matter? Does it make us uneasy? Why or why not? Discuss”.



Let's see if I can clarify things here and there.

I'm sure that Waltke would insist that he is not buying into Modernism. He obviously and quite explicitly disagrees with the premise of methodological naturalism. So, if you want to accuse him of those things, you need to show why he holds to things he explicitly rejects.

You might ask yourself if you have adopted an approach to the evidence biologists and geneticists work with which does not require you to propose and test a global hypothesis, but only to punch holes in the standard description.

If that is your approach to biology and genetics, I'm willing to listen, but why on earth would I want you teaching these subjects? You don't even have the courage to err, which is the fundamental motor of progress in science. Do you follow me?

If you have an alternative explanation for the vast array of physical, geological, chemical, biochemical, and biological data that points to a beginning of the whole shooting match at a very remote point in time, and a history of life that is articulated by common descent, out with it.

Anyone with even an average love of fields like astrophysics, geology, biology, and genetics will tell you that what is sometimes called "creation science" is junk science, right up there with the thesis that most of the temperature increase that has occurred in the last century can safely be chalked up to increased human use of fossil fuels [I take full responsibility for the analogy; not everyone, obviously, will agree with it].

To recap, the pars destruens of your argument is off the mark and seems to reflect a disregard for what Waltke actually says. The pars costruens of your argument is nowhere to be seen. High-flying apologetic rhetoric is no substitute for the kind of intellectual humility which characterized the approach of B.B. Warfield and the Hodges.

Somewhere along the line, branches of the reformed Christian tradition sold their birthright, which has alway included a strong nose for relationships between special and general revelation, for a mess of pottage. Once that transaction is made, the result is CINOs (Calvinists in name only).

For the rest, your repetition of an accusation of anti-Semitism on Waltke's part without any supporting quote from Waltke stinks to high heaven.

Out with the damning quotes, and if you don't have them, you condemn yourself.

Peter Burden-Teh


Let me start with my beginning and finish with your ending.

By naming various ‘sciences’ is not to say ‘what is this thing called Science?’. And by contrasting ‘Evolution is true Science’ against ‘Creation Science [your term] is junk Science’ also misses ‘what is this thing called Science?.

Knowing that I am a clumsy typist and thinker, I have checked that I did type and say ‘evangelicals’ and not ‘the evangelical Waltke’.

Now to your ending. You demand of me ‘evidence’ or I condemn myself. This reminds me of your treatment of Thom Stark. As he is a better man than me for saying the same thing repeatedly in reply to you, so I will not be posting any further replies to you or other responses to these postings. I am content with what I have written, for although you appear to miss the point of Gabriel Dover, I will be the molecular biologist to your evolutionary biologist.

To finish our endings, it would seem that ‘greater faith is needed for those who have seen’ as it will make little difference if I present my ‘not seen’ evidence. For your demand of ‘evidence’ also epitomises your theory-laden objectivity which will deny any further evidence presented.

So to misquote Feyerabend, ‘Farewell to Reason’.


Peter, I'm glad that you accepted my invitation to put up or shut up.

You have chosen to shut up after receiving a request for evidence. Your response is more eloquent than anything I myself could have said.

I note that you continue to traffic in false dichotomies. As if molecular biologists and evolutionary biologists were disjunct sets. On the contrary, molecular biologists, almost without exception, love to engage the interface, which is why there are fascinating discussions going on in journals like "Molecular Biology and Evolution," "Journal of Molecular Evolution," and "Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution."

Thank you for illustrating so vividly the lengths to which you are willing to go in the effort to predetermine the outcome of a discussion.

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    seeking to retell the biblical story in the difficult transition from the centre to the margins following the collapse of Western Christendom, by Andrew Perriman, independent New Testament scholar, currently located in Dubai
  • PaleoJudaica
    by James Davila, professor of Early Jewish Studies at the University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Scotland. Judaism and the Bible in the news; tidbits about ancient Judaism and its context
  • Pastoral Epistles
    by Rick Brannan and friends, a conceptually unique Bible blog
  • Pen and Parchment
    Michael Patton and company don't just think outside the box. They are tearing down its walls.
  • Pisteuomen
    by Michael Halcomb, pastor-scholar from the Bluegrass State
  • Pseudo-Polymath
    by Mark Olson, an Orthodox view on things
  • Purging my soul . . . one blog at a time
    great theoblog by Sam Nunnally
  • Qumranica
    weblog for a course on the Dead Sea Scrolls at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, taught by James R. Davila (archive)
  • Ralph the Sacred River
    by Edward Cook, a superb Aramaist
  • Random Bloggings
    by Calvin Park, M. Div. student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton MA
  • Resident aliens
    reflections of one not at home in this world
  • Revelation is Real
    Strong-minded comment from Tony Siew, lecturer at Trinity Theological College, Singapore
  • Ricoblog
    by Rick Brannan, it's the baby pictures I like the most
  • Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
    Nick Norelli's fabulous blog on Bible and theology
  • SansBlogue
    by Tim Bulkeley, lecturer in Old Testament, Carey Baptist College (New Zealand). His Hypertext Commentary on Amos is an interesting experiment
  • Ancient Near Eastern Languages
    texts and files to help people learn some ancient languages in self study, by Mike Heiser
  • Midrash, etc.
    A fine Hebrew-to-English blog on Midrash, by Carl Kinbar, Director of the New School for Jewish Studies and a facultm member at MJTI School of Jewish Studies.
  • Phil Lembo what I'm thinking
    a recovering lawyer, now in IT, with a passion for a faith worth living
  • Roses and Razorwire
    a top-notch Levantine archaeology blog, by Owen Chesnut, a doctoral student at Andrews University (MI)
  • Scripture & Theology
    a communal weblog dedicated to the intersection of biblical interpretation and the articulation of church doctrine, by Daniel Driver, Phil Sumpter, and others
  • Scripture Zealot
    by Jeff Contrast
  • Serving the Word
    incisive comment on the Hebrew Bible and related ancient matters, with special attention to problems of philology and linguistic anthropology, by Seth L. Sanders, Assistant Professor in the Religion Department of Trinity College, Hartford, CT
  • Singing in the Reign
    NT blog by Michael Barber (JP University) and Brad Pitre (Our Lady Holy Cross)
  • Stay Curious
    excellent comment on Hebrew Bible and Hebrew language topics, by Karyn Traphagen, graduate, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia PA (archive)
  • Sufficiency
    A personal take on the faith delivered to the saints, by Bob MacDonald, whose parallel blog on the Psalms in Hebrew is a colorful and innovative experiment
  • The Sundry Times
    Gary Zimmerli's place, with comment on Bible translations and church renewal
  • Sunestauromai: living the crucified life
    by a scholar-pastor based in the Grand Canyon National Park
  • ta biblia
    blog dedicated to the New Testament and the history of Christian origins, by Giovanni Bazzana
  • Targuman
    by Christian Brady, targum specialist extraordinaire, and dean of Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
  • Targuman
    on biblical and rabbinic literature, Christian theology, gadgetry, photography, and the odd comic, by Christian Brady, associate professor of ancient Hebrew and Jewish literature and dean of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
  • The Biblia Hebraica Blog
    a blog about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the history of the Ancient Near East and the classical world, Syro-Palestinian archaeology, early Judaism, early Christianity, New Testament interpretation, English Bible translations, biblical theology, religion and culture, philosophy, science fiction, and anything else relevant to the study of the Bible, by Douglas Magnum, PhD candidate, University of the Free State, South Africa
  • The Forbidden Gospels Blog
    by April DeConick, Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University
  • The Naked Bible
    by Mike Heiser, academic editor at Logos Bible Software
  • The Reformed Reader
    by Andrew Compton, Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures (focus on Hebrew and Semitic Languages) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • The Sacred Page
    a blog written by three Catholic Ph.D.s who are professors of Scripture and Theology: Michael Barber, Brant Pitre and John Bergsma
  • The Talmud Blog
    a group blog on Talmud News, Reviews, Culture, Currents, and Criticism
  • Theological German
    a site for reading and discussing theological German, by Mark Alter
  • theoutwardquest
    seeking spirituality as an outward, not an inward quest, by David Corder
  • This Lamp
    Incisive comment on Bible translations in the archives, by Rick Mansfield
  • Thoughts on Antiquity
    By Chris Weimer and friends, posts of interest on ancient Greek and Roman topics (archive). Chris is a graduate student at the City University of New York in Classics
  • Threads from Henry's Web
    Wide-ranging comment by Henry Neufeld, educator, publisher, and author
  • Tête-à-Tête-Tête
    smart commentary by "smijer," a Unitarian-Universalist
  • Undeception
    A great blog by Mike Douglas, a graduate student in biblical studies
  • What I Learned From Aristotle
    the Judaica posts are informative (archive)
  • Bouncing into Graceland
    a delightful blog on biblical and theological themes, by Esteban Vázquez (archive)
  • Weblog
    by Justin Anthony Knapp, a fearless Wikipedian (archive)
  • Writing in the Dust
    A collection of quotes by Wesley Hill, a doctoral student in New Testament studies at Durham University (UK), and a Christian who seeks the charism of chastity
  • גֵּר־וְתוֹשָׁב
    by David Miller, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism, Briercrest College & Seminary, Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • ואל-תמכר
    Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, and understanding - a blog by Mitchell Powell, student of life at the intersection of Christ, Christianity, and Christendom
  • משלי אדם
    exploring wisdom literature, religion, and other academic pursuits, by Adam Couturier, M.A. in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible (graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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