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true cause of all action. Manasseh and Belchira
are only agents of Beliar and Sammael and Satan.
Nero Redivivus is only an embodiment of Beliar
(4 2 ). Angels, authorities, and powers rule in this
world under Beliar their prince (I 3 ; cf. Eph I 21 3 10
6 12 , Col l' 2">- 1*, 1 P 3 22 ). The angel of the Chris-
tian Church (cf. Rev 2 1 - 12 etc. ) descends from
heaven after our Lord's passion. The Holy Spirit
and the angel of the Holy Spirit (see under
' Trinity') are identical, except perhaps in 3 16 and
II 4 . There is an angel of death (9 16 10 14 ), and an
angel of Sheol (II 19 ). Each heaven has its angels,
with the superior ones to the right of the throne.
The sun and the moon also have each an angel (cf.
Rev 19 17 ). The judgment of the angels is referred
to in 1 s 4 18 10 1 '-.

(/) The Seven Heavens. The conception of the
seven heavens which we find e.g. in the Testaments
of the Twelve Patriarchs and in Slavonic Enoch is
not to be found in the Asc. Is. Evil is found only
in the firmament and the air ; it is entirely absent
from all the heavens. Nor is there any reference
to natural phenomena or heavenly bodies in them.
Each heaven is merely a duplicate of the one abovej
with no distinction, except of glory, until the
sixth and seventh are reached (8 1 - 7 ). The sixth is
not under any subordinate angel or 'throne,' but
is ruled by the Great Glory i n the seventh. There
is an angel over the praise-giving of the sixth
heaven, however, who challenges Isaiah when pro-
ceeding to the seventh (9 1 - 4 ). In the seventh are
the Patriarchs, the righteous, the crowns and
thrones and garments of the righteous, the Great
Glory, the Beloved, and the angel of the Holy

(g) The Christian Church and its circumstances.

The angel of the Christian Church which is in the
heavens will be summoned by God in the last days
(3 15 ). The Church is the plant planted by the
Twelve Apostles (4 s ). It consists of those who are
' associated together to receive the Beloved ' at His
Second Coming (4 s ). A great persecution is re-
garded as imminent, in which the few faithful
remaining will ' flee from desert to desert, awaiting
the coming of the Beloved.' For the expectation
of the Coming, cf. 1 Th I 10 , 1 Co I 7 , Ph 3* u , He 9 W .
The Neronic Antichrist is regarded as destroying
one of the Twelve Apostles (4 3 ), and deceiving
many of the faithful (4 9 ). In 3 21 " 31 we have a con-
temporary picture of the Christian Church regarded
as guilty of serious declension from its high calling
Church organization is not yet developed. We
have mention of pastors and elders (S 24 - w ). There
is a general disbelief in the Second Coming and in
prophecy generally (3 28 - 31 ), but prophecy is still
existent, though there are 'not many prophets
save one here and there in divers places.' The
'faith' (3 21 ) is spoken of objectively, as in the
Pastoral Epistles (e.g. 1 Ti l i9 ). Faith, love, and
purity are the distinctive Christian virtues (as in

1 Ti 4 12 ). There are lawless elders (S 24 ), and much
hatred exists among the Church leaders (3*).
Covetousness and slander are common vices (cf

2 Ti 3 1 - 2 ). The 'spirit of error' (3 a8 ) is at work
amonjj Christians (cf. 1 Jn 4 6 , 1 Ti 4 1 ). Caesar-
worship is already a difficulty (4 7 ' 11 ).

(h) Apocryphal work. The only reference to
another apocryphon occurs in 4 22 , where the book
' Words of Joseph the Just ' is probably to be
identified with the Hpoo-e^ TOV 'Iwfi<t> (Fabricius
Cod. Pseud. V.T. i. 761-769 ; see HDB ii. 778).

3. The text. (a) In its complete form the
Asc, Is. is found only in the Ethiopic Version, and
even this needs to be corrected and at times supple-
mented by other authorities. Of this Version
there are three MSS, one at the Bodleian, and two
inferior ones in the British Museum.

(b) There are two Latin Versions. (i.) The fuller
of the two was printed at Venice in 1522 from a

VIS now unknown, and reprinted by Gieseler in
1832. (ii.) The other version occurs in two frag-
ments discovered by Mai in 1828 in the Codex
Rescnptus of the Acts of Chalcedon, Vat. 5750 of
*he 5th or 6th century.

(c) The Greek Versions are likewise twofold : (i.)
a lost Greek text on which the Greek Legend was
based; (ii.) the Greek text from which the Slav-
onic and the fuller Latin Versions were derived.
Of this text 2 4 -4 4 have been recovered in the
Amherst Papyri by Grenfell and Hunt.

The Greek Legend was found by O. von Gebhardt
n a Greek MS of the 12th cent. (no. 1534, Biblio-
-heque Nationale, Paris). This work is really a
ection for Church use, and so takes liberties in
he way of rearranging and abbreviating the text,
"he Martyrdom is brought to the end, and other
etails are added. It is, however, very valuable
or correcting and restoring the text.

(d) The Slavonic Version is extant in a MS in
he Library of the Uspenschen Cathedral in

Moscow. It belongs to c. A.D. 1200.

In all these authorities two recensions may be
raced. The Greek Papyri, the Ethiopic, the
lavonic, and the fuller Latin Version follow the
econd recension of the Greek ; the Greek Legend
nd the Latin fragments support the first Greek
ecension. Charles in his edition of the Asc. Is.

900) has produced a critical text founded on all
hese authorities. To this work the present writer
rould express his deep indebtedness.

o Isaice Vati, Oxford, 1819, pp. 141-180 ; K. I. Nitzsch SK
830 pp. 209-240 ; G. C. F. Luck*, Einlett. in die Offenbdrunc,
s Johannes*, Bonn, 1852, pp. 274-302; A. Dillmann, Ascensio




Isaice, Leipzig, 1877, pp. v-xviii ; G. T. Stokes, art. ' Isaiah,
Ascension of/ in DOB iii. [1882] 298-301 ; W. J. Deane,
Pseudepigrapha, Edinburgh, 1891, pp. 236-275 ; A. Harnack,
Geseh. der altchristl. Litteratur, Leipzig, 1893 ff., i. 854-856, ii.
573-579, 714; C. Clemen, Die Himmelfahrt des Jesaja,' Z WT,
1896, pp. 388-415, also 1897, pp. 455-465 ; J. A. Robinson, art.
' Isaiah, Ascension of,' in H DB, ii. 499-501 ; G. Kautzsch's
Apok. und Pseudepig., Tubingen, 1900, ii. 119-123; R. H.
Charles, Ascension of Isaiah, translated from the Ethiopia
Version, which, together with the New Greek Fragment, the Latin
Versions, and the Latin Translation of the Slavonic, is here pub-
lished in full, London, 1900, also Apocrypha and Pseudepi-
grapha, Oxford, 1913, ii. 155-158 ; E. Littmann, JE vi. [1904]
642 f.

II. EDITIONS. (a) Ethiopia Version. R. Laurence, A.
Dill maim, and R. H. Charles, opp. cit. supra, (b) Latin
Versions. {i.) J. K. L. Gieseler, in a Oottingen programme,
1832; (ii.) A. Mai, Scriptorum veterum nova collectio, Rome,
1825-38, iii. 238 f. ; both are given in the editions of Dillmaun
and Charles as above, (c) Greek Versions. (i.) The Greek
Legend a free recension : O. v. Gebhardt, in Hilgenfeld's
ZWT, 1878, p. 330 ff.; R. H. Charles, Asc. of Isaiah, pp.
xviii-rxxiii, 141-148; (ii.) Papyrus fragment: Grenfell and
Hunt, Ascension of Isaiah, London, 1901 ; R. H. Charles,
Asc. of Isaiah, pp. xxviii-xxxi, 84-05. (d) Slavonic Version,
R. H. Charles, Asc. of Isaiah, pp. xxiv-xxvii, 98-139.




ASIA ('Aala). Asia had a great variety of mean-
ings in ancient writers. It might denote (1) the
western coast-land of Asia Minor ; (2) the kingdom
of Troy (poetical) ; (3) the kingdom of the early
Seleucids, i.e. Asia Minor and Syria (frequent in 1
and 2 Mac.) ; (4) the kingdom of Pergamum (Livy) ;
(5) the Roman province Asia ; (6) the Asiatic conti-
nent (Pliny). In Strabo's time the beginning of
the 1st cent. A.D. the province was i) Idlus Ka\ovfdi>i)
'Ao-la (Geog. p. 118), and in the NT (where the
name is found 22 times 15 times in Acts, 4 times
in the Pauline Epistles, once in 1 Peter, twice in
Rev.) Asia almost invariably denotes proconsular
Asia. St. Paul the Roman citizen naturally as-
sumed the Imperial standpoint, and made use of
Roman political designations, while the Hellenic
Luke, though he frequently employed geograph-
ical terms in their popular non-Roman sense, was
probably to some extent influenced by St. Paul's
practice of using the technical phraseology of the

The province of Asia was founded after the death
of Attains ill. of Pergamum (133 B.C.), who be-
queathed his kingdom by will to the Roman Re-
public. The province was much smaller than the
kingdom had been, until, on the death of Mithri-
dates (120 B.C.), Phrygia Major was added to it.
Cicero indicates its extent in the words : ' Namque,
ut opinor, Asia vestra constat ex Phrygia, Caria,
Mysia, Lydia' (Flac. 27); but the Troad and the
islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Patmos, and Cos
should be added. Pergamum, so long a royal city,
naturally became the capital of the province, and
officially retained this position till the beginning
of the 2nd cent. A.D. ; but long before that time
Ephesus (q.v.) was recognized as the real adminis-
trative centre. When the provinces were arranged
by Augustus in 27 B.C., Asia was given to the
Senate ; it was therefore governed by proconsuls
(dvdviraToi, Ac 19 38 ). Its beauty, wealth, and culture
made it the most desirable of all provinces.

The only passage in which St. Luke certainly
uses 'Asia' in the popular Greek sense is Ac 2 9 ,
where he names Asia and Phrygia together as
distinct countries, whereas in Roman provincial
language the greater part of Phrygia belonged to
Asia. In such an expression as ' the places on the
coast of Asia ' (Ac 27 2 ) the sense is doubtful ; but
it is probable that, where the historian refers to
Jews of Asia (Ac 6 9 21 27 24 18 ), to all the dwellers
in Asia'(19 10 ; cf. ig 3 "-), and to St. Paul's sojourn

in Asia (19 32 20 16- 18 ), he has the province in view.
St. Paul almost certainly uses the word in its
Roman sense when he speaks of ' the firstfruits of
Asia ' (Ro 16 s RV), the churches of Asia (1 Co 16 19 ),
afflictions in Asia (2 Co I 8 ), apostates in Asia (2 Ti
I 18 ).

Though the Roman meaning of Asia is generally
assumed by adherents of the S. Galatian theory, it is
not incompatible with the other view. Thus Light-
foot, an advocate of the N. Galatian theory, holds
that, while St. Luke usually gives geographical
terms their popular significance, ' the case of Asia
is an exception. The foundation of this province
dating very far back, its official name had to a
great extent superseded the local designations of
the districts which it comprised. Hence Asia in
the NT is always Proconsular Asia' (Gal. 6 , 1876,
p. 19, n. 6). Only those who find ' the Phrygian
and Galatic region ' (Ac 16 6 ) in the north of Pisidian
Antioch are obliged (like Conybeare-Howson, i. 324)
to assume that Asia ' is simply viewed as the west-
ern portion of Asia Minor, for the Paroreios be-
longed to proconsular Asia, in which preaching
was expressly forbidden (Ac 16 6 ). See PHRYGIA

1 P I 1 is a clear instance of the use of geograph-
ical terms in the Roman administrative sense.
The four provinces named Bithynia and Pontus,
though here separated, being really one sum up
the whole of Asia Minor north of Taurus. The
Seven Churches of Revelation were all in pro-
consular Asia (Rev 1 4 - U ), and it is possible that
the so-called ' Epistle to the Ephesians ' was an
encycla to a group of churches in that province.

For the ' Asiarchs ' (RVm) of Ac 19 81 , see following

LTTBRATURB. F. J. A. Hort, The First Epistle of St. Peter,
London, 1898, p. 157 f. ; A. C. McGiffert, Apostolic Age, Edin-
burgh, 1897, p. 273 f.; W. M. Ramsay, Church in Roman
Empire, London, 1893, and St. Paul the Traveller and the
Roman Citizen, do. 1895, passim. JAMES STRAHAN.

AST ARCH. In Ac 19 31 RVm reads 'Asiarchs'
for RV ' chief officers of Asia ' and A V ' chief of
Asia.' The word is a transliteration of the Gr.
'Ao-idpx-qs, derived from 'A<rla, ' province of Asia,'
and apxeiv, ' to rule,' and belongs to a class of
names, of which "BiOwidpx^, TaXardpxn^, KeMrjra3o/c-
dpx 7 ? 5 ! AvKidpxns, llovTapxys, 2upidpx'?s are other
examples. The titles are peculiar to Eastern,
Greek-speaking, Roman provinces. As the real
rulers of these provinces were the Roman Emperor
and the Roman Senate, with their elected repre-
sentatives, it is clear that such titles must have
been honorary and complimentary. With regard
to the duties and privileges attached to the dig-
nities thus indicated there has been much discus-
sion. The titles occur rarely in literature, much
more often in inscriptions ; and the lessons we
learn from inscriptions are in direct proportion to
their number. Several scholars of repute have
held the view that the term 'Ao-idpx 1 ?* is equivalent
to dpxtepcbs 'A<rias ('high priest of Asia'), the pre-
sident of the Diet of Asia (KOIVOV rrjs 'Afffas, com-
mune Asioe). This Diet of Asia was a body
composed of a number of representatives, one or
more of whom were elected by each of a number
of cities in the province. The principal duty of the
president of this body was to supervise the worship
of Rome and the Emperor throughout the province
(see under art. EMPEROR - WORSHIP). Certain
considerations, however, militate against the view
that the terms ' Asiarch ' and ' high priest of Asia '
are interchangeable. The word A<ridpxi}s is never
feminine, whereas the title ' high priestess of Asia'
is often applied to the wife of the high priest.
There was only one dpxiepei>s'Ao~lat (without further
designation) at a time, whereas there were a




number of Asiarchs. Another (civil) office could
be held concurrently with the Asiarchate, but not
with the chief priesthood of Asia. Further, the
title ' Asiarch ' was held only during a man's
period of office (probably one year*), but he was
eligible for re-election. The origin of the view
that ' Asiarch ' and ' high priest of Asia ' are two
convertible terms is to be found in the Martyrdom
of Poly carp (A.D. 155), where two separate persons
named Philippos have been confused : (1) Philip of
Smyrna, Asiarch, who superintended the games ;
(2) Philip of Tralles, who was high priest of Asia
(the latter had been an Asiarch a year or two be-
fore). It is clear, therefore, that the honorary
position of Asiarch was inferior to the office of
high priest of Asia. Yet there was a connexion
between the two. The high priest presided over
the games, etc. , but the Asiarchs did the work and
probably paid the cost. Their election by their
fellow-citizens to this honorary position was re-
warded by games and gladiatorial shows. Both
the Asiarchs and the high priest disappear after
the early part of the 4th cent., for the obvious
reason that, as the Empire was henceforth offici-
ally Christian, the machinery for Emperor-worship
had become obsolete.

When we come to study the connexion of the
Asiarchs with the Acts narrative, we are puzzled.
It seems at first sight so strange that men elected
to foster the worship of Rome and the Emperor
should be found favouring the ambassador of the
Messiah, the Emperor's rival for the lordship of
the Empire. This is only one, however, of a
number of indications that the Empire was at first
disposed to look with a kindly eye on the new
religion. Christianity, with its outward respect
for civil authority, seemed at first the strongest
supporter of law and order. Artemis- worship,
moreover, bulked so largely in Ephesus as perhaps
to dwarf the Imperial worship. Thus St. Paul,
whose preaching so threatened the authority of
Artemis, may have appeared in a favourable light
to the representatives of Caesar-worship, as likely
to create more enthusiasm in that direction.

See also artt. DIANA and EPHESUS.

LITERATURE. C. G. Brandis, s.vo. ' Asiarches,' ' Bithyni-
arches,' ' Galatarches,' in Pauly-Wissowa, Stuttgart, 1894 ff . ;
J. B. Lightfoot, Appendix, ' The Asiarchate ' in his Apostolic
Fathers, pt. ii. vol. iii., London, 1889, p. 404 ff. ; W. M. Ram-
say in Classical Review, iii. [1889] 174, and St. Paul the
Traveller and the Roman Citizen, London, 1895, p. 280 f .


ASP (cb-irfs). The Greek word occurs in the
classical writings of Herodotus (iv. 191) and
Aristotle (de Anim. Hist. iv. 7. 14), and generally
represents the Heb. jri? (pethen) in the LXX (pethen
is translated ' asp ' in Dt 32 s3 , Job 20 14 - 16 , and Is II 8 ,
but ' adder' in Ps 58 4 91 13 ). In the NT the ' asp'
is mentioned only once (Ro 3 18 : 'The poison of
asps [tos dffvlduv] is under their lips'). Here it is
introduced in a quotation from Ps 140 s (139 4 ), where
the Heb. word used is aiega (a &ira Xe-y. and prob-
ably corrupt, perhaps read e^y, 'spider'), but
the LXX word is eunrfs, as in Romans. The
general meaning of the passage is obvious (cf.
Ja 3 s : ' The tongue can no man tame a restless
evil full of deadly poison'), and the position of
the poison-bag of the serpent is correctly described.

The serpent referred to is without doubt the
Naja haje, or small hooded Egyptian cobra,
which, though not found in the cultivated parts
of Palestine, is well known in the downs and
plains S. of Beersheba (cf. Tristram, Natural
History of the Bible, p. 270), and frequents old
walls and holes in the rocks (cf. Is II 8 : 'And the
sucking-child shall play on the hole of the asp').
It does not belong to the viper tribe (Vipendce)
but to the Colubridce, which includes the ordinary
* But see Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, pt. ii. voL iii. p. 412 ff.

British grass-snake. The chief peculiarities of
cobras are : (a) a clearly defined neck, which they
can dilate at will, and (b) the equality in size of
the scales on the back with those on the other
parts of the body. There are about ten different
species, of which the Naja haje, or Egyptian asp,
and the Naja tripudians, or Indian cobra, are the
best known. The latter is the species upon which
Indian snake-charmers usually practise their skill,
while the Naja haje is used for this purpose in

LITERATURE. H. B. Tristram, Natural History of the
Bibleio, London, 1911, p. 270 f. ; SWP viL 146; R. Lydekker
in The Concise Knowledge Natural History, 1897, p. 424 ; Bae-
deker's Palestine and Syria?, 1912, p. Ivi ; W. Aldis Wright,
The Bible Word-Bool^, 1884, p. 50, for the use of the word ;
cf. also Sanday-Headlam, Romans?, 1902, p. 79 ; Driver,
Deuteronomjft, 1896, p. 372 ; HDB, vol. iv. p. 459 ; EBi, voL iv.
col. 4394 ; Murray's DB, p. 67; SDB, p. 837.


ASSASSINS (or, more properly, Sicarii [cf. Ac
21 38 ], 'dagger-men'). The name given, according
to Josephus, to a body of radicals in the Jewish
Messianic agitation which culminated in the out-
break of A.D. 66. The name was derived from the
short daggers worn by the members of the body
(sica, a short, curved, possibly Persian sword),
which they kept concealed in their clothing and
used to stao people among the crowds. The Sicarii
seem to have appeared first during the procurator-
ship of Felix, although Josephus in BJ VH. viii. 1
might be interpreted as ascribing their origin to
a somewhat earlier period. He has a number of
references to these men, whom he describes as
follows (BJ U. xiii. 3) :

' There sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem who
were called Sicarii, who slew men in the daytime in the midst
of the city, especially at the festivals, when they mixed with
the multitude, and concealed little daggers under their gar-
ments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies ;
and when any fell down dead, the murderers joined the by-
standers in expressing their indignation, so that from their
plausibility they could by no means be discovered. The first
man who was slain by them was Jonathan the high priest, after
whom many were slain every day, and the fear men were in of
being so treated was more harassing than the calamity itself,
everybody expecting death every hour, as men do in war. So
men kept a look-out for their enemies at a great distance, and
even if their friends were coming, they durst not trust them
any longer, but were slain in the midst of their suspicions and
precautions. Such was the celerity of the plotters, and so
cunning was their contrivance against detection.' See also BJ

VII. X. 1.

It is difficult to say whether these Sicarii at
first constituted an organized body, although such
a view would seem to be implied by Josephus (BJ
VII. viii. 1). They joined the Zealots (ib. ii. xvii.
7), and inaugurated the reign of terror which filled
Jerusalem after the outbreak of the Revolution.
Subsequently they seized the great fortress of
Masada (ib. IV. vii. 2), and there maintained them-
selves by plundering the neighbouring country,
until they were besieged by the Romans under
Flavius Silca. Their commander was one Eleazar
(ib. vii. viii. 1), whom Josephus describes as an
able man and a descendant of that Judas who had
led the revolt against the census under Quirinius.
After a considerable siege the Romans were on
the point of taking the fortress when the Sicarii
massacred themselves, one old woman alone

In Ac 21 88 they have 'the Egyptian* as a leader.
Josephus mentions this Egyptian as having ap-
peared during the procnratorship of Felix, but
does not connect the Sicarii with him (Ant. XX.
viii. 6 ; BJ II. xiii. 5). The Sicarii seem to have
dispersed after the Roman war and to have dis-
appeared from history, the references to Sicarii
in the Mishna (Bikkur. i. 2, ii. 3 ; Gittin v.
6 ; Machsh. L 6) probably being to robbers In




LITBRATURB. See E. Schiirer, GJV* i. [Leipzig, 1901] p. 674,
n. 31 (HJP L il. 178), where further references will be found.


ASSEMBLY. In the Acts and Epistles (AV
and RV) the English word 'assembly' occurs as
follows, but in each instance a different Greek
noun is translated by it.

1. In Ac 19 32 - 89 - 41 'assembly' (^KX-qyla) stands
for the tumultuary mob gathered by Demetrius
and his fellow-gildsmen in Ephesus to protest
against the teaching of St. Paul, which was
destroying the business of the shrine-makers.
Though 4KK\i)<rla strictly denotes an assembly of
the citizens summoned by the crier (Krjpv^), this
was a mere mob, with all a mob's unreasonable-
ness : ' Some cried one thing, and some another,
for the assembly was confused, and the more part
knew not wherefore they were come together.'
So runs St. Luke's 'logical, complete, and photo-
graphic ' narrative. (For a similar description of
a Roman gathering, cf. Virgil, &n. i. 149 : ' Saevit-
que animis ignobile vulgus. ) In Ephesus the man
revered for his piety and worth was the Secretary
of the City (ypay,/J.refo [see TOWN CLERK]), who
calls the gathering a riot (ordo-is), and a concourse
(ffv<TTpo(f>Ji). If Demetrius and his gildsmen had
just ground of complaint, they should have carried
their case before the proper court, over which the
proconsul presided, for the present gathering was
outside the law, and had ' no power to transact
business.' He, therefore, referred them to the
lawful (AV) or regular (RV) assembly (17 Iwojttos
fKKXijffia), which is ' the people duly assembled in
the exercise of its powers ' (Ramsay). The Re-
visers' change of ' lawful ' into ' regular ' is perhaps
hypercritical ; for in practice, under the Roman
rule, the distinction is not appreciable.

2. Ac 23 7 : ' The assembly [RV ; AV the multi-
tude] was divided ' (^xf<r0i? rt> irX??0os). The refer-
ence is to the council (Trav rt> ffvvtdpiov, 22 30 )
summoned by Lysias the tribune of the Roman
garrison in the tower of Antonia, consequent upon
the tumult in the Temple, and St. Paul's arrest.
We are not to understand a regular sitting of the
Sanhedrin, but an informal meeting for what is
known in Scots Law as a precognition ( ' a meeting
of the councillors, aiding the Tribune to ascertain
the facts ' [Ramsay]). As Lysias called the meet-
ing, he probably presided and conducted the busi-
ness. This would account for St. Paul's ignorance
of the fact that Ananias was the high priest, and
explains his apology. As to the charge made
against him, the Apostle conducted his defence
in a way that won for himself the sympathy of
the Pharisees. It is a needless refinement to find
here difficulties of an ethical kind. ' Luke saw
nothing wrong or unworthy in this, and he was
best able to judge. Paul was winning over the
Pharisees not merely to himself but to the
Christian cause. Paul states the same view more
fully in 26 6 ' 8 where there is no question of a clever

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