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dzheremi
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« Reply #45 on: November 01, 2011, 01:09:47 AM »

Related to Nephi's recommendation, you can find in Arthur Jeffrey's "The Foreign Vocabulary of the Quran" (1938; reprinted 2009 by Gorgia's Press)...well, just like the title says: an in-depth study of the foreign vocabulary of the Qur'an. Even at that time, when western scholarship on Islam was not as constrained by political correctness, Jeffery notes that to do research as he has done in compiling the text is to fly in the face of Islamic orthodoxy, though not as it has always been (he highlights the many times when Islamic scholars were at a loss to explain the source of a word that is clearly Hebrew/Syriac/Ge'ez, and even some ones you might not expect like Norse, Slavonic, and Ossetian). This makes it a work of great historical relevance, and somehow unique in the canon of Western scholarship on Islam. The closest thing I've seen in this vein after Jeffrey would be perhaps Ferguson's 1959 work on diglossia in Arabic, as it openly disproved the claims of "pure Qur'anic Arabic" by documenting the influence of the local/national varieties of Arabic on the Qur'anic recitations recorded in various locations throughout the Islamic world.
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« Reply #46 on: November 01, 2011, 04:32:33 AM »

Related to Nephi's recommendation, you can find in Arthur Jeffrey's "The Foreign Vocabulary of the Quran" (1938; reprinted 2009 by Gorgia's Press)...well, just like the title says: an in-depth study of the foreign vocabulary of the Qur'an. Even at that time, when western scholarship on Islam was not as constrained by political correctness, Jeffery notes that to do research as he has done in compiling the text is to fly in the face of Islamic orthodoxy, though not as it has always been (he highlights the many times when Islamic scholars were at a loss to explain the source of a word that is clearly Hebrew/Syriac/Ge'ez, and even some ones you might not expect like Norse, Slavonic, and Ossetian). This makes it a work of great historical relevance, and somehow unique in the canon of Western scholarship on Islam. The closest thing I've seen in this vein after Jeffrey would be perhaps Ferguson's 1959 work on diglossia in Arabic, as it openly disproved the claims of "pure Qur'anic Arabic" by documenting the influence of the local/national varieties of Arabic on the Qur'anic recitations recorded in various locations throughout the Islamic world.

Very interesting, thank you, I'll have to check out those sources later.
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« Reply #47 on: November 01, 2011, 05:54:16 AM »

Have you tried searching articles @ www.answering-islam.org ?
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« Reply #48 on: November 01, 2011, 10:13:54 AM »

Have you tried searching articles @ www.answering-islam.org ?

I have, but I have not found quite what I am looking for there.
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« Reply #49 on: November 01, 2011, 10:40:51 AM »

What kind of information are you looking for? Apart from a few traditional teachings and some linguistic influence (through the Septuagint), Orthodoxy had no influence on Islam.
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« Reply #50 on: November 01, 2011, 11:20:17 AM »

Just some sources that show where Islam got certain things from the Orthodox Church, possibly Patristic or other notable sources.
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« Reply #51 on: November 01, 2011, 11:23:42 AM »

I hate to bump such an old thread, but does anybody have any more information on this subject? I am wanting to do a series on my blog that shows how Orthodoxy influenced Mohammed while he was inventing Islam. I would greatly appreciate any sources any one might have, as well as personal experiences from those who converted from Islam to Orthodoxy.

Well, I'm not sure it was Orthodoxy.  It's widely believed that it was Nestorian Christianity that influenced Mohammed.

Well I was thinking more along the lines of certain things - like the prostrations, praying x amount of times a day, chanting, and possibly architecture - more so than I was thinking theology.
There might be some gems here.
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« Reply #52 on: November 01, 2011, 11:40:35 AM »

I hate to bump such an old thread, but does anybody have any more information on this subject? I am wanting to do a series on my blog that shows how Orthodoxy influenced Mohammed while he was inventing Islam. I would greatly appreciate any sources any one might have, as well as personal experiences from those who converted from Islam to Orthodoxy.

Well, I'm not sure it was Orthodoxy.  It's widely believed that it was Nestorian Christianity that influenced Mohammed.

Well I was thinking more along the lines of certain things - like the prostrations, praying x amount of times a day, chanting, and possibly architecture - more so than I was thinking theology.
There might be some gems here.

That looks very interesting, and I can get it for my Kobo as well. I'll definitely check that out when my finances permit, thank you.
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« Reply #53 on: November 01, 2011, 12:54:53 PM »

I hate to bump such an old thread, but does anybody have any more information on this subject? I am wanting to do a series on my blog that shows how Orthodoxy influenced Mohammed while he was inventing Islam. I would greatly appreciate any sources any one might have, as well as personal experiences from those who converted from Islam to Orthodoxy.

Well, I'm not sure it was Orthodoxy.  It's widely believed that it was Nestorian Christianity that influenced Mohammed.

Well I was thinking more along the lines of certain things - like the prostrations, praying x amount of times a day, chanting, and possibly architecture - more so than I was thinking theology.
There might be some gems here.

The reader must keep in mind that Sufism is something of a minority of Muslims, whether it be Shia or Sunni.  It's perceived as "weak" and "irrationally peaceful."  If all Muslims were Sufi, there would be no problems in the Middle East.  But yes, Sufism specifically is a direct influence from Eastern Christianity.
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« Reply #54 on: November 01, 2011, 01:11:00 PM »

I hate to bump such an old thread, but does anybody have any more information on this subject? I am wanting to do a series on my blog that shows how Orthodoxy influenced Mohammed while he was inventing Islam. I would greatly appreciate any sources any one might have, as well as personal experiences from those who converted from Islam to Orthodoxy.

Well, I'm not sure it was Orthodoxy.  It's widely believed that it was Nestorian Christianity that influenced Mohammed.

Well I was thinking more along the lines of certain things - like the prostrations, praying x amount of times a day, chanting, and possibly architecture - more so than I was thinking theology.
There might be some gems here.

The reader must keep in mind that Sufism is something of a minority of Muslims, whether it be Shia or Sunni.  It's perceived as "weak" and "irrationally peaceful."  If all Muslims were Sufi, there would be no problems in the Middle East.  But yes, Sufism specifically is a direct influence from Eastern Christianity.

Good to know, I will keep that in mind when I read the book.
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« Reply #55 on: November 01, 2011, 01:28:54 PM »

The reader must keep in mind that Sufism is something of a minority of Muslims, whether it be Shia or Sunni.  It's perceived as "weak" and "irrationally peaceful."  If all Muslims were Sufi, there would be no problems in the Middle East.  But yes, Sufism specifically is a direct influence from Eastern Christianity.

I'm really not so sure about the highlighted sentence, Mina. As even mainstream U.S. media outlets recognize, Sufis have historically been very much involved in the violent expansion of Islam, and provide in their own way a defense and wellspring of Islamic violence even today (Sufi orders are big in places like Chechnya and Somalia, remember). They seem peaceful by comparison to their less mystically-oriented compatriots in Islam, but they are not by virtue of their Sufism less violent in practice.
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« Reply #56 on: November 01, 2011, 01:35:06 PM »

The reader must keep in mind that Sufism is something of a minority of Muslims, whether it be Shia or Sunni.  It's perceived as "weak" and "irrationally peaceful."  If all Muslims were Sufi, there would be no problems in the Middle East.  But yes, Sufism specifically is a direct influence from Eastern Christianity.

I'm really not so sure about the highlighted sentence, Mina. As even mainstream U.S. media outlets recognize, Sufis have historical been very much involved in the violent expansion of Islam, and provide in their own way a defense and wellspring of Islamic violence even today (Sufi orders are big in places like Chechnya and Somalia, remember). They seem peaceful by comparison to their less mystically-oriented compatriots in Islam, but they are not by virtue of their Sufism less violent in practice.

In my experience, Sufis have been one of those "love thy enemies" and "your religion is just as good as mine" type of Muslims.

My father's accountant I believe is a Sufi, who my father loves very much concerning his very peaceful demeanor.  People mistake him for a Copt.
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« Reply #57 on: November 01, 2011, 01:40:13 PM »

Yeah, that has been my experience, too. My point is that this seems more situational/circumstantial than some sort of fundamental attitude or approach of Sufism as a whole to other religions or the people who practice them.

Wasn't it the famous Sufi poet Rumi who wrote "I looked for God among the Christians, but did not find Him there"? That, rather than any nice words from your or my Sufi friends, is at the root of all understandings of other religions displayed by any approach to Islam, and in the "right" circumstances, this portends violence for all of us.
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« Reply #58 on: November 01, 2011, 02:00:51 PM »

Yeah, that has been my experience, too. My point is that this seems more situational/circumstantial than some sort of fundamental attitude or approach of Sufism as a whole to other religions or the people who practice them.

Wasn't it the famous Sufi poet Rumi who wrote "I looked for God among the Christians, but did not find Him there"? That, rather than any nice words from your or my Sufi friends, is at the root of all understandings of other religions displayed by any approach to Islam, and in the "right" circumstances, this portends violence for all of us.

Rumi was critiquing the idea that God is somehow exclusively "out there"; he wasn't picking on Christianity in particular -- he criticized aspects of Islamic practice as well. I think this is the full quote:

I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not.
I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there.
I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.
With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only 'anqa's habitation.
Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even.
Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina but found Him not within his range.
I fared then to the scene of the Prophet's experience of a great divine manifestation only a "two bow-lengths' distance from him" but God was not there even in that exalted court.
Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else.
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« Reply #59 on: November 01, 2011, 07:51:58 PM »

I am aware of that. The point is that Sufis, for all their usual niceness, reject God not any less than other Muslims, and would likewise condemn our God, the true God, not any less than the 'non-mystical' Muslims do. And this is what makes all of Islam, Sufi and non, a kind of minefield resistant to the more broad generalization that I originally objected to. The fact that Sufis have in a sense philosophized, made "mystical" or better said dematerialized their objections and blasphemies does not mean that there is in practice any great difference between them and the "average" Muslim who has also participated in violence to spread or further entrench Islam historically or in our time. So one spins in a circle and chants for a while before taking up the sword. Forgive me if I remain unimpressed by this supposedly benign "mysticism".

But please forgive me, OP and others, for dragging this thread away from its intended purpose. I will not post again on the above matters. To make this post at least somewhat relevant, I see that Amazon has recommended to me (after I did an earlier search for Jeffrey's book, mentioned in my previous post) a book called "Byzantine Christianity and Islam: Historical and Pastoral Reflections", edited by Jack Figel. I've never read it or heard of it, but perhaps it is worth looking into.
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« Reply #60 on: June 27, 2013, 11:43:56 PM »

I know that this is an old thread. However, I found Thomas' article on pages 5-11 of The Word to be very interesting, and would like to hear people's reactions:
There is an interesting article in this month's issue of "The Word" magazine on the Antiochian Orthodox Church website located at
www.antiochian.org/sites/antiochian.org/files/OCTOBER%20%202008%20WORD.pdf.pdf   It was presented to the annual clergy meeting at Ligoner Pa.
The introduction says:
Quote
This article will show that, for centuries, perhaps a millennium, during which Islam dominated the area, conflict between Jews, Christians and Muslims was the exception, not the norm. The norm was peace, harmony, coexistence and cooperation among those of the three religions.

Since Islam does not see Him as divine, it was new to me to read:
Quote
Islam... accepts [Jesus'] virgin birth and his miracles...
sayings about Jesus found in the Koran and the Muslim popular literature... refer to him as a Muslim prophet, the Spirit of God or theWord of God

Is it noteworthy that there "was a seventh-century canon law permitting Christian priests to administer last rites to Muslims"?

It was also interesting that some Caliphs had Christian government ministers, called "wazirs". Furthermore, the article dealt with issues of persecution of Christians, which he said depended on the ruler.
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« Reply #61 on: June 27, 2013, 11:53:04 PM »

Theophilos,

You brought up an interesting issue:
They view Christianity as something invented by the Apostles, so... they do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
Although Islam considers Jesus one of the Islamic messengers supposedly predicting the coming of Mohammad, it endorses the Christian tenets that Jesus was the only Messiah (with no definition of the word though!) and that Jesus' apostles became triumphant over Jesus' enemies.
The article Thomas cited above said that they do not accept Jesus' crucifixion or resurrection. One of the interesting results is that Islam doesn't seem to have a consistent teaching on the Old Testament Messianic passages about the Messiah being killed.

In researching those passages, I found a thoughtful Muslim author who proposed in-depth that Isaiah 53 was about Jesus' suffering, but that he parsed the prophecy's words to avoid taking it to mean the Messiah would die as a result of the suffering.

Yet another long, thoughtful article followed what is today a frequent rabbinical view that the Servant in that prophecy is the Israelite people.
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« Reply #62 on: June 28, 2013, 12:12:48 AM »

Quote
This article will show that, for centuries, perhaps a millennium, during which Islam dominated the area, conflict between Jews, Christians and Muslims was the exception, not the norm. The norm was peace, harmony, coexistence and cooperation among those of the three religions.

While I'm likely to concede that peace (defined as stability) was the norm, "harmony, coexistence and cooperation" were too?

Quote
Muhammad II installed a new Patriarch, Gennadius, and invested him with more authority than a patriarch had exercised under the Byzantines. The Patriarch and his Holy Synod settled doctrinal questions, disciplined members of the Church, managed church property and levied taxes on clergy and laity. Freedom of conscience and worship was guaranteed. The Patriarch exercised considerable civil authority over his community and was considered a government official with the rank of wazir. The sultan promised the Patriarch and 8 The Wordhis ecclesiastical hierarchy protection against fellow Christians, be they Roman Catholics or Serbian Orthodox rivals.

So he's saying the Ottomans were effectively best friends with the Patriarchate of Constantinople? What about all of the money they had to pay to the state for the position, and the fact that many were forced to abdicate - sometimes the same Patriarch forcibly abdicated multiple times, candidates vetted by the state, etc.? From the little I've seen, his description of the Orthodox Church under the Ottomans is "exaggerated" at best.

It seems like scholars and religious leaders out of Syria and other places of modern conflict want to have a peaceful history in order to ease tensions; "See - we used to be so peaceful! Can't it be like that again?"
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« Reply #63 on: June 28, 2013, 01:15:42 AM »

Gabriel,

It was surprising for me when you wrote that the Kaaba contains an icon:
The story goes that he sought refuge in Ethiopia where the Christian King took him in and helped him.  There Muhammad learned much about Christianity.  Later on, when he returned to Mecca victorious, he smashed all the idols in the Ka'baa except one- an icon of the Theotokos holding the Christ-child.  It's reported to still be there.
I am curious where you heard it reported that the icon of the Theotokos was still there?

The Answering Islam website mentions opposing answers by earlier and later traditions about whether the icons were destroyed along with the idols:
Quote
"Apart from the icon of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus, and a painting of an old man, said to be Abraham, the walls inside [Kaaba] had been covered with pictures of pagan deities. Placing his hand protectively over the icon, the Prophet told `Uthman to see that all other paintings, except that of Abraham, were effaced." (Martin Lings, "Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources",  ref: al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi 834, and Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah)

"On the day of the conquest of Mecca the Prophet entered the House (= the Kaaba) and sent al-Fadl ibn al-Abbas ibn Abdalmuttalib to get water from the well of Zemzem. He ordered to bring pieces of cloth and to imbue them with water and then he commanded to wash off these pictures, as it was done. He stretched his arms, however, over the picture of Jesus, the son of Mary, and of his mother and said: 'Wash off all except what is under my hands!' But eventually he took away his hands away from Jesus, the son of Mary, and his mother." (al-Azraqi)
http://www.answering-islam.org/Index/K/kabah.html

My guess is that he didn't destroy the icons, considering that especially in such an early period of Islam there was alot of respect for Christianity, while his main target was paganism. Further, the destruction of the pagan idols would have been an act that would find sympathy among Christians.

Currently it appears that there are no such icons in the Kaaba, although it looks like there is a golden cross design on a white cube, which I am curious about:


It's at 0:24-27 in the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVfXXn0eTJ0
If you watch it, you will also notice lamps suspended from the ceiling like we see in Byzantine-era churches in the Holy Land.

Peace.
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« Reply #64 on: June 28, 2013, 01:28:55 AM »

Quote
Muhammad II installed a new Patriarch, Gennadius, and invested him with more authority than a patriarch had exercised under the Byzantines. The Patriarch and his Holy Synod settled doctrinal questions, disciplined members of the Church, managed church property and levied taxes on clergy and laity. Freedom of conscience and worship was guaranteed. The Patriarch exercised considerable civil authority over his community and was considered a government official with the rank of wazir. The sultan promised the Patriarch and 8 The Wordhis ecclesiastical hierarchy protection against fellow Christians, be they Roman Catholics or Serbian Orthodox rivals.

So he's saying the Ottomans were effectively best friends with the Patriarchate of Constantinople? What about all of the money they had to pay to the state for the position, and the fact that many were forced to abdicate - sometimes the same Patriarch forcibly abdicated multiple times, candidates vetted by the state, etc.? From the little I've seen, his description of the Orthodox Church under the Ottomans is "exaggerated" at best.

It seems like scholars and religious leaders out of Syria and other places of modern conflict want to have a peaceful history in order to ease tensions; "See - we used to be so peaceful! Can't it be like that again?"
Nephi,

His following page discusses persecution.

I had a somewhat similar reaction when I read the article, and you are making a good point. Something could also be said about the intense political pressure that the Ottomans placed on the Patriarch. I believe that there was a tolerant side and an intolerant side. It's important to appreciate both, and he brought out some remarkable points nonetheless. Obviously, if it had been all peachy, the nationalist revolutionaries would not have been so strong. On the other hand, if it was fully intolerant, it might have incurred even greater resistance, rather than the surrender of whole regions.
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« Reply #65 on: June 28, 2013, 01:41:41 AM »

Gabriel,

It was surprising for me when you wrote that the Kaaba contains an icon:
The story goes that he sought refuge in Ethiopia where the Christian King took him in and helped him.  There Muhammad learned much about Christianity.  Later on, when he returned to Mecca victorious, he smashed all the idols in the Ka'baa except one- an icon of the Theotokos holding the Christ-child.  It's reported to still be there.
I am curious where you heard it reported that the icon of the Theotokos was still there?

The Answering Islam website mentions opposing answers by earlier and later traditions about whether the icons were destroyed along with the idols:
Quote
"Apart from the icon of the Virgin Mary and the child Jesus, and a painting of an old man, said to be Abraham, the walls inside [Kaaba] had been covered with pictures of pagan deities. Placing his hand protectively over the icon, the Prophet told `Uthman to see that all other paintings, except that of Abraham, were effaced." (Martin Lings, "Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources",  ref: al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi 834, and Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah)

"On the day of the conquest of Mecca the Prophet entered the House (= the Kaaba) and sent al-Fadl ibn al-Abbas ibn Abdalmuttalib to get water from the well of Zemzem. He ordered to bring pieces of cloth and to imbue them with water and then he commanded to wash off these pictures, as it was done. He stretched his arms, however, over the picture of Jesus, the son of Mary, and of his mother and said: 'Wash off all except what is under my hands!' But eventually he took away his hands away from Jesus, the son of Mary, and his mother." (al-Azraqi)
http://www.answering-islam.org/Index/K/kabah.html

My guess is that he didn't destroy the icons, considering that especially in such an early period of Islam there was alot of respect for Christianity, while his main target was paganism. Further, the destruction of the pagan idols would have been an act that would find sympathy among Christians.

Currently it appears that there are no such icons in the Kaaba, although it looks like there is a golden cross design on a white cube, which I am curious about:


It's at 0:24-27 in the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVfXXn0eTJ0
If you watch it, you will also notice lamps suspended from the ceiling like we see in Byzantine-era churches in the Holy Land.

Peace.

From Archimandrite Daniel of Indonesia's discussion with "Road to Emmaus":
http://www.roadtoemmaus.net/back_issue_articles/RTE_11/The_Kaaba_and_Jacobs_Pillow.pdf

"RTE:Is the Kaaba solid or hollow inside?
FR. DANIEL: Hollow, it is like a house. There is a door through which you can
enter. Any pilgrim can go in if he is allowed to by the authorities. There is
nothing inside, it is empty. In the 17th century, interestingly, there were
reports that there were some icons inside, and I recently heard a secondhand report that the icons are still there.
RTE: Icons! Why are there icons in the holiest structure in Islam? Islam is
iconoclastic.
FR. DANIEL: Before the rise of Islam, the pagan Arabs had a great yearly
bazaar, called the “Bazaar of Al-Ukaz.” People from all over Arabia and nearby countries would come to celebrate around the Kaaba. They did this to
honor the gods of the Kaaba, because the Kaaba housed many idols, the foremost of which was the god Hubal. (Also famous among them were the socalled “daughters” of Allah, namely: Al-Lat, Al-Mannat, Al-Uzza, although
Muhammad denied vigorously that Allah had any daughter or son.)
This celebration in Mecca drew not only pagans, but also middle-eastern
Christian monks, bishops and evangelists. One of the greatest events was
the famous Arabic “poetry” competition, and many of these Christians composed Christian poems to compete with the pagans. They also used this
occasion to preach the Gospel to the Arabs. In their competitions with the
pagans, who had statues of idols, the Christians displayed icons of the Lord
and the Mother of God, hoping that the pagans would become interested in
Christianity. These were all in the Kaaba.
When Muhammad conquered Mecca without bloodshed, he commanded
that all the idols be destroyed and the Kaaba dedicated to “Allah” alone.
During the rampage of destruction, Muhammad saw his troops about to
smash the icons, but he stopped them, putting himself between the
upraised arms of his followers and the icons. He forbade their destruction,
saying that these two icons must not be destroyed because they are pictures
of God’s prophet and his mother. So they were saved from destruction. As I
said, there are reports that the icons are still there in the Kaaba, but I have
never seen them personally. This is as much as I know."
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Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy Upon Me a Sinner!
Tags: Islam 
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