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eight bits

Did Paul report meeting Jesus' brother?

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Doug1o29
Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, eight bits said:

Right. I wrote in some thread recently that that is a well-observed "Markan" touch, to leave open the possibility of a naturalistic explanation of the purported miracle. However, I think Secret Mark is a forgery.

There are bits and pieces that seem to pre-date Mark.  That's how "Secret Mark" got started.  It's possible that Mark was the first book written.

Papias (c. 120 AD) speaks of a narrative by Mark and a collection of sayings by Jesus, but except for him, no writer before the mid-second century speaks of the gospels or their reputed authors.  Papias says he heard JOHN THE PRESBYTER speak.  He specifically says it was not JOHN THE APOSTLE.  Papias lamented that there was no biographical information on Jesus' life.  He used the phrase "In my father's house there are many mansions..." (John 14:2) and he used brief paraphrases that could be from Matthew and quotes First Corinthians.  BUT:  Papias died in 155.  These writings could have come from near the end of his life, he may even be quoting Marcion.

Aristides wrote a treatise on Christianity.  The probable date is 125 during Hadrian's visit to Athens.  He mentions the twelve apostles and the crucifixion, but does not quote from the gospels.  How do you do that in a treatise defending Christianity?

Marcion wrote a Bible, apparently an edited version of Luke about 140.  Or was Luke copied from Marcion?

Justin the Martyr (150 AD) wrote a treatise on the rich man getting into heaven and a description of the Last Supper.  He paraphrases, rather than quotes, but the paraphrasing is so close to the gospels that it's hard to believe he didn't have a copy in front of him.

Iraeneus of Lyons (170 AD) mentions the gospels by name and said they contained biographical information on Jesus.  This was in his third book.  He mentioned a Matthew in the first one, but didn't give enough information to identify him.

Not one of the four gospels is mentioned in any other book of the New Testament.

To the year 325, nearly all writings mentioning the gospels and the gospels themselves, are lost or destroyed, apparently at the direction of the Council of Nicea (or maybe Constantine?).  The Bible was retouched under orders from Emperor Anastasius in 506 AD.  Obviously, the church fathers did not consider the Bible sacred.  In the 11th and 12th centuries there were some additional "corrections."  Then add in copying and translation mistakes, deliberate mutilation and obfuscation.

The gospels ALL appear to have been written originally in Greek.  Peter "Petros" is mentioned nearly a hundred times and every one of those is in Greek, even when it is supposedly a Jew speaking.  Rhetorical devices in the gospels, including Matthew, are Greek.  It is highly unlikely that a Galilean fisherman could have written cultivated Greek.

The author of Luke admits that there were many versions of "the narrative" in circulation at the time Luke was written.

The Pauline letters do not discuss a historical background for Jesus, even though Paul supposedly lived at the same time in the same city.  Paul does not refer to Pilate or the Romans, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, Herod or Judas, holy women, or any person in the gospel account of the Passion.  Paul never quotes from Jesus' purported sermons or speeches, parables or prayers, nor does he mention Jesus' supernatural birth or any wonders or miracles.  The Lord's Prayer is clearly evident in the gospels, but Paul says he does not know how to pray.  Even though Paul speaks of "the gospel," it appears he never heard of the canonical gospels.  It appears that none of the Pauline epistles were actually written by Paul - they're all forgeries.

1 Timothy 6:20 appears to be a diatribe against Marcion's Antithesis, written about 140 AD.  1 Timothy is considered a pseudo-Pauline gospel, so this is probably irrelevant.  This, 2nd Timothy and Titus appear to be forgeries.  The ten remaining Pauline epistles were known to Marcion.

More than 5700 Greek manuscripts are known and about 10,000 Latin Vulgate ones, not to mention other versions, such as Syriac, Armenian, Old Georgian, Church Slavonic, etc.  There are between 200,000 and 400,000 versions of the inerrant word of god.

Doug

P.S.:  I fell in and never got to the rest of it.  Maybe later.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29
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Doug1o29
35 minutes ago, third_eye said:

Which calendar being the more accurate remains the core of the problems or validation of Dr Theiring's pesher interpretations ...
 

I figure we can't really tell which documents were written by who and by which calendar they used

~

There's a lot of that in ancient writings.  The thing we need to do is find an event that is referenced by date on both Roman and Jewish calendars.  Then we'll at least have a way to compare the two.

Doug

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third_eye
41 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

There's a lot of that in ancient writings.  The thing we need to do is find an event that is referenced by date on both Roman and Jewish calendars.  Then we'll at least have a way to compare the two.

Doug

I don't really remember all that much but I think the last time I really read up on it there were mentions of widening the scope of references to cover more of the Coptic sources that were largely ignored up to the time, if I'm not wrong its of the opinion from the Robert Eisenman camps.

To be honest, that's the 'over my head' territory

~

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Piney
1 hour ago, Doug1o29 said:

P.S.:  I fell in and never got to the rest of it.  Maybe later.

 

Athanasius's Easter letter dictating the 27 books in the New Testament and ordering the destruction of the rest. 

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Phaeton80
17 hours ago, eight bits said:

Well, welcome aboard and good luck with your voyage. One helpful hint: I wouldn't assume that Acts is a reliable historical source. There's really no reason to think that it is.


Allright, no interest in discussing this particular subject, cristalclear. Your response does beg the question though; which part of the Bible specifically would you deem 'a reliable historical source'?

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Piney
8 minutes ago, Phaeton80 said:


Allright, no interest in discussing this particular subject, cristalclear. Your response does beg the question though; which part of the Bible specifically would you deem 'a reliable historical source'?

Maccabees.  .......maybe. But it was chopped out by the Protestants. Don't want history getting in the way. 

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eight bits
Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Doug1o29 said:

See how it works?  Reason from facts, not guesses.

So, if there happened to be a suitable sea creature nearby, then Jonah wasn't a myth? No, that isn't how it works :)

On the dating of the Gospels, one complication is that there was an apparent delay before they were considered scripture. As well there might be, since I have yet to see the first scrap of evidence that Mark was written by a practicing Christian, or written especially for a Christian audience, or written for a specifically Christian purpose. (Think Seneca's lost or possibly never existing Jesus of Nazareth). Mark caught on, but especially in more Christian reworkings, Matthew and Marcion's favorite, Luke.

On the possibility of John having come first, I believe the most mainstream advocate of the idea is (or was) James H. Charlesworth of Princeton. It is a minority idea, but not a silly one.

 

3 hours ago, Doug1o29 said:

1 Timothy

Yeah, the Pastorals are late and forged; almost everyone agrees. The Fab Four (1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians and Romans) do very well in tests of single authorship, so one can basically define "The historical Paul" as their author. If so, is he really First Century, when the letters seem to be set? Maybe, maybe not, but most people accept them as First Century.

 

49 minutes ago, Piney said:

Maccabees.  .......maybe. But it was chopped out by the Protestants. Don't want history getting in the way. 

Well, our good friends the Anglicans keep them around, and even the Catholics call them deuterocanonical these days (just as there are embarrassing Popes, there are embarrassing councils, too; Trent will serve). I do think that there was some calculation in what books got cut. There could be a whole thread about them (but probably not here on UM :) ).

 

58 minutes ago, Phaeton80 said:

Allright, no interest in discussing this particular subject, cristalclear. Your response does beg the question though; which part of the Bible specifically would you deem 'a reliable historical source'?

That wasn't my intention. You did bring up a lot of stuff for a topic defined by a single sentence in a letter of Paul. though. Maybe as a buffet, I'd nibble.

I'm inclined to accept the usual seven letters of Paul (the Fab Four as listed above, plus Philippians, Philemon and 1 Thessalonians) as primary source material about Paul's activities and such. There are some things that can be inferred from some of the other epistles. Unfortunately, among those things are that people made things up and stuck other people's names on things.

I think the gospels are what they appear to be, mythology about what would happen if the Jewish God decided to beget a Jewish Hercules, with much attention to grounding the distinctive features of the ancient Christian churches as imagined words and deeds of Jesus.

Does any of it have a historical foundation earlier than the first few generations of the church? How would you know? Was there any real guy at all? Meh, what keeps coming up, you don't need a book for (or not those books anyway). A Jewish fellow named Josh was both baptized by John and strung up by Pilate? Sure. He had some pals who survived him, who found it in their hearts to accept money from Paul? Sure again.

More details than that? Less sure.

 

Edited by eight bits
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Phaeton80
28 minutes ago, eight bits said:

That wasn't my intention. You did bring up a lot of stuff for a topic defined by a single sentence in a letter of Paul. though. Maybe as a buffet, I'd nibble.

I'm inclined to accept the usual seven letters of Paul (the Fab Four as listed above, plus Philippians, Philemon and 1 Thessalonians) as primary source material about Paul's activities and such. There are some things that can be inferred from some of the other epistles. Unfortunately, among those things are that people made things up and stuck other people's names on things.

I think the gospels are what they appear to be, mythology about what would happen if the Jewish God decided to beget a Jewish Hercules, with much attention to grounding the distinctive features of the Christian churches as imagined words and deeds of Jesus.

Does any of it have a historical foundation? How would you know? Was there any real guy at all? Meh, what keeps coming up, you don't need a book for (or not those books anyway). A Jewish fellow named Josh was both baptized by John and strung up by Pilate? Sure. He had some pals who survived him, who found it in their hearts to accept money from Paul? Sure again.

More details than that? Less sure.

 


I think you couldnt be more wrong, but hey; to each his own right.

Good luck with your voyage though.

 

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Piney
1 hour ago, eight bits said:

Well, our good friends the Anglicans keep them around, and even the Catholics call them deuterocanonical these days (just as there are embarrassing Popes, there are embarrassing councils, too; Trent will serve). I do think that there was some calculation in what books got cut. There could be a whole thread about them (but probably not here on UM :) ).

My opinion was they didn't want folks to know the Romans were invited to rule. Not invaders

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Doug1o29
1 hour ago, eight bits said:

So, if there happened to be a suitable sea creature nearby, then Jonah wasn't a myth? No, that isn't how it works :)

Wrong.  The absence of a suitable critter proves the story a myth, but not the other way around.  If there was a suitable animal in the Med at the time, then the story becomes possible, but we still need something else, like an eye-witness, to establish it as fact.

The physical background establishes what is possible, but not what is (or was).

Doug

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Doug1o29
1 hour ago, eight bits said:

On the dating of the Gospels, one complication is that there was an apparent delay before they were considered scripture. As well there might be, since I have yet to see the first scrap of evidence that Mark was written by a practicing Christian, or written especially for a Christian audience, or written for a specifically Christian purpose. (Think Seneca's lost or possibly never existing Jesus of Nazareth). Mark caught on, but especially in more Christian reworkings, Matthew and Marcion's favorite, Luke.

On the possibility of John having come first, I believe the most mainstream advocate of the idea is (or was) James H. Charlesworth of Princeton. It is a minority idea, but not a silly one.

I'm inclined to think of the gospels as later additions to Christian literature.  Marcion's was the first Bible, written about 140.  The generation of people who had known the Apostles was rapidly disappearing and the need to preserve the church's traditions was becoming apparent.  Also, there were numerous varying accounts of Jesus and the collective church needed to decide which version it would believe.

I wonder if it would be possible to re-create Seneca's "Jesus of Nazareth."  If there was such a book, it would have to have been written early, like before 65 AD.  I'm thinking if such existed, it might have served as a source book for the gospels, augmented with other items later on.

No matter how we cut it, the source material was probably floating around in song and story long before it was written down.

Doug

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eight bits
20 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

Wrong.  The absence of a suitable critter proves the story a myth, but not the other way around. 

I see your wrong and raise you a square root of not.  Whether the story is a myth is independent of the local fauna.

Jonah is, on its face, a myth. Literary questions are decided by literary criteria. Not everything that's impossible is a myth, and not every myth is impossible (e.g. Alexander cutting the Gordian knot).

 

Quote

... written about 140.  The generation of people who had known the Apostles ...

If the apostles are the characters described in the canonical Gospels and Acts, then they're all dead long before 140. If there were a need of the kind you describe, then somebody needed to get cracking within about a generation or two of the purported events, i.e. 70-ish to 100-ish ... pretty much the consensus estimates of when the Gospels were written.

 

18 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

I wonder if it would be possible to re-create Seneca's "Jesus of Nazareth."  If there was such a book, it would have to have been written early, like before 65 AD.  I'm thinking if such existed, it might have served as a source book for the gospels, augmented with other items later on.

65 CE is the short end of the range estimated for Mark, which does seem to have served as a source book for Matthew and Luke, and there's a good chance it influenced John. I am not saying that (truly anonymous) "Mark" was Seneca, but the existence of Mark, its theatricality, and the substantial possibility that there really were some lost writings by Seneca may have given support to the legend of the "lost play."

 

27 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

No matter how we cut it, the source material was probably floating around in song and story long before it was written down.

Or, the source material is the liturgy of the early churches, and what was written was a backstory to explain why John the Baptist's signature Jewish ritual had become a key part of a Gentile liturgy, why healing, feeding and exorcism were religious issues, and why vegetable sacrifice might be OK with Corporate after all, even if that policy hadn't worked out so well for Cain.

In all these matters, the answer is "because Jesus did these things." And how do we know that? "It says right here in this new book."

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Piney
22 minutes ago, eight bits said:

65 CE is the short end of the range estimated for Mark, which does seem to have served as a source book for Matthew and Luke, and there's a good chance it influenced John. I am not saying that (truly anonymous) "Mark" was Seneca, but the existence of Mark, its theatricality, and the substantial possibility that there really were some lost writings by Seneca may have given support to the legend of the "lost play."

I'm under the impression that there was a "Q" Matthew at one time and the one we know was rewritten by a Zoroastrian convert. 

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Piney said:

I'm under the impression that there was a "Q" Matthew at one time and the one we know was rewritten by a Zoroastrian convert. 

I don't know that one. Any pointers will be gratefully received.

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Piney
2 minutes ago, eight bits said:

I don't know that one. Any pointers will be gratefully received.

It theoretical. My own. There are so many Zoroastrian influences in it and the 3 Magi come across as a "nut shot" to the Jews.  ala- *Look a bigger religion recognizes your savior but you don't*

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Doug1o29
15 hours ago, eight bits said:

I see your wrong and raise you a square root of not.  Whether the story is a myth is independent of the local fauna.

Jonah is, on its face, a myth. Literary questions are decided by literary criteria. Not everything that's impossible is a myth, and not every myth is impossible (e.g. Alexander cutting the Gordian knot).

Then you and I have different definitions of "myth."

Mine is the obvious one based on physical reality.  If it couldn't be seen, felt, heard or smelled, then it probably wasn't true.  It is "legend" if part of the story was physically true (or might have been) and part was made up (mostly to fill gaps in the story line).  Because part of a story is true doesn't mean it all is.  That leaves an interesting possibility:  a story made up of vignettes, any one of which is individually true, but strung together to make a story that isn't true.  That's much of the Bible.

Doug

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Doug1o29
15 hours ago, eight bits said:

If the apostles are the characters described in the canonical Gospels and Acts, then they're all dead long before 140. If there were a need of the kind you describe, then somebody needed to get cracking within about a generation or two of the purported events, i.e. 70-ish to 100-ish ... pretty much the consensus estimates of when the Gospels were written.

By 140 the Apostles were gone.  If I remember correctly, John was the last and he died about 120.  Twenty years later, the stories of Jesus were being corrupted by many different and varied accounts.  It was these "heresies" that created so much trouble within the church.

Did somebody "get cracking" earlier?  Papias did.  He mentions Mark and says Mark left a collection of sayings.  The modern Gospel of Mark is not a collection of sayings.  Was Papias referring to the Gospel of Thomas?  Maybe getting Mark and Thomas confused?

Papias recounted having heard the words of "John the Presbyter" and having met "the daughters of Phillip."  As I recall, Origen said something about having heard one of the Apostles speak, but as he was born about 184, that doesn't seem too likely; maybe it was somebody else.  The Bible mentions that Paul and Thomas went to India and that is confirmed in Indian writings that might actually be referring to Apollonius of Tyana who went there with his disciple Damus.  Lots of room for confusion there.

As far as I know, that's it.  Those are the only records outside the Bible that any of the Apostles ever lived.  All else is hearsay.

 

In sum:  the story of Jesus is just that:  a story.  Parts of it may be true, as with any historical fiction.  There's enough information there to conclude that something happened, but not enough to tell what it was.

Doug

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eight bits
14 hours ago, Piney said:

It theoretical. My own. There are so many Zoroastrian influences in it and the 3 Magi come across as a "nut shot" to the Jews.  ala- *Look a bigger religion recognizes your savior but you don't*

You could well be right. If you take the consensus picture of Matthew, that it comprises:

- Most of Mark, with light editing, PLUS

- Lots of sayings ("Q" if you believe there was such a document), PLUS

- Material unique to Matthew, sometimes called "M" for short

then the "M" compnent does include some strongly anti-Semitic material (e.g., verse 27:25 must hold the record for the most toxic single line in world literature). I hadn't thought of the Magi visit that way, but you're right, it is.

 

22 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

Then you and I have different definitions of "myth."

Could be. I see a myth as an instructive (cautionary, exemplary, mnemonic, ...) or sacralizing fictive story (or collection) of anonymous origin and intergenerational transmission featuring "larger than life" characters (albeit possibly "based on" real people, like Daniel Boone or Alexander the Great).

What do you mean by myth?

15 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

It was these "heresies" that created so much trouble within the church.

IMO, Paul was writing in the 050's, and he complained of severe differences of opinion within the churches as he knew them. Since then, there seems never have to been any long stretch when there weren't heresies. Just sayin'.

19 minutes ago, Doug1o29 said:

The Bible mentions that Paul and Thomas went to India

Do you have a conventional citation for that (book, chapter and verse)? It is possible for a historical Thomas to have made it to India, and there are very old Indian churches that hold a tradition of being planted by Thomas. But I don't think there's anything in the canon about it.

 

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Piney
7 minutes ago, eight bits said:

 I hadn't thought of the Magi visit that way, but you're right, it is.

I suggested it to my theology tutor. Her eyes widened like saucers.and she said "Richard, that's a astounding projection."  :lol:

 

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Piney
26 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Do you have a conventional citation for that (book, chapter and verse)? It is possible for a historical Thomas to have made it to India, and there are very old Indian churches that hold a tradition of being planted by Thomas. But I don't think there's anything in the canon about it.

If I remember correctly Paul was told  to stay out of Thomas's way and out of his territory,

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third_eye

Let's take a few calming minutes and gather our breath ...
 

Quote

 

~

 

 

~

[00.03:47]

 

Nothing like a little Allison Kraus to get the giddy right back on track ...

~

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eight bits

Round Two.

There is a follow-up posting,

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/2019/03/29/brothers-ii-like-jesus/

Where the first installment (see the OP of this thread) emphasized background information and "putting out the fire," the Guild's claim that Paul's use of the phrase the brother(s) of the Lord proves the historicity of Jesus, this second installment focuses on how weak the usage is as evidence about the controversy. That would be very weak.

This is also an example of that fabled "Bayesian reasoning," we hear so much about, but in a realistic form, that is, without numbers. Paul's usage is weak evidence because he'd plausibly have written the same thing whether or not Jesus had real-life brothers or disciples. To see that, you don't need numbers, but you do need to take both hypotheses seriously.

Bigger picture, beyond this post: there really isn't anything primary from the First Century that firmly establishes the historicity of Jesus. It's a tenable hypothesis, but whatever credibility it has is "a priori" (e.g. it makes sense that there easily could have been some charismatic orator that caused Peter, James and John to set up a church in Jerusalem after the orator was killed), not anything strongly evidence-based. Since other stories also make sense, personal judgment looms large in what you believe about Jesus.

That's how it should be when there is little or no evidence.

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eight bits

This is a meme that Professor James McGrath, a historicist hard-liner, found on social media and reposted on his blog today. I lolled; maybe some others will, too. It nicely sums up why so much of the historical-versus-mythical Jesus battle is fought out in the letters of Paul, especially the non-fake ones.

 

5cafa5c8537fc_memejesusandpaulres.jpg.b70f6d9d788d7be12356284511aa4053.jpg

 

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eight bits

Ding, ding ding. Round 3.

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/2019/04/15/brothers-iii-like-paul/

The series started in reaction to Guild claims that "Paul said he met a brother of Jesus and knew of others" settled the historicity of Jesus. Round 1 was "not so fast," showing that Paul had left plenty of wiggle room about who his James was. Round 2 showed the power of "Bayesian" thinking, especially how different the world can look when you don't simply assume your conclusion.

Round 3 looks less at what Paul said about the brothers and more at the context in which he said it. For Galatians fans, this brings up  the nagging question of whether Paul saw the same James on both his visits, or two Jameses, first a "brother" and later a "pillar." It appears that even ancient people didn't know; Origen liked the one-James scenario while the author of Acts went for two Jameses. neither of whom were described as Jesus' kin.

But where things get especially dicey is 1 Corinthians 9:5. Paul's complaining about money (again), and he offers a list of people who get money from the church for their spouses: Peter, other apostles and the brothers of the Lord.

Arguing "Peter gets $$$, so I should, too" makes sense. Arguing "Aposltes in general get $$$, so I should, too" makes sense.

Arguing "The church looks after Jesus' surviving family ..." or "The church looks after Jesus' closest associates, ..." offers no reason whatsoever for the church to look after Paul. Paul isn't Jesus' kin and he wasn't Jesus' buddy. At best, including Jesus' friends and family is irrelevant to Paul's argument. At worst, it undermines the force of the other comparisons by inviting questions about who besides Paul says that Paul is Peter's equal, or "Tell me again how you became an apostle? You were flying around heaven, saw God and ...?"

So there is a problem with "goodness of fit." Sure, if James was Jesus' brother, then calling him something like that makes perfect sense. But when Paul is making a list of people who get church money, hoping for a taste himself, then he most likely includes only people like him. To include people obvously unlike him makes no sense.

That the brothers of the Lord is some kind of religious title referring to people who have something in common with Paul is a better fit with 1 Corithians 9:5 than its being a reference to kin or companions of a historical Jesus.

Unless of course it's an interpolation :)

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