Category: Pastoral Epistles|1 Timothy|1 Timothy 3 (Page 1 of 2)

The Pastorals in Studies on the Paratextual Features of Early New Testament Manuscripts

A new volume by Brill has several articles oriented toward the Pastorals:

Studies on the Paratextual Features of Early New Testament Manuscripts. Edited by Stanley E. Porter, Chris S. Stevens, and David I. Yoon. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study. Leiden: Brill, 2023.

Solomon, S. Matthew. “Segmentation and Interpretation of Early Pauline Manuscripts.” (pp. 123–45).
“Manuscripts from the ancient world had less stereotyped formatting rules than books and media today. Unfortunately, some of these features are greatly underap-preciated for their potential interpretive value. In this paper, attention is given to how scribes of the Pauline corpus used spatial segmentation for their distinct pur-poses. The aim is to provide insights into how these scribal choices may influence the interpretation of certain texts, including 1 Cor 7:39, 14:33, Eph 5:21, 1 Tim 3:1, and Phlm 7. Finally, the chapter concludes that paragraphing and segmentation in the ancient world are quite different from today, and some of these differences are exe-getically significant.”

Tommy Wasserman and Linnea Thorp. “The Tradition and Development of the Subscriptions to 1 Timothy.” (pp. 172-201)
“This study examines the textual tradition of the subscriptions to 1 Timothy, proposing a typology based on a collation of 415 Greek manuscripts. The authors discuss the traditions about 1 Timothy reflected in the subscriptions in relation to other paratexts, internal evidence, Corpus Paulinum, Acts, and the wider church history. The creation and elaboration of subscriptions to Pauline letters, shaping the way they are read, not only satisfies human curiosity but serves to further authenticate the writings by connecting them to Paul and his circle of co-workers. The location of the letters in time and space reflects the ongoing construction of a “landscape of memory” in the early church.”

Conrad Thorup Elmelund and Tommy Wasserman. “Second Timothy: When and Where? Text and Tradition in the Subscriptions” (pp. 202–26).
“Based on full collations of the subscriptions to 2 Timothy in 485 Greek manuscripts, this study presents the textual tradition and development of these subscriptions and explains their relationship to other subscriptions, paratexts, the internal evidence in 1–2 Timothy, Acts, and the wider church history. The study tracks the source(s) be-hind the tradition that the letter was sent to Timothy, installed as the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, sent from Rome when Paul had appeared before Nero a second time and relates this tradition to the competing ancient biographies of Paul.”

Chris S. Stevens, “Titus in P32 and Early Majuscules: Textual Reliability and Scribal Design” (pp. 267-87)
“Manuscripts in the ancient world are the products of many scribal decisions. The relationship between the final product of these scribal choices and the functionality of the text, both textual and paratextual, is easily underestimated or ignored. To move forward, this chapter conducts a process of manuscript criticism of P32. First, the textual transmission will be compared with other manuscripts for transmissional lines. Second, the paratextual features, most notably segmentation and layout, are assessed and compared across the first millennium. The results indicate the scribal transmission was highly uniform, P32 is from a multi-text codex, and the design fea-tures in Codex Sinaiticus strongly suggest a Sitz em Leben within public reading and liturgical services.”

Kidson, “Naming 1 Timothy 3.16b”

Lyn Kidson has added to the considerable amount of secondary literature on 1 Timothy 3:16:

Lyn Kidson, “Naming 1 Timothy 3:16b: A ‘Hymn’ by Another Name?” New Testament Studies 69.1 (2023): 46–56.

Abstract: Most scholars assume that 1 Timothy 3.16b is a hymn, or a fragment of a hymn, belonging to another context. However, Furley (1995) points out that even the ancients had difficulty categorising their poetic materials. 1 Timothy 3.16b has no metre and neither praises God nor asks him for benefits, which are the usual indicators of a hymn. This article argues that 1 Timothy 3.16b was written by the writer for insertion into the letter, and it was intended to be used in his congregation as a bulwark (1 Tim 3.15) against his opponents. 1 Timothy 3.16b more closely resembles an epigram, normally written to accompany an epiphany of a god.

For earlier literature on 1 Timothy 3:16, see this earlier post.

Kotansky, “The Secret of the Hidden Cross: The Form, Meaning, and Background of the Hellenistic Hymn Quoted in 1 Tim. 3:16”

A new article on the intriguing 1 Timothy 3:16 is now available, intriguing in its own right:

Kotansky, Roy D. “The Secret of the Hidden Cross: The Form, Meaning, and Background of the Hellenistic Hymn Quoted in 1 Tim. 3:16.” Pages 165–200 in Gods, Spirits, and Worship in the Greco-Roman World and Early Christianity. Edited by Craig A. Evans and Adam Z. Wright. Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity 23. London: T&T Clark, 2022.

Those who have researched the passage will immediately recognize the language of the title as echoing an important essay by Robert Gundry published just over a half-century ago (see below), a purposeful evocation by Kotansky. The fascinating 1 Timothy 3:16 has attracted scholarly attention for quite some time (I’ve appended some treatments at the end of this post); Kotansky rightly speaks of “the long history of exegesis that these lines have endured” (179).

From the volume introduction: “Roy Kotansky investigates the background of the Hellenistic hymn that lies behind 1 Tim. 3:16. After drawing our attention to a number of relevant artifacts and suggesting a new way to understand a difficult phrase in the verse, Kotansky concludes that this hymn is composed in such a way that it creates a visual structure whose purpose is to disguise the message of the cross, yet allow its message to be understood when recited and sung aloud.”


Here are a number of focused studies on 1 Tim 3:16, listed chronologically:

Ward, William H. “An Examination of the Various Readings of 1 Tim. 3:16.” Bibliotheca sacra 27 (1865): 1–50.

Klöpper, A. “Zur Christologie der Pastoralbriefe (1. Tim. 3,16).” Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie 45 (1902): 339‒61.

Seeberg, D. A. Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit. Leipzig: A. Deichert, 1903. [Note “Dieselbe Glaubensformel und der Hymnus I Tim. 3, 16,” pp. 112–25.]

Wilson, O. R. B. “A Study of the Early Christian Credal Hymn of 1 Timothy 3:16.” PhD diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1954.

Braun, R. A. “Mysterium Pietatis seu in historiam interpretationis Eusebeias vocis Pastoralium Epistolarum, speciatim 1 Tim 3.16a inquisitio atque exegetica christologici hymni 1 Tim 3,16b explanatio.” Diss., Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Rome, 1956.

Schweizer, Eduard. “Two New Testament Creeds Compared: I Corinthians 15.3–5 and I Timothy 3.16.” Pages 166–77 in Current Issues in New Testament Interpretation: Essays in Honor of Otto A. Piper. Edited by William Klassen and Graydon F. Snyder. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1962.

Kremer, Jacob. “‘Aufgenommen in Herrlichkeit’ (1 Tim 3,16): Auferstehung und Erhöhung nach dem Zeugnis der paulinischen Schriften.” Bibel und Kirche 20 (1965): 33–37.

Lachenschmid, R. Geheimnis unseres Christseins. Das Christuslied aus 1 Tim 3,16.” Geist und Leben 39 (1966): 225–29.

Hanson, A. T. “An Academic Phrase: 1 Timothy 3.16a.” Pages 21–28 in Studies in the Pastoral Epistles. London: S.P.C.K., 1968. Reprint, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015.

Stenger, Werner. “Der Christushymnus in 1 Tim 3,16: Aufbau—Christologie—Sitz im Leben.” Trierer theologische Zeitschrift 78 (1969): 33–48.

Deichgräber, Reinhard. Gotteshymnus und Christushymnus in der frühen Christenheit. Untersuchung zu Form, Sprache und Stil der frühchristlichen Hymnen. Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments5. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1970.

Gundry, Robert H. “The Form, Meaning and Background of the Hymn Quoted in 1 Timothy 3:16.” Pages 203–22 in Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce on his 60th Birthday. Edited by W. W. Gasque and R. P. Martin. Exeter: Paternoster, 1970.

Strange, J. F. “A Critical and Exegetical Study of 1 Timothy 3.16: An Essay in Traditiongeschichte.” PhD dissertation, Drew University, 1970.

O’Callaghan, José. “1 Tim 3,16; 4,1.3 en 7Q4?” Biblica 53 (1972): 362–67.

Fowler, Paul B. “Examination of I Timothy 3:16b: Its Form, Language, and Historical Background.” PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh, 1973.

Langkammer, Hugolin. “Hymn chrystologiczny 1 Tym 3,16.“ Pages 137–49 in Verbum Crucis. Kardynałowi Bolesławowi Kominkowi w hołdzie. Wrocław: Wrocławska Księgarnia Archidiecezjalna, 1974.

Stenger, Werner. “Textkritik und Schiksal (1Tim 3,16).“ Biblische Zeitschrift 19.2 (1975): 240–47.

Langkammer, Hugolin. Hymny chrystologiczne Nowego Testamentu. Najstarszy obraz Chrystusa. Attende Lectioni 3. Katowice: Kuria Diecezjalna, 1976.

Stenger, Werner. Der Christushymnus 1 Tim. 3,16. Eine Strukturanalytische Untersuchung. Regensburger Studien zur Theologie 6. Frankfurt: Lang, 1977.

Szczurek, Tadeusz. “‘Ukazał się aniołom’ (1 Tm 3, 16) [‘was seen by angels’ (1 Tim 3, 16)].” Ruch Biblijny i Liturgiczny 30.4 (1977): 195–98.

Manns, Frédéric. “L’hymne judéo-chrétien de 1 Tim. 3,16.” Euntes Docete 32.3 (1979): 323–39. = “Judeo-Christian Context of 1 Tim 3:16.” Theology Digest 29 (1981): 119–22.

Metzger, Wolfgang. Der Christushymnus 1. Timotheus 3,16: Fragment einer Homologie der paulinischen Gemeinden. Arbeiten zur Theologie 62. Stuttgart: Calwer, 1979.

Hengel, Martin. “Hymn and Christology.” Pages 173–97 in Studia Biblica 1978, III. Papers on Paul and Other New Testament Authors. Sixth International Congress on Biblical Studies. Oxford 3–7 April 1978. Edited by Elizabeth A. Livingstone. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 3. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1980.

Hugger, P. “Mission als Christusmysterium: 1 Tim 3:16.” Pages 19‒27 in Zukunft aus empfangenem Erbe: 100 Jahre benediktinische Missionsarbeit. Edited by S. Hertlein and R. Rudmann. St. Ottilien: EOS, 1983.

Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. “Redactional Angels in 1 Tim 3:16.” Revue Biblique 91 (1984): 178–87.

Du Preez, J. “‘Angeloi’ in die lied van 1 Timoteus 3:16.” Nederduitse Gereformeerde Teologiese Tydskrif 28 (1987): 182–86.

Luke, K. “The Impact of Egyptian Ideas on the Formulation of NT Soteriology.” Bible Bhashyam 14 (1989): 185–94.

Rensburg, Fika J. van. “Die Timoteus-himne (1 Tim 3:16).” Pages 83–97 in Hymni Christiani. Edited by J. H. Barkhuizen. HTS supplementum series 1. Pretoria: Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Africa, 1989.

Fowl, Stephen E. The Story of Christ in the Ethics of Paul: An Analysis of the Function of the Hymnic Material in the Pauline Corpus. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 36. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990. Reprint, Bloomsbury Academic Collections, Biblical Studies: The Epistles. London: Bloomsbury, 2015. [note chap. 7, “1 Timothy 3:16b,” 155–174; chap 8, “The Function of 1 Timothy 3:16b,” 175–210]

McClain, C. K., Jr. “A Hermeneutical Inquiry into the Raz-Pesher Motif with Application to 1 Timothy 3:16.” PhD diss., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, 1990.

Marcheselli-Casale, Cesare. “Gesù di Nazareth il Risorto-Asceso centro vitale della comunità ecclesiale protocristiana. Considerazioni intorno al valore pasquale di 1 Tm 3, 16.” Theologica (Annali della Pontificia Facoltà Teologica della Sardegna) 3 (1994): 235–76.

Karris, Robert J. A Symphony of New Testament Hymns: Commentary on Philippians 2:5–11, Colossians 1:15–20, Ephesians 2:14–16, 1 Timothy 3:16, Titus 3:4–7, 1 Peter 3:18–22, and 2 Timothy 2:11–13. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1996. [note chap. VI-2, “1 Timothy 3:16 — The Universality of Salvation in Christ Jesus,” 112–26]

Testa, Emmanuele. “L’inno sul sacramentum pietatis (1Tm 3, 16).” Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Liber Annuus 46 (1996): 87–100.

Kremer, Jacob. “Das einmütig geschätzte Mysterium der Frömmigkeit: Erwägungen zur Kurzformel chritlichen Glaubens in 1Tim 3,16b.“ Geist und Leben 70.2 (1997): 99–107.

Ham, C. “The Christ Hymn in 1 Timothy 3:16.” Stone-Campbell Journal 3 (2000): 209–28.

MacLeod, Donald J. “Christology in Six Lines: An Exposition of 1 Timothy 3:16.” Bibliotheca Sacra 159 (2002): 334–48.

Frary, Stephen W. “Who Was Manifested in the Flesh? A Consideration of Internal Evidence in Support of a Variant in 1 Tim 3:16a.” Filología Neotestamentaria 16 (2003): 3–18.

Nayak, I. The Mystery of Christian Life: The Christ-Hymn of 1 Tim 3,16. Rome: Urbaniana University Press, 2004.

Arichea, Daniel C., Jr. “Translating Hymnic Materials: Theology and Translation in 1 Timothy 3.16.” Bible Translator 58.4 (2007): 179–85.

Herzer, Jens. “‘Das Geheimnis der Frömmigkeit’ (1 Tim 3,16)—Sprache und Stil der Pastoralbriefe im Kontext hellenistisch-römischer Popularphilosophie—eine methodische Problemanzeige.” Theologische Quartalschrift 187.4 (2007): 309–29. = Pages 381–406 in Die Pastoralbriefe und das Vermächtnis des Paulus: Studien zu den Briefen an Timotheus und Titus. Edited by Jan Quenstedt. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 476. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2022.

DiPaolo, Lawrence. Hymn Fragments Embedded in the New Testament: Hellenistic Jewish and Greco-Roman Parallels. Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 2008.

Martin, Brice. “1 Timothy 3:16—A New Perspective.” Evangelical Quarterly 85.2 (2013): 105–20.

Trebilco, Paul R. “1 Timothy 3.16 as a Proto-Rule of Faith.” Pages 170–90 in Ears That Hear: Explorations in Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Edited by Joel B. Green and Tim Meadowcroft. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013.

Walker, Kevin. “Ukazao se . . . Kome? Još jedan osvrt na 1 Tim 3,16b.” Kairos: Evanđeoski teološki časopis 8.2 (2014): 155–74. = “He Appeared to Whom? Another Look at 1 Tim 3:16b.” Kairos: Evangelical Journal of Theology 8.2 (2014): 123–42.

Gordley, Matthew E. New Testament Christological Hymns: Exploring Texts, Contexts, and Significance. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018. [1 Tim 3:16 covered on pp. 183–190]

Gonzaga, Waldecir, and Rafael Mendonça de Souza. “‘Grande é o Mistério da Piedade’: Eclesiologia e Christologia em 1 Timóteo 3,16.” Caminhos 19.2 (2021): 394–415.

Machado, Sidney Damasio. “‘Manifestado na carne’ (1Tm 3,16): Considerações sobre a transmissão damensagem cristã na Igreja primitive // ‘Manifested in the flesh’ (1Tm 3,16): Considerations on the Transmission of the Christian Message in the Early Church.” Revista Pistis Praxis 13.2 (2021): 758–85.

Krauter, “Die Kirche—Pfeiler und Fundament der Wahrheit?”

A recent article on 1 Tim 3:15:

Stefan Krauter, “Die Kirche—Pfeiler und Fundament der Wahrheit? Zur Übersetzung und Auslegung von I Tim 3,15f.” Theologische Zeitschrift 77.1 (2021): 45–59.

The article is in German, but an English-language abstract is provided: “I Tim 3:14–16 is considered the theological centre of the Pastoral Epistles. The text combines the Pauline image of the church as a temple with the image of the church as house of God, which is characteristic of the Pastoral Epistles. In this way, the church is portrayed as a firm institution that passes on the truth unadulterated. The paper questions this interpretation in three steps: lt examines whether there is [a] temple metaphor in the background of l Tim 3:15. The idea that an institution carries the truth of faith is examined. An alternative translation and interpretation of the passage is proposed.”

The article is available here.

Merkle, “The Authority of Deacons in Pauline Churches”

Benjamin L. Merkle has made another contribution to the literature on the Pastorals:

Merkle, Benjamin L. “The Authority of Deacons in Pauline Churches.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 64.2 (2021): 309–25.

Abstract: The New Testament office of deacon is disputed primarily because of the paucity of information. Consequently, many look to the following in order to determine the role of deacons in the church: (1) the lexical meaning of διάκονος and its cognates (διακονέω and διακονία); (2) the function of the Seven in Acts 6:1–6; and (3) the qualifications for deacons in 1 Timothy 3:8–13. Additionally, one’s view of the role of women in ministry can influence how one perceives the function and authority of deacons. This essay argues that deacons held an official and authoritative, yet nonessential and subordinate, position in the Pauline churches. I support this thesis by considering: (1) the official title of deacons; (2) the official function of deacons; (3) the official qualifications of deacons; and (4) the official period of testing and honorable standing of deacons.

I took a class on the Greek text of the Pastorals with Dr. Merkle and benefitted greatly from it. I’m thankful for his commitment to thinking through issues in these letters and publishing the results for the benefit of both church and academy, as well as his work behind the scenes in the ETS Pastorals study group. Other publications of his on the Pastorals include:

“Are the Qualifications for Elders or Overseers Negotiable?” Bibliotheca Sacra 171.682 (2014): 172–88.

“Ecclesiology in the Pastoral Epistles.” Pages 173–98 in Entrusted with the Gospel: Paul’s Theology in the Pastoral Epistles. Edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Terry L. Wilder. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010.

The Elder and Overseer: One Office in the Early Church. Studies in Biblical Literature 57. New York: Lang, 2003.

“Hierarchy in the Church? Instruction from the Pastoral Epistles regarding Elders and Overseers.” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 7 (2003): 32–43. Reprinted as “Hierarchy in the Church? Instruction from the Pastoral Epistles concerning Elders and Overseers.” Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry 2.1 (2004): 45–62.

“Paul’s Arguments from Creation in 1 Corinthians 11:8–9 and 1 Timothy 2:13–14: An Apparent Inconsistency Answered.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49 (2006): 527–48.

Machado, “‘Manifestado na carne’ (1Tm 3,16)”

Sidney Machado, of the Faculdades Claretianas in Brazil, and visiting professor at the Pontifical Ateneo Santo Anselmo in Rome, has added to the extensive literature on 1 Timothy 3:16 with a recent article in Revista Pistis Praxis.

Sidney Damasio Machado. “‘Manifestado na carne’ (1Tm 3,16): Considerações sobre a transmissão damensagem cristã na Igreja primitive // ‘Manifested in the flesh’ (1Tm 3,16): Considerations on the Transmission of the Christian Message in the Early Church.” Revista Pistis Praxis 13.2 (2021): 758–85. (full-text article available at

The article is in Portuguese, but the abstract in English will provide guidance:

Abstract: The theme of epiphany/vision unifies most religious and philosophical expressions in the early Greco-Roman world. The use of the expression “manifested in the flesh” (“ἐφανερωθη ἐν σαρκί” (1Tm 3,16)) in the Pastoral Letters [is indicative] of the efforts of early Christianity to dialogue with the culture and inculturate the content of the Christian faith in the Hellenistic environment. Seeing the commitment to inculturated evangelization in the early Church constitutes an incentive and a provocation in view of an inculturated evangelization.

1 Timothy in P133

I hadn’t realized it until I stumbled across this online, but a few years back, one of the Oxyrhynchus papyri was published as containing text from 1 Tim 3:13-4:8, and as Peter Gurry noted, P.Oxy. 5259 became P133 as well. Here’s the editio princeps:

Shao, J. “5259. I Timothy 3:13–4:8.” Pages 3–8 in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Volume LXXXI. Edited and translated by J. H. Brusuelas and C. Meccariello. Graeco-Roman Memoirs 102. London: The Egypt Exploration Society, 2016.

You can read Shao’s work here (originally posted here). Gurry notes that with its 3rd-century dating, P133 has become the “earliest copy of 1 Timothy.”

You can view the actual papyrus here.

Becker, “Ekklesiologie der sanften Macht. Der 1. Timotheusbrief und die antike Fürstenspiegel-Literatur”

Matthias Becker has just published an article of interest to students of 1 Timothy:

Becker, Matthias. “Ekklesiologie der sanften Macht. Der 1. Timotheusbrief und die antike Fürstenspiegel-Literatur.” Biblische Zeitschrift 64.2 (2020): 277–305.

Here’s the abstract: “Did early Christian church leaders and political rulers share common characteristics? By reading the First Epistle to Timothy through the lens of Greek and Roman “mirrors for princes” (specula principum) written in the first and early second centuries AD, this article intends to make a new contribution to this issue. The study’s interpretative focus lies on the idealized depiction of Timothy as a role model for early Christian officeholders as well as on the qualifications for bishops and deacons (1 Tim 3:1–13). The comparison of the features of the ideal ruler with those of ideal church leaders shows that central elements of the ecclesiology of First Timothy tap into the Greco-Roman discourse concerning ideal rulership. Yet not only that, it also helps to understand that the power that is undeniably attributed to officeholders is ultimately meant to be a soft power that serves the cause of “preservation” and “salvation” (σωτηρία).”

Pastorals Section at ETS 2019

We had a good meeting of the Pastoral Epistles Study Group at ETS last week. Stan Porter was unable to attend due to health issues, so we missed his paper. We were glad to hear, though, that he is on the mend.

David Yoon presented his paper, “The Register of Paul in 1 Timothy: Why the Pastorals May Differ in ‘Style’ than the Hauptbrief,” which summarized the linguistic category of “register” which covers what people generally refer to as “style” when they say that the style of the PE differ so much from the accepted Pauline epistles. In the end, Yoon argued there is not enough evidence to establish what an acceptable variance would be, and thus that difference in register is slim basis for any argument concerning authorship. Yoon’s analysis then agrees with the significant recent monograph by Jermo Van Nes, Pauline Language and the Pastoral Epistles: A Study of Linguistic Variation in the Corpus Paulinum (Linguistic Biblical Studies 16; Leiden: Brill, 2018).

My paper came second and was a revision of the paper I presented at the Mainz conference a couple of months earlier. My central contention was that according to the text of Titus, the ethical admonitions in the letter are not culturally driven but are rooted in the gospel itself. The ethical instruction is presented as necessary entailments of the gospel, such that to reject them is to show that one does not know God (1:16). A final version is to be published in a volume with the other essays from the Mainz conference.

Our last paper, “Salvation History in Six Lines: Reading 1 Timothy 3:16b as an Interconnected Whole,” was by John Percival who is working on a PhD at Cambridge under the supervision of Simon Gathercole. Percival noted the long-standing debate about how to read the six lines of this verse and argued that they should be read in order as following chronologically. Key to such an argument is arguing that the last line “taken up in glory” refers not to the ascension (as is often thought) but to the final enthronement of Christ. I found the argument quite persuasive. This will be part of his completed thesis, and hopefully will be published on its own as an article soon.

We are planning for next year, so if you are interested in presenting a paper next year or some time feel free to contact me at rayvanneste at

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