Easter: Exploring the Resurrection of Jesus

What can Bible scholars teach us about Easter? Discover the resurrection narrative in the Gospels, Jewish tradition and art in order to understand the Easter story in its ancient and modern contexts.

In the free eBook Easter: Exploring the Resurrection of Jesus, expert Bible scholars offer in-depth reflections on the resurrection.

Not even the intense drama and tragedy of Jesus’ trial, passion, death and burial can prepare one for the utter shock at what comes next in the well-known story: Jesus’ resurrection. The Gospels recount varying stories of the disciples’ astonishment and confusion as they encounter the resurrected Jesus.


Chapter 1
Locating the Encounter with the resurrected Jesus

On the road to Emmaus

The Gospel of Luke tells of one such meeting on the road to Emmaus. There is considerable controversy among archaeologists as to which among nine sites may be identified as Biblical Emmaus. In the first chapter of this free eBbook, “Emmaus Where Christ Appeared,” Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks puts forth Emmaus Nicopolis as the leading contender.

Chapter 2
Understanding the Meaning of Resurrection in the ancient world

What did resurrection mean to the earliest Christians?

What did the concept of resurrection mean to the earliest Christians? In what ways did it evolve from—and depart from—contemporaneous ideas about death and the afterlife? Author N.T. Wright traces the origins of the idea of bodily resurrection to first-century Judaism in “The Resurrection of Resurrection,” the second chapter of this free eBook.

Chapter 3
Understanding the Meaning of Resurrection

What does resurrection mean to us today?

And what about the wide range of modern interpretations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In the third chapter of this free eBook, “Thinking about Easter,” Marcus J. Borg questions just how literally and physically we should take the gospel accounts of the resurrected Jesus to be.

Chapter 4
Understanding the Resurrection of Jesus in the Bible

The resurrection in the Gospel of Mark

The interpretation of the Gospel of Mark in particular challenges Bible scholars because at least nine versions of its conclusion have been identified in 1,700 surviving ancient Greek manuscripts and early translations. In the fourth chapter of this free eBook, “To Be Continued…,” author Michael W. Holmes stresses the importance of piecing together the end Mark’s resurrection story.

Chapter 5
Understanding The Resurrection of Jesus in Art and Poetry

The resurrection is a well-loved artistic subject

All questions of historicity and scholarship aside, the encounters of the resurrected Jesus with his disciples have been well-loved artistic subjects for centuries. A carved ivory plaque from northern Spain in the 12th century depicts two scenes: the meeting of Jesus and his disciples on the road to Emmaus and Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb. In the fifth chapter of this free ebook, “The Resurrection,” this intricate carving accompanies a poem by the medieval French bishop Marbod of Rennes contemplating Jesus’ choice of Mary Magdalene as the first witness of the resurrection.

Chapter 6
Understanding Jesus' Tomb and the Resurrection of Jesus through Art

Peter and John hurry to the empty tomb

The 1898 painting The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by Swiss artist Eugene Burnand captures the next event in the resurrection story. The disciples Peter and John hurry to investigate the story Mary Magdalene has just told them of the empty tomb with the stone rolled away. “To the Tomb,” the sixth chapter of this free eBook, explains the disciples’ mixed emotions and the significance of the missing tomb in this evocative painting.

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33 Responses

  1. Albert says:

    Ots good to explore.

  2. Mona Taylor says:

    Interesting and enlightening

  3. John says:

    Eric says: “……..original KJV version of the Bible in Acts 12:4 (the correct translation ‘Passover’ has been revised in the new KJV).” Yes, bad translation……….it should not have been Easter and if you would care to look at an interlinear translation you will find that the word should have been translated Passover………the word easter does not even occur in the Bible…….and first century Christians only celebrated Jesus death, every Nisan 14.

  4. John says:

    The quoted book says: “And what about the wide range of modern interpretations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In the third chapter of this free eBook, “Thinking about Easter,” Marcus J. Borg questions just how literally and physically we should take the gospel accounts of the resurrected Jesus to be.”
    According to the Bible, there is no room for human interpretations……….ALL scripture is inspired by God. First, the word easter is not contained in God’s Word………”it is of pagan origin. “originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre.”” (The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)
    Second , Christians were only told to remember his death, and the reason of what that sacrificial death meant for Christians……….nothing else

    1. Valentin Viktorov says:

      Word “Easter” has not be used in Gospels for sure because they had been written in Greek and not in English. Instead Gospels (Matthew’s and John’s) used the word “Paskha” that was quite Jewish in origin. This word came the New Testament from the Old one.

  5. John says:

    Interestingly, Jesus said that Christians should remember or commemorate his death. he said nothing about remembering his resurrection. Jesus resurrection was a foregone conclusion, in fulfilment of the first prophecy in the Bible at Genesis 3:15, because the the seed of God’s woman (Jesus), was only to be bruised in the heel, showing that Satan’s ‘victory’ was very short lived
    He (Satan) managed to have the Jews put Jesus to death, but, only for less than 3 days……….as the Bible states Jesus had to undergo this death as a sacrifice for all mankind……….not that all mankind accept the provisions of that sacrifice.
    In the ‘not too distant’ future the other part of Genesis 3:15 will be fulfilled, when Satan’s head is crushed by the resurrected Jesus Christ. The King of God’s Kingdom. (See Matthew 6:10; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13, 14)

  6. Eric says:

    ‘Easter’ is the anglicized name of the pagan deity Astarte (a.k.a. Venus). It was erroneously translated in the original KJV version of the Bible in Acts 12:4 (the correct translation ‘Passover’ has been revised in the new KJV). The error was due to the proximity of the Passover with the Easter celebration.

    It is a Pagan spring festival to commemorate the birth of Venus, and celebrated with eggs and rabbits to symbolize rebirth and fertility. When the Roman empire ’embraced’ Christianity as her state religion, many such beliefs, practices and observations of pagan Rome were conveniently incorporated into this new state religion. This is the fulfillment of the parable in Matthew 13:33 of the woman who added leaven in three measure of meal. Over the centuries, this error had solidify to become part of the so-called ‘Christian tradition’, so much so that it is integral to Christendom, and very difficult to remove.

  7. Tim White says:

    All of these strongly held and differing positions on an intresting question demonstrates to me that there is so much about the gospel account that we do not yet have certainty. And that is a healthy sign since we seek the real facts. And know we will all be surprised when someday they are revealed. We don’t want a truth but the truth and humbly admit there is so much me do not know and are excited to explore. If we lose our sense of mystery we become a cult. All that said, I think Sunday was resurrection day.

  8. John says:

    Follow the teaching of the HOLY SPIRIT,for HE will reveal the truth.

    1. John says:

      Perhaps I missed something in my Bible reading: He the holy spirit where does it say that? I am very interested in your reply………but, please no spurious scriptures.

      1. John says:

        Also when we look at scriptures like, Acts 7:55 where it says that Stephen was filled with holy spirit when talking, just before he was stoned and died; Acts 11:24 says that Barnabas was full of holy spirit; Acts 13:9 points out that the apostle Paul was filled with holy spirit; Romans 15:19 says that Paul was able to preach because he was filled with holy spirit; etc., etc………..we therefore can see that the holy spirit is a guiding force from God……NOT a person.

  9. Raj kumar says:

    Jesus says that people who belive in him without asking any reason are his true followers so I think it is wrong to fight for Saturday or Sunday .

    1. John says:

      However, Raj, you should not have “blind” faith…….you must study God’s Word and come to know it is the truth. As Hebrews 11:1 says Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for even though we cannot see these things. We therefore have to know the promises contained in the Bible to believe in them, even though we have not seen the evidence. You cannot believe, or put faith in something, that you know nothing about.

  10. Moses says:

    Rev is very correct and accurate. Thank you. Like Jonas was in the belly of the fish 3 days and 3 night, Jesus was dead 3 days and 3 nights. That’s important. I hope Rev’s article liberates God’s people from Satan’s Good Friday and Easter lie

  11. Rev. Weber says:

    Commentator: please correct my response to say: …regardless of whatever day it falls on. Also my link is in need of correction as it is DOUBLED. Please remove the 2nd/repeated link. Thank you.

  12. Rev. Weber says:

    Just a note: Passover is considered a Sabbath regardless it falls on. It is a day of rest. A high holy day = Sabbath. So a week with a Holy day such as Passover would have 2 Sabbaths. Yeshua had an early seder with His disciples. He ate with them on the day of preparation: Wednesday. He was arrested Wednesday night (Nisan 14 began at Sunset Wednesday and continued through Thursday). Executed Thursday while the lambs were still being sacrificed at the Temple on Nisan 14. Thursday night He had to be buried because the High Sabbath was coming that night into Friday (Nisan 15). He was left in the tomb Friday/Saturday as the High & the weekly Sabbath allowed for NO work. The women came Sunday morning following the Sabbaths to officially anoint the body (Nisan 17). Sunday morning is Reishit Katzir or the Beginning of the Feast of First Fruits. He was in the tomb for 3 full literal nights according to the Lord’s calendar. He arose on Sunday morning the 3rd day. — This is understanding the Hebrew evening -evening dating and the High Holy Days. See http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/First_Fruits/first_fruits.htmlhttp://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/First_Fruits/first_fruits.html

    1. John says:

      If you go to a reputable Jewish calendar you will find that Nisan 14, 33 CE fell on Friday, April 1st of that year. and according to God’s Word, Jesus was resurrected three days later………..although the date of Jesus death is important, so that his sacrifice can be remembered, we should not loose sight of the real reason as to why he offered up his perfect human life. The sabbaths are no longer a requirement for Christians to keep……..along with the rest of the Mosaic Law.

    2. John says:

      Rev, I am afraid your math needs work – 2nd to last sentence???

  13. Marie francoise Soren-dugoujon says:

    Growing up in a nunnery in World War Two , we stopped everything on Wednesday at 3pm to pray for Jesus. Then we celebrate good Friday as the day he died ????, I really do not think that on those day they counted like today. We have a full moon and Easter is early. Let’s concentrate on Jesus life and try to like one an other…

  14. Raymond says:

    Gents greetings.As it is written in Genesis chapter 1 the evening and the morning was the first day, so the darkness signifies the start of a day and the light signifies the second part of the day. Therefore Daniel 9v27 gives us an indication that in the mids of the week the oblations will cease. The mids of the week would let us know that Christ was crucified on a wednesday an would be buried before the Highday Sabbath which came on the thursday. Also that Christ rose after three days and three nights which took us to the end of the regular seventh day sabbath. Kindly examine these points and you will understand theseries of the events.

  15. GODETIA says:

    I’m not a theologian but to my understanding the first day is on a Sunday YESHUA rose on the first day so he was crucified on the sixth day which makes Saturday the seventh day a sabbath of rest, hence they called the church people from Seventh Day Adventist sabbath keepers. God rested on the seventh day from all his work meaning from creating the world calling things into being, and ask mankind to keep the seventh day holy unto the Lord. When Jesus was being attacked for healing the crippled man on the sabbath he ask the people if their ass or donkey should fall into the ditch even though on the Sabbath wouldn’t they have pulled it out he also put to our attention that the Father works and so he works also . The BIBLE DECLARES THAT ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK COMETH MARY MAGDALENE TO THE TOMB AND SAW THAT THE STONE AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE TOMB OF THE MESSIAH HAS BEEN ROLLED AWAY. ( The annointed one)

  16. Alan Townsend sr says:

    praise the lord!…we are to love another…stop this senseless debating…some people don,t believe in what they cant see..thats cuz their looking with their mind,and not their heart…jesus was about love

  17. Bill Sosebee says:

    We are to literal in interpreting Bible events. The Resurrection is a theological event proclaiming that ultimately life overcomes death, good overcomes evil, and God is sovereign over all. In these things we also experience the Resurrection of Christ.

  18. David says:

    If Friday was the first day, Saturday would be the second, Sunday the third. If you consider part of a day to be a whole day.

  19. dankta says:

    It should be saterday… right.?

  20. haley says:

    if ypu notice one of the pictures is alominaty

  21. Diana Watson says:

    Wow to Jonathan. You need to read up on your bible and study what a day means. A day for the Hebrews starts at sundown and ends at the next sundown. Jesus died sometime in the afternoon on Friday right before the Sabbath which started at sundown. So they had to rush to bury him. They quickly bathed the body, rubbed ointments on it, covered it in special herbs and flowers for the dead, wrapped him in linen and placed him in the tomb before sundown so Friday is the first day, the Sabbath (Saturday) is the second day. Scripture clearly says on the 3rd day he rose up from the dead in the morning. That is Sunday. Easter (which was named after Astoreth (aka Ishtar) is always and has always been on Sunday. The 3rd day. It is a by the week thing.

  22. Nathan Love says:

    I appreciate your publications!

  23. Nathan Love says:

    Thank you!

  24. Krzysztof says:

    ups. all numbers have a smbolic meaning.

  25. Krzysztof says:

    Mr.Jonathan: as I know the biblical term “three days” means “a short time” and not the numbers like other numbers in Bible

  26. Jonathan Lankford says:

    April 17, 2014

    Today was resurrection day, 3 days and nights after Passover, which was on April 14, 2014, since the new moon was first sighted in Israel the evening before April 1, 2014. This means that resurrection day is not on Sunday this year.

    With the knowledge and able-minded people that BAR has working on projects, I find it totally repugnant that they still refer to resurrection day as “Easter” which is the exact name and pronunciation of the sex goddess.

    I know that BAR’s purpose is not enter into theological discussions or write reviews on such matters, but BAR should at least get the labeling right = Resurrection Day.

Write a Reply or Comment

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33 Responses

  1. Albert says:

    Ots good to explore.

  2. Mona Taylor says:

    Interesting and enlightening

  3. John says:

    Eric says: “……..original KJV version of the Bible in Acts 12:4 (the correct translation ‘Passover’ has been revised in the new KJV).” Yes, bad translation……….it should not have been Easter and if you would care to look at an interlinear translation you will find that the word should have been translated Passover………the word easter does not even occur in the Bible…….and first century Christians only celebrated Jesus death, every Nisan 14.

  4. John says:

    The quoted book says: “And what about the wide range of modern interpretations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In the third chapter of this free eBook, “Thinking about Easter,” Marcus J. Borg questions just how literally and physically we should take the gospel accounts of the resurrected Jesus to be.”
    According to the Bible, there is no room for human interpretations……….ALL scripture is inspired by God. First, the word easter is not contained in God’s Word………”it is of pagan origin. “originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre.”” (The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)
    Second , Christians were only told to remember his death, and the reason of what that sacrificial death meant for Christians……….nothing else

    1. Valentin Viktorov says:

      Word “Easter” has not be used in Gospels for sure because they had been written in Greek and not in English. Instead Gospels (Matthew’s and John’s) used the word “Paskha” that was quite Jewish in origin. This word came the New Testament from the Old one.

  5. John says:

    Interestingly, Jesus said that Christians should remember or commemorate his death. he said nothing about remembering his resurrection. Jesus resurrection was a foregone conclusion, in fulfilment of the first prophecy in the Bible at Genesis 3:15, because the the seed of God’s woman (Jesus), was only to be bruised in the heel, showing that Satan’s ‘victory’ was very short lived
    He (Satan) managed to have the Jews put Jesus to death, but, only for less than 3 days……….as the Bible states Jesus had to undergo this death as a sacrifice for all mankind……….not that all mankind accept the provisions of that sacrifice.
    In the ‘not too distant’ future the other part of Genesis 3:15 will be fulfilled, when Satan’s head is crushed by the resurrected Jesus Christ. The King of God’s Kingdom. (See Matthew 6:10; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:13, 14)

  6. Eric says:

    ‘Easter’ is the anglicized name of the pagan deity Astarte (a.k.a. Venus). It was erroneously translated in the original KJV version of the Bible in Acts 12:4 (the correct translation ‘Passover’ has been revised in the new KJV). The error was due to the proximity of the Passover with the Easter celebration.

    It is a Pagan spring festival to commemorate the birth of Venus, and celebrated with eggs and rabbits to symbolize rebirth and fertility. When the Roman empire ’embraced’ Christianity as her state religion, many such beliefs, practices and observations of pagan Rome were conveniently incorporated into this new state religion. This is the fulfillment of the parable in Matthew 13:33 of the woman who added leaven in three measure of meal. Over the centuries, this error had solidify to become part of the so-called ‘Christian tradition’, so much so that it is integral to Christendom, and very difficult to remove.

  7. Tim White says:

    All of these strongly held and differing positions on an intresting question demonstrates to me that there is so much about the gospel account that we do not yet have certainty. And that is a healthy sign since we seek the real facts. And know we will all be surprised when someday they are revealed. We don’t want a truth but the truth and humbly admit there is so much me do not know and are excited to explore. If we lose our sense of mystery we become a cult. All that said, I think Sunday was resurrection day.

  8. John says:

    Follow the teaching of the HOLY SPIRIT,for HE will reveal the truth.

    1. John says:

      Perhaps I missed something in my Bible reading: He the holy spirit where does it say that? I am very interested in your reply………but, please no spurious scriptures.

      1. John says:

        Also when we look at scriptures like, Acts 7:55 where it says that Stephen was filled with holy spirit when talking, just before he was stoned and died; Acts 11:24 says that Barnabas was full of holy spirit; Acts 13:9 points out that the apostle Paul was filled with holy spirit; Romans 15:19 says that Paul was able to preach because he was filled with holy spirit; etc., etc………..we therefore can see that the holy spirit is a guiding force from God……NOT a person.

  9. Raj kumar says:

    Jesus says that people who belive in him without asking any reason are his true followers so I think it is wrong to fight for Saturday or Sunday .

    1. John says:

      However, Raj, you should not have “blind” faith…….you must study God’s Word and come to know it is the truth. As Hebrews 11:1 says Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for even though we cannot see these things. We therefore have to know the promises contained in the Bible to believe in them, even though we have not seen the evidence. You cannot believe, or put faith in something, that you know nothing about.

  10. Moses says:

    Rev is very correct and accurate. Thank you. Like Jonas was in the belly of the fish 3 days and 3 night, Jesus was dead 3 days and 3 nights. That’s important. I hope Rev’s article liberates God’s people from Satan’s Good Friday and Easter lie

  11. Rev. Weber says:

    Commentator: please correct my response to say: …regardless of whatever day it falls on. Also my link is in need of correction as it is DOUBLED. Please remove the 2nd/repeated link. Thank you.

  12. Rev. Weber says:

    Just a note: Passover is considered a Sabbath regardless it falls on. It is a day of rest. A high holy day = Sabbath. So a week with a Holy day such as Passover would have 2 Sabbaths. Yeshua had an early seder with His disciples. He ate with them on the day of preparation: Wednesday. He was arrested Wednesday night (Nisan 14 began at Sunset Wednesday and continued through Thursday). Executed Thursday while the lambs were still being sacrificed at the Temple on Nisan 14. Thursday night He had to be buried because the High Sabbath was coming that night into Friday (Nisan 15). He was left in the tomb Friday/Saturday as the High & the weekly Sabbath allowed for NO work. The women came Sunday morning following the Sabbaths to officially anoint the body (Nisan 17). Sunday morning is Reishit Katzir or the Beginning of the Feast of First Fruits. He was in the tomb for 3 full literal nights according to the Lord’s calendar. He arose on Sunday morning the 3rd day. — This is understanding the Hebrew evening -evening dating and the High Holy Days. See http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/First_Fruits/first_fruits.htmlhttp://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Spring_Holidays/First_Fruits/first_fruits.html

    1. John says:

      If you go to a reputable Jewish calendar you will find that Nisan 14, 33 CE fell on Friday, April 1st of that year. and according to God’s Word, Jesus was resurrected three days later………..although the date of Jesus death is important, so that his sacrifice can be remembered, we should not loose sight of the real reason as to why he offered up his perfect human life. The sabbaths are no longer a requirement for Christians to keep……..along with the rest of the Mosaic Law.

    2. John says:

      Rev, I am afraid your math needs work – 2nd to last sentence???

  13. Marie francoise Soren-dugoujon says:

    Growing up in a nunnery in World War Two , we stopped everything on Wednesday at 3pm to pray for Jesus. Then we celebrate good Friday as the day he died ????, I really do not think that on those day they counted like today. We have a full moon and Easter is early. Let’s concentrate on Jesus life and try to like one an other…

  14. Raymond says:

    Gents greetings.As it is written in Genesis chapter 1 the evening and the morning was the first day, so the darkness signifies the start of a day and the light signifies the second part of the day. Therefore Daniel 9v27 gives us an indication that in the mids of the week the oblations will cease. The mids of the week would let us know that Christ was crucified on a wednesday an would be buried before the Highday Sabbath which came on the thursday. Also that Christ rose after three days and three nights which took us to the end of the regular seventh day sabbath. Kindly examine these points and you will understand theseries of the events.

  15. GODETIA says:

    I’m not a theologian but to my understanding the first day is on a Sunday YESHUA rose on the first day so he was crucified on the sixth day which makes Saturday the seventh day a sabbath of rest, hence they called the church people from Seventh Day Adventist sabbath keepers. God rested on the seventh day from all his work meaning from creating the world calling things into being, and ask mankind to keep the seventh day holy unto the Lord. When Jesus was being attacked for healing the crippled man on the sabbath he ask the people if their ass or donkey should fall into the ditch even though on the Sabbath wouldn’t they have pulled it out he also put to our attention that the Father works and so he works also . The BIBLE DECLARES THAT ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK COMETH MARY MAGDALENE TO THE TOMB AND SAW THAT THE STONE AT THE ENTRANCE OF THE TOMB OF THE MESSIAH HAS BEEN ROLLED AWAY. ( The annointed one)

  16. Alan Townsend sr says:

    praise the lord!…we are to love another…stop this senseless debating…some people don,t believe in what they cant see..thats cuz their looking with their mind,and not their heart…jesus was about love

  17. Bill Sosebee says:

    We are to literal in interpreting Bible events. The Resurrection is a theological event proclaiming that ultimately life overcomes death, good overcomes evil, and God is sovereign over all. In these things we also experience the Resurrection of Christ.

  18. David says:

    If Friday was the first day, Saturday would be the second, Sunday the third. If you consider part of a day to be a whole day.

  19. dankta says:

    It should be saterday… right.?

  20. haley says:

    if ypu notice one of the pictures is alominaty

  21. Diana Watson says:

    Wow to Jonathan. You need to read up on your bible and study what a day means. A day for the Hebrews starts at sundown and ends at the next sundown. Jesus died sometime in the afternoon on Friday right before the Sabbath which started at sundown. So they had to rush to bury him. They quickly bathed the body, rubbed ointments on it, covered it in special herbs and flowers for the dead, wrapped him in linen and placed him in the tomb before sundown so Friday is the first day, the Sabbath (Saturday) is the second day. Scripture clearly says on the 3rd day he rose up from the dead in the morning. That is Sunday. Easter (which was named after Astoreth (aka Ishtar) is always and has always been on Sunday. The 3rd day. It is a by the week thing.

  22. Nathan Love says:

    I appreciate your publications!

  23. Nathan Love says:

    Thank you!

  24. Krzysztof says:

    ups. all numbers have a smbolic meaning.

  25. Krzysztof says:

    Mr.Jonathan: as I know the biblical term “three days” means “a short time” and not the numbers like other numbers in Bible

  26. Jonathan Lankford says:

    April 17, 2014

    Today was resurrection day, 3 days and nights after Passover, which was on April 14, 2014, since the new moon was first sighted in Israel the evening before April 1, 2014. This means that resurrection day is not on Sunday this year.

    With the knowledge and able-minded people that BAR has working on projects, I find it totally repugnant that they still refer to resurrection day as “Easter” which is the exact name and pronunciation of the sex goddess.

    I know that BAR’s purpose is not enter into theological discussions or write reviews on such matters, but BAR should at least get the labeling right = Resurrection Day.

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