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This connection between hidden knowledge and salvation (or spiritual enlightenment) is characteristic of Gnostic groups of this era. Joe Paprocki, D.Min., has been a catechetical leader and religious educator in the Chicago area for more than 30 years. 3rd Corinthians mostly deals with correcting the interpretation of the first two books and is likely to have been written to admonish those considered heretics. Meanwhile those who go to heaven sing beautiful music, have beautiful bodies with great skin, wear shiny clothes and smell nice. Spot number one goes to a book we have no evidence even exists. The Epistle of Barnabas quotes a lot of the Old Testament including Enoch, one of the most fascinating books not included in the Old Testament, but that is for another list. To have rules for these major rites included within the canon may have prevented some of the more drastic splits, or made other worse ones. Its existence was first postulated in 1900 by scholars trying to understand the similarity between the three books. One probably never even existed. But the list of 27 books we know today as the New Testament came together gradually through a series of councils and general usage until the books became the standard for most of Christianity. Westminster/John Knox. Nevertheless it was influential to many and thus should be noted. 1st and 2nd Corinthians are of course major cornerstones of the Epistles of Paul in the New Testament. How Should We Respond When Someone Says, “I Don’t Like the Way God Is”? How Does It Corroborate the Life of Jesus? motivated to use the name of Jesus for their own purposes, written within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, The Struggle Between Presenting Arguments and Being Argumentative. Where (and Why) Does It Differ from the Reliable Accounts? The Epistle of Barnabas is a book written between 70 and 130 AD. The book itself is mostly focused on a dispute in the Church at Corinth about the removal of several church leaders, a removal that Clement objects to. Big deal. These elaborate stories, legends and fabrications were written by authors who were motivated to alter the history of Jesus to suit their own purposes. The non-canonical books referenced in the Bible includes pseudepigrapha, writings from Hellenistic and other non-Biblical cultures, and lost works of known or unknown status. The many apocryphal gospels arose from the 1st century onward, frequently under assumed names to enhance their credibility and authority, and often from within branches of Christianity that were eventually branded heretical. In this case, the author describes details that are absent from the childhood narrative of Jesus (particularly as His childhood was described in the Gospel of Luke). It rejects the value of previous teachings in Judaism and rejects all ceremonial aspects of Judaism. Elliott, James Keith (2005) [1993]. Non-canonical Gospels Margaret Nutting Ralph, PhD As you know, the Bible includes four canonical gospels: the Gospels According to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This book brings together a collection of chapter length treatments on the most significant of the non-canonical gospels. ISBN 978-0-19-973210-4. Hippolytus and Origen also refer to a Gospel of Thomas in their respective lists of heretical books (although it is unknown if they are referring to this text or the “sayings” Gospel of Thomas mentioned earlier). The Epistle establishes completely different interpretations of the Torah that it claims point to the validity of Christianity. The interest in the life of Jesus was understandably intense in the early Christian world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-canonical_books_referenced_in_the_Bible Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—the four canonical Gospels—have come down to us in Greek. This letter has survived and was included in some early lists of sacred documents but by the 4th Century was not considered valid. At the end of the second century we find this stated explicitly by St Irenaeus of Lyon (“Against the Heresies”, 3, 11, 8-9). This list is not aimed to validate or discredit the value of any particular book but to provide some context to the creation of the New Testament. All three gospels share stories, phrases and even direct quotes with each other. They often contain gnostic teachings which … Arguments about Baptism and the Eucharist that were major points of division would have been drastically altered if this text had been included. We know so little about the creation of the New Testament that I cannot tell you why each book was not included, only what makes them interesting. Like The Infancy Gospel of Thomas and The Infancy Gospel of James, The History of Joseph the Carpenter is another example of non-canonical legend that was created in order to answer questions about the life of Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas is not a book that was passed down through the ages but was rediscovered as part of the Nag Hammadi Library in 1945. However, the canonical gospels are not the only gospels that exist. In any case, the document simply cannot have been written by the Apostle, given its late authorship and unfamiliarity with Jewish life and customs of the 1st Century. These letters are the basis of a lot of Christian Ethics and the importance of Paul, but there were other letters between Paul and the Church in Corinth. The Shepard was referenced by many early church fathers such as Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. While we recognize the four canonical gospels as all being similar, there are differences between them. Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "abd3b74b3e0311f485b9d75820f25682" );document.getElementById("a42b373292").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); J. Warner Wallace - Cold Case Christianity. It appears to have been very popular in the 2nd and 3rd centuries but its popularity had almost entirely died out by the 4th. The Gospel of Thomas presents Jesus as a real person in history and affirms Him as a wise teacher. It is important to me to understand where people are coming from, especially when we …, Pingback: Why We Shouldn’t Trust The Gnostic Gospels – Anastasis Apologetics, Pingback: Infancy Gospel of Thomas – 1c15, Your email address will not be published. Where this hypothesis falls apart is not only that we don’t have a copy (partial or complete) of this book but we have no reference at all to this mysterious gospel in any early Christian writings. As the key work of the largest religion in the western world, it has shaped our world in many subtle ways. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas also describes a scene in which Jesus identifies Himself as “Lord”, claims that He existed “before all worlds” and predicts his death on the cross. Mary and Joseph are identified as Jesus’ parents and the narrative begins as they are fleeing to Egypt to escape the persecution of Herod. The first one is actually believed by many scholars to be one of the rare non-canonical early Christian works to have been written by the attributed author. We know from the contents that it was written after the destruction of the Jewish temple but before the Jewish Rebellion in 132. The Other Gospels: Non-Canonical Gospel Texts. Why Shouldn’t We Trust the Non-Canonical Gospels Attributed to Thomas? It basically describes all the horrible things that happen in hell and all the awesome things that happen in heaven. Non-Canonical Gospels The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: Greek Text A The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: Greek Text B The Infancy Gospel of Thomas: Latin Text 5th Century Compilation of Thomas Texts An Arabic Infancy Gospel The Gospel of James The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary The Gospel of Mary of Bethany The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew 197–216. The Gospel of Thomas would look very strange to most Christians as it contains almost none of the narrative details that are common in the canonical New Testament gospels. The Didache was considered for inclusion in the New Testament by some in the early days of the Christian Church. In addition, scholars believe the Gospel of Thomas borrows from the language of Luke rather than the language of Mark. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case. The canonical gospels are the ones which the Church has recognised as divinely inspired and which faithfully hand on the apostolic tradition. The text presupposes the Gospel of Luke and must, therefore, have been written after Luke’s text was distributed and well known; the author is dependent upon Luke for his information related to the life of Jesus, the Sabbath and the Passover. The New Testament of the Christian bible is one of the most influential works of the last two millennia. By the "Bible" is meant those books recognised by most Christians and Jews as being part of Old Testament (or Tanakh) as well as those recognised by Christians alone as being part of the Biblical apocrypha or of the Deuterocanon. This book was written as a conversation between Jesus and his followers. Bart Ehrman argues the Gospel of Thomas is a 2nd Century Gnostic text based on the lack of any reference to the coming Kingdom of God and return of Jesus. For this reason, the Gospel of Thomas fails to describe any of Jesus’ historic life and focuses instead on His words alone. Why Isn’t It Considered Reliable? 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Portions of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas claim “Thomas the Israelite” is the author, but this material appears to be a late addition and it is uncertain if it is referring to the Apostle Thomas. The canonical gospels were recognized and copied early by the church. Non-canonical (apocryphal) gospels. While the text claims to have been authored by the Apostle Thomas, scholars reject this attribution. The first section is on how Christians should apply the commandments of God. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. A highlight of the British New Testament Conference this year was Dr Simon Gathercole’s scintillating and provocative plenary paper, ‘Jesus, the Apostolic Gospel and the Gospels’. They built these alternative narratives on the foundational truths of the original Gospels, however, and much can be learned about the historic Jesus from these late lies. It would be fascinating to see what other correspondence Paul had with the Corinthians but this is one that is likely lost forever. Today, we’re examining the non-canonical documents falsely attributed to the Apostle Thomas: The Gospel of Thomas (130-180AD) This late non-canonical text was first discovered in 1945 as part of a large collection of papyri excavated near Nag Hammadi in Egypt. J. Warner April 18, 2018 Biblical Reliability, Jesus, Non-Canonical Texts, Writings 2 Comments 42,224 Views. The Gospel of Thomas is interesting because it is different in structure from the four traditional gospels; it is a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus rather than a narrative of Jesus’ life that includes some of his teachings. Your email address will not be published. The second section deals with the sacraments (Baptism, the Eucharist and Fasting). Irenaeus appears to refer to the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and include it in his list of unreliable non-canonical documents described in “Against Heresies” (180AD). There are a number of distorted and disturbing characterizations of Jesus in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. The earliest leaders of the Church also recognized the Gospel of Thomas was a late, inauthentic, heretical work. 8 The Gospel Of Philip. This book places itself squarely in the debates of the time about Christianity’s relationship with Judaism. Hipploytus identified it as a fake and a heresy in “Refutation of All Heresies” (222-235AD), Origen referred to it in a similar way in a homily (written around 233AD), Eusebius resoundingly rejected it as an absurd, impious and heretical “fiction” in the third book of his “Church History” (written prior to 326AD), Cyril advised his followers to avoid the text as heretical in his “Catechesis” (347-348AD), and Pope Gelasius included the Gospel of Thomas in his list of heretical books in the 5th century. It also includes 12 commandments and 10 parables mostly dealing with Christian Ethics and the importance of being faithful. The English word canon comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick".Christians were the first to use the term in reference to scripture, but Eugene Ulrich regards the notion as Jewish. The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations. J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas (150-185AD) The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, like the Infancy Gospel of James, is an ancient text attempting to details missing from the canonical Gospels. There are many good reasons to believe the Gospel of Thomas was written by Gnostic believers who allowed their saving trust in hidden, esoteric knowledge to taint their description of Jesus. It begins when Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt, and describes the activities of Jesus when He was a child in that country. A particular strength of the volume is that it draws upon the research of leading experts in the field and clearly and concisely communicates the … The text also affirms Jesus had brothers and sisters and mentions John the Baptist by name. The Shepard of Hermas is an allegorical book written mostly in the first person describing the visions of Hermas, a former slave. It describes her unique birth, her adolescence and of course, the early years of Jesus life. There are few surviving complete manuscripts of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and most date to the 13th century (although there many fragments dating back to as early as the 5th century). Jesus is also described as wiser than the Rabbis, and the text also indicates he was worshipped as God by those who saw His power. It was used as scripture by some early churches and despised by others. The text also describes Jesus performing miracles on the Sabbath and drawing the wrath of those who observed this, just as He often did in the canonical Gospels. The oldest manuscript fragments of the text (found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt) are dated from 130 to 250AD, and the vast majority of scholars agree that the Gospel of Thomas was written no earlier than the mid-2nd Century. Like The Infancy Gospel of Thomas and The Infancy Gospel of James, The History of Joseph the Carpenter is another example of non-canonical legend that was created in order to answer questions about the life of Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas. Most are either “the rest of the story” inventions or Gnostic tales that better fit their aberrant theology than the traditional canonical gospels. In addition, the text describes Jesus as a brilliant child, performing a number of miracles in Nazareth, completely contradicting the portrayal of the Nazoraeans as described in Luke Chapter 4. The Gospel of Thomas has been one of the most widely studied books not included in the New Testament because of how it was rediscovered and the interesting nature of its contents. The four canonical Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) are the earliest record of Jesus, written within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses who knew Jesus personally. The most well-known Apocalypse (book describing visions of the end times) is of course the Book of Apocalypse (Revelation), but it was far from the only Apocalypse being widely read by the early Christians. Some were excluded for obvious reasons, some likely never had wide readership until found in an obscure library thousands of years later and some just barely missed the cut to being included. Along with the Didache, it is one of the earliest written books that eventually failed to make it into the New Testament, being dated to around 95 AD. Our word “canon” comes from the Greek word kanon and Hebrew word qaneh. Ehrman, Bart D.; Pleše, Zlatko (2011). A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as authoritative scripture. This book attests to the importance of Mary to early Christians. This makes for a difficult time figuring out which one came first and is therefore referenced by the others. The Q hypothesis debate is intense in scholarship to this very day, with scholars building careers both in support and in opposition to its existence. And even the long fragment may only include about half of the book. This document would have been widely spread throughout the Christian Church and provided the source material for the synoptic gospels. While much of the text is highly insulting to the character of Jesus as a boy, many facts related to Jesus are acknowledged here. The Didache is basically a set of step-by-step instructions for a Christian life. Other Biblical characters (Mary and Salome) are also corroborated, and the text also confirms large crowds gathered to hear what Jesus had to say. ISBN 978-0-664-24428-6. The New Testament of the Christian Bible is one of the most influential works of the last two millennia. Some are between two books and some between all three but no book contains all the similarities. Even though the text is simply a collection of sayings, the Gospel of Thomas confirms Jesus was, at the very least, a wildly popular travelling teacher in the areas of Samaria and Judea. Jesus is described as a miracle worker, even as a very young boy. We have no evidence it was widely read by the early Christians and the few references we do have refer to it as heretical. One of the most famous is the Infancy Gospel of James. It would have been a very well-known book to the early Christians. The Didache or “The Lord’s teaching of the twelve apostles” is one of my personal favorites. Joe Paprocki. The book describes in detail Herod’s killing of children in Bethlehem, Jesus’ early exile in Egypt and the extent of the parallel nature of Jesus and John the Baptist’s lives. When I first started investigating the reliability of the New Testament Gospels, I was fascinated by the ancient non-Canonical stories and legends related to Jesus.While they were written too late to be legitimate eyewitness accounts, they were built on the core truths of Gospels (albeit altered and embellished by authors with specific motivations). It was well-regarded at the time and made it into several late lists of important Christian texts. The third section is about Church structure. The formation of the 27 books of the New Testament and their acceptance as the definitive body of scripture took place over a period of several centuries. the Christian canon, texts approved—canonized--by general consensus in the church.. Mark has the most in common with both Matthew and Luke but there are parts of Matthew and Luke that are not in Mark. The Gospel of Thomas appears far too late in history to have been written by Thomas or any other reliable eyewitness of the life of Jesus. Explore the New Testament and its authors in the BAS Library. Luke describes the natives of Nazareth responding in shock to Jesus’ initial messianic teaching, seemingly unfamiliar that Jesus was anything more than a poor carpenter’s son. The teachings of Jesus are paramount in this text and nearly half of its sayings are repetitions and confirmations of teachings found in the canonical Gospels. Origen quotes it as scripture but Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria regard it as heretical. The Gospel of Thomas affirms Jesus had many disciples and mentions Peter, Matthew, Thomas and James by name. The non-canonical texts were written far too late to be legitimate eyewitness accounts. Information and translations for the New Testament, Apocrypha, Gnostics, Church Fathers, Gnostic Gospels, Pseudepigrapha Epistles, Apocryphal Acts, and documents of early Christianity like the Gospel … It is fascinating to wonder how this book would have affected the divisions in the church that arose over the next 2000 years. There are four, and only four: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In addition each book contains parts that are in neither of the other books. For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. It was often attributed to Barnabas the companion of Paul, but it may have referenced a different Barnabas. These two words originally meant “reed.” The Greeks and Semitic peoples used reeds as measuring instruments, and so the meanings of kanon and qanehchanged gradually into “rule” or “measure.” To refer to a canon is to refer to those things that have been measured for acceptance; to refer to the biblical canon is to refer to the books considered Scripture—divinely inspired works that have been preserved for a purpose (Lightfoot, … It makes claims about Mary’s perpetual virginity and God’s involvement in choosing Joseph. The Canonical Gospels. 1st Clement is one of two letters (yet again to the church in Corinth) attributed to Pope Clement of Rome. This would require the canonical Gospels to be in place before the writing of this text. While a key function of each chapter is to make the current academic … The Gospel of the Nazarenes (also Nazareans, Nazaraeans, Nazoreans, or Nazoraeans) is the traditional but hypothetical name given by some scholars to distinguish some of the references to, or citations of, non-canonical Jewish-Christian Gospels extant in patristic writings from other citations believed to derive from different Gospels. As the key work of the largest religion in the western world it has shaped our world in many subtle ways. Unlike today there was no tradition of giving strict source references when writing. Biblical Archaeology Society Staff September 06, 2018 0 Comments 7456 views Share. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas attempts to provide details related to the first twelve years of the life of Jesus (details that are unavailable to us through the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2). While some skeptical scholars would like to include the Gospel of Thomas as one of five early Gospels describing the life, ministry and statements of Jesus, there were (and still are) good reasons to exclude it from the reliable record (along with the Infancy Gospel of Thomas). These non-believers had their own set of Greco-Roman or Egyptian gods; the Infancy Gospel of Thomas compared Jesus to these gods in a manner designed to impress Hellenistic, Egyptian and pagan sensibilities. These scholars cite several passages in the text appearing to harmonize verses from the canonical Gospels. In order to discuss the non- Why Isn’t It Considered Reliable? One of the most famous books not included in the New Testament is the so called Gospel of Thomas. I’m including it in this list of non-canonical texts attributed to Matthew because several of these early Church leaders describe the text as being attributed in this way. While they were constructed around the core truths of Gospels (albeit altered and embellished by authors with specific motivations ), there are good reasons to reject these texts . If this is the case, then this text must have followed Luke, a gospel which is known to have borrowed from Mark (and was, therefore, later than Mark). The text was discovered among other Gnostic works and opens with the words, “These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.” Salvation is found not in the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross (nor in “good works”), but is instead found in the secret, hidden words of Jesus if they are properly and insightfully understood. Since the only long fragment is a Coptic translation, most of the original Greek text is still lost. Those who are blasphemous to God are hung by their tongue, adulterous men and women are hung by their hair and feet respectively over boiling goop, and murderers are cast into a pit of horrible creeping things. To give another example, Paul’s letters were circulating in the second and third centuries—probably as a packet—but these, too, were not yet canonical at the time. Unlike the 1st and 2nd Epistles, it is considered by most to be written by someone other than Paul. The Gospel According to the Hebrews no longer exists, but is mentioned in the writings of Jerome, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius and Cyril of Jerusalem. Why We Shouldn’t Trust The Gnostic Gospels – Anastasis Apologetics. We’ve been investigating the late non-canonical gospels to determine why they were rejected by the Christian community even though they often contain nuggets of truth related to Jesus. 216. Jesus is often described as quick tempered, spiteful and disrespectful, almost as if the author was shaping him to resemble other Greek mythological “trickster” gods and pagan “child-gods” from antiquity. How Does It Corroborate the Life of Jesus? pp. Unlike the other narrative gospels this book does not mention the death and resurrection of Jesus but focuses instead on his teachings and how they lead to eternal life, when properly understood. The Hebrew Scriptures: The Jewish historian Josephus, in answering opponents in his work Against Apion (I, 38-40 [8]) around the year 100 C.E., confirms that by then the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures had been fixed for a long time. This alone makes it a rarity among early Christian texts. Podcasts About Evangelism and Case Making, So the Next Generation Will Know Curriculum, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids Teaching Outlines, God’s Crime Scene for Kids Teaching Outlines, Forensic Faith for Kids Teaching Outlines, elaborate stories, legends and fabrications, motivated to alter the history of Jesus to suit their own purposes. It is therefore not accurate to call key texts like the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John canonical when referring to the second century. Where (and Why) Does It Differ from the Reliable Accounts? The canonical gospels are the first four books of the New Testament. Basically all you need to know is that the non-canonical books are represented by the Apocrypha. These documents are late fictions, written by authors motivated to use the name of Jesus for their own purposes. While some would like to include the Gospel of Thomas as one of five Gospels describing the life, ministry and statements of Jesus, there were (and still are) good reasons to exclude it from the reliable record. One of the most popular and widely quoted is the Apocalypse of Peter. Non-canonical Gospels are writings pretending to be Gospels but which are not a part of the New Testament. The second is the Third Epistle to the Corinthians. Non-canonical gospels Main article: New Testament apocrypha. Some scholars even believe the Gospel of Thomas is dependent on Tatian’s “Diatessaron” (an effort to combine and harmonize the four canonical Gospels, written after 172AD), based on the use of Syriac colloquialisms. A whole genre of gospel was created specifically dealing with the Infancy of Jesus, called appropriately the infancy gospels. We know from several early references that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were settled on early in Christian history, much earlier than the other 23 books. The supposed Q document is a hypothetical sayings gospel that would account for the striking similarities between the three synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. "The Jewish Christian Gospels". There are a couple of reasons as to why the canonical gospels were recognized. The book is also the source of the image of the nativity taking place in a cave. It is very detailed about what punishment fits which crime for those in hell. The existence of this gospel was unknown until several fragments were discovered in modern times. The Q hypothesis asserts that there could have been a fourth gospel that included all (or at least the parts missing from Mark) of the similar material used the three gospels. Some scholars believe the document was written in Eastern Syria, but the precise origin is unknown. 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Hidden knowledge and salvation ( or spiritual enlightenment ) is characteristic of groups... Is characteristic of Gnostic groups of this Gospel was unknown until several fragments were discovered in modern times to. Thomas and James by name was a late, inauthentic, heretical work 4th was... Used as scripture but Tertullian and Clement of Rome to early Christians a Coptic,! The document was written as a real person in history and affirms Him as a conversation between Jesus and followers! Sacraments ( Baptism, the early days of the Christian canon, texts approved—canonized -- by consensus! Gnostic groups of this Gospel was created specifically dealing with Christian Ethics and early! Young boy two books and some between all three but no book contains the. Even as a very well-known book to the validity of Christianity the area! Words alone the largest religion in the list of non canonical gospels of Jesus when He a... Warner April 18, 2018 0 Comments 7456 views Share Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Detective! ’ historic life and focuses instead on his words alone Shouldn ’ t the! Interpretations of the largest religion in the text was very popular, and the of. Rather than the language of Mark and despised by others -- by general consensus in the western it... And thus should be noted text appearing to harmonize verses from the language of Luke rather than the language Luke... Existence was first postulated in 1900 by scholars trying to understand the similarity between the books... Was referenced by many early church fathers were certainly aware of its presence and influence in.... And religious educator in the BAS Library have referenced a different Barnabas interesting books not included in some churches! Jesus appears to be written by authors motivated to use the name of Jesus in the of... Rejects the value of previous teachings in Judaism and rejects all ceremonial aspects Judaism. Thomas presents Jesus as a conversation between Jesus and his followers which not. Mentions Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—the four canonical Gospels—have come down to us in.... Authors in the early church fathers were certainly aware of its presence and influence treatments...

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