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Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified? 
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Post Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?

This chapter addresses one of the most controversial arguments presented by astrotheology, the meaning of crucifixion. In the first part of the movie Zeitgeist, work by D.M. Murdock was used to present a simplified version of the argument that Jesus Christ did not exist. The comparison between Christ and Horus was part of this argument, with the claim that Horus was crucified and that Christianity took this motif from Egypt. The observation that there are no Egyptian pictures of Horus literally nailed to a tree has been used by critics to question the entirety of the astrotheological reading of the Bible.

But the fact is that crucifixion, as a religious symbol, is far older and more complex than the simple Christian icon. In the chapter Was Horus Crucified? Murdock explains some of this source material. Egyptian material often portrays gods with arms outstretched. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, the simplest form of the cross is two lines crossing. Christian Fathers, notably Tertullian and Justin Martyr, saw extensive similarities between the Christian idea of the cross and older pagan doctrines, with Tertullian asserting that pagan gods are based on the cross. In Egypt, the cross-like sacred symbols of the ankh and the djed functioned in ways highly similar to Christian use of the cross, for example in the raising of the djed pillar at the thirty year festival of the king. The Greek titan Prometheus was fixed to a tree, as was the Phrygian Attis.

Crucially, Murdock observes that 'crucify' means 'to fix on a cross', whatever the form of that cross. So, in ancient mythology we find that gods who symbolise the sun are 'crucified' by being fixed on the celestial cross of the 'vault of heaven'. What is this celestial cross? The natural course of the year has four turning points, marking the seasons, at the solstices and equinoxes. The positions of the sun at these four points forms a cross in space. As the sun travels through the sky it moves through each of these four points of the celestial cross each year, and the corresponding four points of dawn, midday, dusk and nadir each day. So an Egyptian text says that Horus "creates the years and joins together the days and months ... the hours are his stride" (p342). In moving around the sky each day and year as the sun, Horus is therefore fixed to the cross of heaven. Tertullian acknowledged this belief, discussing how Horus was regarded as 'the great foundation of the universe, as well as the cross, redeemer and emancipator, showing understanding of the cosmic meaning of the cross. (p345)

Another Egyptian God, Shu, God of the air, separates the earth and the sky. Murdock notes (p343) that the Egyptians "referred to the four bright stars that formed a great cross in their sky as the Pillars of Shu, or the Four Supports of the Heavens, these stars occupying the constellations of Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus." The diagram below shows the northern sky in 3000 BC, when these stars, respectively Regulus, Antares, Fomalhaut and Aldebaran, were close to the solstices and equinoxes, marking the four cardinal positions in the sky. In the five thousand years since then, these stars have moved nearly a quarter of the way around the sky with respect to their positions at the seasons. Here we see the natural cosmic origin of the Christian Mandorla, Christ surrounded by the images of the four evangelists, whose symbols derive from these four constellations. In ancient Egypt, these four points are termed the sons of Horus. They stand before Osiris, who represents the Milky Way, in the Hall of Judgment scene where the soul is weighed by Anubis and its fate recorded by Thoth.

Another ancient use of cross imagery is from Plato, 400 years before Christ, in his Timaeus, where he describes a cross in the sky. Interestingly, this Platonic cross is routinely misunderstood, including in Murdock's sources, illustrating the need for greater knowledge of astronomy within theological scholarship. Murdock quotes a source (p344) as saying that Plato's cross is the intersection of the orbit of the sun and the ecliptic. Actually, these are the same. In fact, Plato's cross is formed by the intersection of the line of the Milky Way galaxy (the same) and the path of the sun along the ecliptic (the different). Elsewhere Murdock quotes another wrong interpretation, in which the different is equated to the celestial equator. This widespread old error was based on an apparent desire to expunge mention of the zodiac, as Murdock observes is all too common in dogmatic literature. All this shows how easy it is to misinterpret astronomical references in ancient texts. This Platonic celestial cross formed by the galaxy and the zodiac is probably the Chi Rho cross seen in the heavens by Emperor Constantine at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, marking the inauguration of Christendom.

The Egyptians routinely personified their ankh figure, the cross with a circle at its head. We see that images of Egyptian gods match to the vault of heaven in cruciform, personifying the cosmos, often with wings, much as Christians did with Jesus, for example in Malachi's 'Sun of Righteousness' who was 'risen with healing in his wings'.

One really interesting theme in the passion of Christ is the two thieves crucified alongside him. Murdock discusses the comparison to the Mithraic symbol of the rising and falling companions of Mithras as the two equinoxes, the moments when the year shifts to longer days or nights. She also mentions comparison to Mercury. This made me wonder, if Christ is the sun, the two companions of the sun are actually Mercury and Venus, which always stay close to the sun in the sky, unlike the rest of the planets and stars.

An ancient text from the second century AD, the Acts of John, says the true cross is not the wooden one of Golgotha but the wonderful 'cross of light' shining in the heavens. (p356) Here we see further Christian continuity with Egyptian myth, demonstrating that the cosmic vision persevered well into Christian times.

Looking to Isaiah, we see the prediction that the messiah will be despised and rejected. In Roman days, crucifixion was the method to despise and reject some one as a political criminal, putting them beneath contempt. We can readily imagine that this motif of the cross as the symbol of rejection combined with the cross as the symbol of the heavens into a statement that the world of Rome rejected the heavens in favor of its own pride. This basic idea was steadily elaborated until the story of the passion of Christ emerged in detail in the second century AD, combining the cosmic and political agendas of the new religion in the story of incarnation and atonement through the saving blood of the suffering servant Jesus who died on the cross to save us from our sins.
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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:14 am, edited 3 times in total.



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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
Another great overview, Robert. It's a delight to have someone so interested the material lead this discussion. As you may have surmised, I too find all this incredible knowledge and wisdom to be very fascinating and not to be dismissed with any number of hand-waving reasons.

Horus on the Cross?

Quote:
"Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, was crucified in the heavens. To the Egyptian the cross was the symbol of immortality, an emblem of the Sun, and the god himself was crucified to the tree, which denoted his fructifying power. "Horus was also crucified in the heavens. He was represented, like...Christ Jesus, with outstretched arms in the vault of heaven." Thomas W. Doane, Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions (484)

As you say, this chapter/subject is very controversial, as it seems the concept of crucifying a god is difficult to fathom apart from the gospel story of Romans throwing a Jewish man to the ground and nailing him to a wooden cross. In CIE and elsewhere, I explain that the word "crucify" comes from the Latin verb crucifigere, which means "to affix or bind to a cross." It does not necessarily refer to nailing a human being to a cross. Anyone or anything affixed or bound to a cross can be said to be "crucified." The word is, in fact, useful in describing an object in put into cruciform as well, including a human being with arms outstretched. This comparison between a person in cruciform and one on a cross was noted in antiquity, even by some early Church fathers such as Tertullian and Minucius, while still others described Moses with his arms outstretched as making the sign of the cross, and so on.

In his First Apology Church father Justin Martyr (c. 150) writes:

Quote:
"Chapter 21. Analogies to the history of Christ.

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter..." (Roberts, ANF, I, 170)

In his Apology (16), Tertullian remarks:

Quote:
"We have shown before that your deities are derived from shapes modelled from the cross. But you also worship victories, for in your trophies the cross is the heart of the trophy. The camp religion of the Romans is all through a worship of the standards, a setting the standards above all gods. Well, as those images decking out the standards are ornaments of crosses. All those hangings of your standards and banners are robes of crosses." (Roberts, ANCL, 85)

The place where Tertullian had "shown before" his contentions about the Pagan gods being cross-shaped was in his work Ad Nationes (12), in a lengthy treatise which includes the following remarks:

Quote:
"...The Heathens Themselves Made Much of Crosses in Sacred Things; Nay, Their Very Idols Were Formed on a Crucial [Crosslike] Frame.

"...your gods in their origin have proceeded from this hated cross... if you simply place a man with his arms and hands outstretched, you will make the general outline of a cross...." (Roberts, ANF, III, 122)


Moreover, in his Octavius (29), Minucius echoes the same sentiment:

Quote:
"...The Egyptians certainly choose out a man for themselves whom they may worship... Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners, and flags of your camp, what else are they but crosses gilded and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it." (Roberts, ANF, IV, 191)

It should be noted that the cross shape itself was highly significant in pre-Christian religion in many parts of the world, including in Egypt, with the crux ansata or ankh. In its most fervently held permutations, the cross is a symbol of the sun:

Image

In order to demonstrate these contentions of deities on crosses in antiquity, I provide not only quotes from ancient writers but also imagery and other artifacts, including those that depict Horus as either a hawk or human with his wings outstretched, as can be found in an online excerpt from CIE:

Was Horus Crucified?

Image
(Note this image is upside to illustrate this point of the savior/protector god with the outstretched arms.)

In this discussion regarding Horus and the cross, I raise the issue of the Gnostic character Horos, who is identified with another Gnostic character, the Stauros or living cross. This concept itself is pre-Christian, as can be found in the writings of Plato, which I likewise discuss in Christ in Egypt. It is clear that the Egyptian god Horus/Horos was identified with, if not the basis of, the Gnostic Horos and thus with the Cross.

The image of a god or goddess in cruciform is important in the Egyptian religion, especially as concerns the afterlife, evidenced by its appearance on stone coffins, where it is placed to protect the deceased:

Image

Similar images can be found in Babylon and elsewhere:

Image

Image

There are many more such cruciforms in my forum thread "Cruciforms/Gods on Crosses." In not a few of these instances of gods either in the shape of, placed upon or identified with crosses, the central figure is solar in nature.

The correlation between the cross as a symbol of eternal life both in Egyptian religion - with the crux ansata or ankh - and in Christianity can be seen in these images:

Image
Osiris as the djed pillar and ankh, surrounded by the "Merti," Isis and Nephthys.

Image
Jesus on the cross surrounded by the "Marys."

A major point here is to determine to what Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Minucius and others are referring, when they discuss crosses, gods on crosses and cruciforms in antiquity. It becomes abundantly clear that the central motif of Christianity is an old and highly meaningful Pagan and pre-Christian motif that was glommed onto and given special focus in the new faith.

There is much more information on this fascinating subject in this chapter in CIE, "Was Horus 'Crucified?,'" which is 40 pages long, including many images. Following are the section subtitles:

The Pre-Christian Cross and Crucifix
Shu in Cruciform
Horus of the Cross
Outstretched Arms as the Sign of the Cross
Osiris and Djed Pillar
Set "Crucified?"
The "Divine Man" Crucified in Space
Astrotheology of the Cross
The Two Thieves?
The Mystery of the Cross

One can also search my forum and other websites for more information about crucifixion, which is likewise addressed in my book Suns of God as well.



Last edited by D.M. Murdock on Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
The egyptian coffin engraving is good. It has a close semblance, and the spooky feel of ancient gods, just like the image of Jesus on the cross.


It's almost as though "something" to do with the recombination of ideas reached critical mass in Christianity. Then the trail of breadcrumbs was suppressed and erased, if known about. It's like a city with a dozen roads leading outwards away from it, but the first mile of each is destroyed. Zoom out the focus enough, and all the dots can be connected.

I'm curious about the cross symbolizing the sun. I could see that being the case from the first picture in DM's post, but isn't that a modern picture? Is the idea of the cross signifying the sun more firmly established by anything pre-christian?



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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
LOL, Interbane, that's a great way to explain it so that others may begin to understand what we're dealing with here a bit better. Some folks actually expect a perfectly laid out 5,000 year old ancient encyclopedia spelling it all out in perfect detail and that's just a complete divorce from reality. Much has been lost or destroyed forever but, we still have plenty of credible evidence that still exists to this very day making a very strong case for mythicism and the mythicist position.

Yes, that first pic is a recent computer creation. There are several examples of pre-Christian solar crosses or sunwheels throughout history.

Image
Symbol of Baal found in Hazor, Israel

Image
Symbol of the pagan sun-god Shamash and more from Pagan sun worship and Catholicism the Pagan sun wheel, the obelisk and Baal

St. Peter's Sq.
Image

Pagan Sunwheels: 4, 8 and 12 Spoked Wheels

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_ ... an_crosses

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_cross



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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
Yeah, that was a good one Interbane. They only managed to cover their tracks in the short term.


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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
Sunwheels. The gods spoke to our pagan ancestors through them. I see the genesis of the concept, and it's resulting forms. Thanks for the pics. :garden:



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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
D.M. Murdock wrote:
Another great overview, Robert. It's a delight to have someone so interested the material lead this discussion. As you may have surmised, I too find all this incredible knowledge and wisdom to be very fascinating and not to be dismissed with any number of hand-waving reasons.
Where I too find the whole approach in Christ in Egypt fascinating is that the rejection of literalist presuppositions opens a path to understand the knowledge and wisdom of the ancient world. Conventional Christianity condescends to the ancients like children, seeing their work through the dark glass of supernatural assumptions. Yet, with astrotheology, we can establish a method to understand how the ancients grounded their stories in empirical observation of the earth and the cosmos.
Quote:
it seems the concept of crucifying a god is difficult to fathom apart from the gospel story of Romans throwing a Jewish man to the ground and nailing him to a wooden cross. In CIE and elsewhere, I explain that the word "crucify" comes from the Latin verb crucifigere, which means "to affix or bind to a cross." It does not necessarily refer to nailing a human being to a cross. Anyone or anything affixed or bound to a cross can be said to be "crucified." The word is, in fact, useful in describing an object in put into cruciform as well, including a human being with arms outstretched. This comparison between a person in cruciform and one on a cross was noted in antiquity, even by some early Church fathers such as Tertullian and Minucius, while still others described Moses with his arms outstretched as making the sign of the cross, and so on.
The star diagram I included in the opening post directly illustrates the cross of the year that the sun traverses. The ecliptic, the zodiac path of the sun shown as the yellow circle with the sun on the left of the diagram, forms a large circle in space around the earth, whether considered against ancient geocentric observation or modern heliocentric astronomy. The cross is formed by the four cardinal points of this circle, at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock. This is a basic empirical observation of the structure of time, marking the passage of the day, the year and the Great Year. We see it not only as informing Egyptian religion, but also the Bible. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of 'wheels within wheels', which he associated with the four living creatures, the bull (Taurus), the lion (Leo), the eagle (Scorpio) and the man (Aquarius). These four angels surrounding the throne of god, appearing also in Revelation and the cosmic mandorla of Christ and the four evangelists, are allegory for accurate observation of the cosmos, forming a great cross in space, from the perspective of the observer on earth at the center. The concealing of this true meaning is among the greatest mysteries of religion, how it was deemed unsuitable for popular knowledge because of the Judeo-Christian emphasis on the transcendence of God, and was then entirely suppressed, forgotten and misinterpreted by orthodox faith.

The division of time into four quadrants, marked by the rising time each day of these four constellations, appears with the Egyptian association between the sun and various gods, marking Horus at dawn, Ra at noon, Atum at dusk and Osiris at midnight. These four quadrants also structure the year, with each season marked by the sun passing in front of one of the four 'living creatures'.

The personification of this celestial cross began with the addition of hands to the cross of space, as depicted in the Egyptian ankh figure.
Quote:
the cross shape itself was highly significant in pre-Christian religion in many parts of the world, including in Egypt, with the crux ansata or ankh. In its most fervently held permutations, the cross is a symbol of the sun:

Image
Readers should note that the circle of this diagram is the actual path of the sun observed over the course of the year, through the stars shown on the circle of the ecliptic at the opening post. In the 5000 years since the time of this diagram, the 'four living creatures' have moved away from the cardinal points due to precession of the equinox.
Quote:
In this discussion regarding Horus and the cross, I raise the issue of the Gnostic character Horos, who is identified with another Gnostic character, the Stauros or living cross. This concept itself is pre-Christian, as can be found in the writings of Plato, which I likewise discuss in Christ in Egypt. It is clear that the Egyptian god Horus/Horos was identified with, if not the basis of, the Gnostic Horos and thus with the Cross.
Again, as I mentioned at the OP, the failure to understand Plato is among the great mysteries of religion. The Chi-Rho cross of Plato's Timaeus is routinely misunderstood, including by the sources cited in CIE, who suggest Plato's cross is the galaxy and the celestial equator. In fact, the two arms of Plato's cross are the galaxy and the zodiac, with the galaxy representing eternity, given that the Milky Way appears never to change, and the zodiac representing time, marked by the movement of the sun and planets. Here we see that Plato's cross symbolises the connection between time (difference) and eternity (identity). This theme of difference and identity is at the foundation of systematic logic. Plato therefore grounds logic in systematic observation of the cosmos.
Quote:
The correlation between the cross as a symbol of eternal life both in Egyptian religion - with the crux ansata or ankh - and in Christianity can be seen in these images:

Image
Osiris as the djed pillar and ankh, surrounded by the "Merti," Isis and Nephthys.

Image
Jesus on the cross surrounded by the "Marys."
Here we see the hands of the ankh commencing the personification of the cosmic cross. The circle at the head of the ankh, symbolising the passage of the sun through the seasons, migrated down to the intersection point of the cross, as shown for example in this Celtic cross.

It really is extraordinary and bizarre that the obvious parallel between the Egyptian depiction of two women at the foot of the cross and this pervasive image of the Christian Stabat Mater is ignored and denied. The psychology of this denial is grounded in a priori literalism, a blindness that systematically prevents Christians from seeing the continuity between Christianity and Egyptian religion. The fact that this discussion remains excluded from broader public gaze indicates that we are nearing the last point of the desperate effort by literalism to hold together its imaginary false framework.

Acceptance that Christianity is defined by literalism remains a pervasive false paradigm, accepted by both supporters and detractors. As we explore the ancient reality, we find that Christian imagery is grounded in knowledge, through natural observation of the cycles of the cosmos, and was corrupted into belief, the popular literal magical story. Rebasing Christianity in knowledge rather than belief presents a method, to which astrotheology is central, to restore real ethical meaning and purpose to myths that have been degraded by the millennia of Christendom.

Christian symbolism of the cross took the ancient motif of veneration of natural cycles of the sun, and observed that the arrogant pride of Rome used this same shape, the crucifix, as an instrument of humiliation and control. The idea in Paul that Christ died on the cross presents a powerful imaginative combination of the eternal cross, seen in the zodiac, with the temporal cross, seen in pervasive human ignorance and oppression. Like Plato, Paul combined time and eternity in a symbol of salvation. But Christians could not comprehend Paul's imagery, and had to dumb it down into the fictional story of Jesus of Galilee.



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Post Re: Christ in Egypt: Was Horus Crucified?
Great post, Robert!

I'm reminded of this quote from Acharya's first book:

Quote:
"The cross and crucifix are very ancient symbols found around the world long prior to the supposed advent of the Christian savior. In the gospel story Jesus tells his disciples to "take up the cross" [Mt 16:24] and follow him. Obviously, the cross already existed and was a well-known symbol, such that Jesus did not even have to explain this strange statement about an object that, we are led to believe, only gained significance after Jesus died on it."

- Christ Conspiracy, page 218



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Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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