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Re: Two Thomases ?

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  • ariadneg33
    Happy New Year Maurice and everyone, I am new to the forum and am an author on dreams and mysticism best known for Ariadne s Book of Dreams, Warner Books and
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 1, 2008
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      Happy New Year Maurice and everyone,
      I am new to the forum and am an author on dreams and mysticism best known for
      Ariadne's Book of Dreams, Warner Books and my new book Divine Complement. When I
      received your thoughts this morning in my email I wanted share some of my thoughts and
      research on the topic of the "twin twin" perplexing puzzle in the introduction of the
      sayings.

      The question arises who wrote the gospel? Someone who held a mystery that he conveyed
      through a meaningful and often symbolic language as most mystics do. I think that most
      scholars suffer with the title because they assume it is "the name" of the person who
      transcribed the sayings or wrote the gospel. What if the name of the scribe was not a
      name at all? If you use the etymology of the words Didymus and Thomas meaning "twin"
      in the two languages, why not consider Judas for its etymology? It is Hebrew for "Praise
      God", Yehuda. The title then would be deciphered as a code, Twin-God Praise--Twin".
      Therefore, the author cleverly used three languages to convey something of a mystery.
      And when we consider, so many of the sayings refer to the mystery of unification "making
      the two one," the initiation of the Bridal Chamber, and to quote Jesus, 'what will you do
      when you are two?" it now makes more sense. So who was the author praising? You must
      understand the mystery of the Bridal Chamber, what the bridegroom truly means and why
      spiritual unity is of such importance in the Gospel of Thomas to begin to answer that
      question. Anyway, I have just finished an article on the Gospel of Thomas that introduces
      my research from a new manuscript

      As far as John goes, I really wish he had never gotten a hold of the Gospel of Thomas and
      began writing an altogether different doctrine. I agree that John wrote his gospel to
      counter the Gospel of Thomas as Elaine Pagels has so wonderfully pointed out. Why did
      he identify Thomas as Didymus, well because he was referencing the Gospel of Thomas.
      That's all. And why did he later just call him Thomas, sweat and simply he had already
      identified Thomas as synonymous with Didymus.

      Would love to hear your thoughts.
      Ariadne
    • Judy Redman
      Hi Maurice ... Well, the Gospel of Thomas certainly starts by telling us that it contains the secret words that Judas the Twin the Twin wrote down, which would
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 1, 2008
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        Hi Maurice

        > So accordingly, Judy, do you see a possibility that the
        > so-called Gospel of Thomas, then, should perhaps more
        > correctly be called the Gospel of Judas . given that Tomas
        > and Didymos are simply words used by the manuscript's
        > scrivener to make the point for both Aramaic and Greek
        > audiences that Judas (the possible real name of the author)
        > was a twin (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot)? Hmmm !
        > This would at least explain why logion # 13 seems to be
        > written in the third person . that is, that Judas is not to
        > be confused with Thomas which is simply used here as an
        > adjective and is not the proper name of the author .

        Well, the Gospel of Thomas certainly starts by telling us that it contains
        the secret words that Judas the Twin the Twin wrote down, which would lead
        one to suspect that he was known both as Didymus and Thomas in different
        circles. According to Richard Bauckham's "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses" Judas
        was the fourth most common name for male Palestinian Jews in the first
        century, so lots of men named Judas would likely have had nicknames to
        distinguish between them, especially if they happened to be Judas bar Judas
        (or bar Simeon or bar Joseph - the top two names). And if Thomas was
        actually Judas son of James, it would help with the confusion about the
        names of the Twelve in the various gospel accounts. Since most of the names
        of the early Christian texts were apparently added some time down the track,
        and the NH codex is dated around the mid-300s or so, I would suggest that
        the name was added by a community that was Aramaic/Syriac speaking and
        possibly at a point where its author had become known simply as The Twin
        because everyone knew *which* twin was being referred to (in much the same
        way that if you say The Duke most people understand that you mean John Wayne
        and The King is usually understood to be Elvis Presley). This name was then
        passed down in various copies of the manuscript because that was now its
        official name. But, yes, it probably should be known as the Gospel of Judas
        the Twin (as opposed to the other Gospel of Judas - Judas Iscariot) which is
        very different.

        > Of possible further relevance, and if I am not mistaken, the
        > names Judas and James are / were essentially synonymous at
        > the time of GoT's writing. If so, one should also note the
        > Eastern / Syrian tradition that Jesus had a "twin" brother
        > called . yes . "Judas" as you no doubt know. Indeed, then,
        > there may be a possibility that Jesus' twin brother, Judas
        > (designated as "Thomas" or "Dydimos"
        > meaning "the twin" in both Aramaic and in Greek) may have
        > somehow had a hand in the "sayings of Thomas", and led in
        > recent years to the popular suggestion that the "Gospel of
        > Thomas so-called" may be, or indeed "is", of Eastern or
        > Syrian provenance. Thus, it may indeed be entirely possible
        > as you suggest, that the inclusion of "Judas" in Thomas'
        > incipit may well have had a purpose far beyond introducing
        > the idea or concept of a "twin" (of Jesus) to the reader.
        > Even in Western tradition, James (aka Judas ?) is generally
        > referred to as "brother of the Lord" or "Adelphotheos" in
        > Greek as I understand.

        I personally don't find the notion that Jesus was a twin particularly
        convincing. If you look at it from the perspective of Christian myth, this
        would mean that said twin was also conceived by the Holy Spirit and there is
        certainly nothing around that claims this or tells Mary and Joseph which of
        the boys was to be called "Jesus." I also have difficulty with the notion
        that the birth narratives would not have mentioned a twin - surely this
        would have been something miraculous and worthy of mention? I have less
        problem with the idea that Jesus had a brother who was a twin - the twin of
        one of his other siblings. Of course, if you want to run with the perpetual
        virginity of Mary line, you have problems with Jesus having any brothers or
        sisters, but there are other things in the gospels that make the notion that
        Mary was a perpetual virgin difficult. I don't know about James being the
        same as Judas at the time. James is more usually synonymous with Jacob and
        that's how Bauckham lists the names (James is the 11th most popular). Note
        that the statistics are not Bauckham's research per se - he uses a couple of
        sources and I don't have time to read the text properly to sort out what
        exactly he says about them.

        Please note, however, that all this is pretty much "off the top of my head".
        My research is about the text of Gos Thom as we have it, so I am not
        particularly interested in who wrote it and thus haven't researched this at
        any depth.

        Judy
        --
        "Politics is the work we do to keep the world safe for our spirituality" -
        Judith Plaskow, Phoenix Rising, 2000

        Rev Judy Redman
        PhD candidate, Postgraduate member of Council & Uniting Church Chaplain
        University of New England Armidale 2351
        ph: +61 2 6773 3739
        fax: +61 2 6773 3749
        web: http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~jredman2 and
        http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
        email: jredman2@...
      • Michael Grondin
        Hi Maurice, ... Undoubtedly, the simple name is used in 20:26-28 because the character had already been specified as called Didymos in 20:24, and there was
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 1, 2008
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          Hi Maurice,

          In your first note to Judy, you wrote:
          > ... in the Gospel of John, "Thomas" is
          > referred to in two repeated ways . in 11:16, 20:24, and 21:02 he is
          > referred to as "Thomas called the twin", whereas in 14:05, 20:26,
          > 20:27 and 20:28 he is simply called Thomas (short and sweet).
          > The point argued was twofold .1st is it possible that there are two
          > Thomas' at play in the Gospel of John, and more importantly, if so,
          > (2nd) why would the first Thomas (called the twin) not simply be
          > referred to as "Thomas the (de facto) twin" period ?

          Undoubtedly, the simple name is used in 20:26-28 because the
          character had already been specified as "called Didymos" in 20:24,
          and there was no necessity to repeat that in the immediate vicinity.
          The only unexplained simple name occurrence, then, is 14:05. My
          suggestion is that 14:05 and 14:06 were a later addition to the text,
          placed there specifically to contradict the implications of 14:02's
          "In my Father's house are many dwelling places..." This and surrounding
          text implies that, simply put, Christians aren't the only folks in Heaven.
          Jesus prepares a place for his followers, but there's other places as
          well. Looks to me like someone thought that that wasn't something they
          wanted Jesus to say, so they decided to add the notorious 14:06 ("I am
          the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but
          through me.") That, of course, implies that there's only Christians in
          Heaven. I think that Thomas was chosen simply as the foil questioner,
          with the redactor probably giving no thought to adding "called Didymos".
          I don't think there's any doubt but that this is the same character
          mentioned elsewhere. (BTW, this portion of Jn came up in an argument
          I had with a fellow on Ben Witherington's blog some months back, about
          whether Christians believed that they were going to be the only folks in
          Heaven. It was the first time I'd looked closely at the beginning of Jn14,
          and it just jumps out at you, I'd say.)

          In your second note to Judy, you wrote:
          > Of possible further relevance, and if I am not mistaken, the names
          > Judas and James are / were essentially synonymous at the time of
          > GoT's writing.

          Nope. 'James' is the unfortunately-chosen English substitute for IAKOBOS,
          which is better rendered 'Jacob'. 'Jacob' and 'Judas' weren't
          interchangeable.

          By way of general remarks, it does seem to me that the choice of DIDYMOS
          IOUDAS QWMAS is at least a small indicator that the Coptic text wasn't a
          translation (at least not a simple one) from a Greek text - which is the
          usual assumption. The tri-form name was apparently common in Syriac texts.
          It also had a numeric symbolism (apparently lost on the Greeks): the
          number of letters in the names (7+6+5) was the value of IH (18), while
          the product of the sizes of the names (7*6*5) was the value of IS (210).
          IH and IS, of course, were perhaps the commonest abbreviations of the
          name 'Jesus' found in all the ancient texts. This is consistent with the
          theme of becoming a twin of Jesus. For that and other reasons, my own
          opinion is that the name had become associated with a particular way of
          "following Jesus", and that poor Thomas (assuming he existed) probably
          had nothing to do with the text.

          Mike Grondin
        • jmgcormier
          Top of the season to you Ariadne … Further to your recent post, indeed, most people read Thomas while necessarily assuming that the name of the person who
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 2, 2008
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            Top of the season to you Ariadne …


            Further to your recent post, indeed, most people read Thomas
            while necessarily assuming that "the name of the person who
            transcribed the sayings" is the one who wrote the gospel." But I tend
            to lean in the same direction as you and Judy and Mike that there is
            lots of room to suspect otherwise when it comes to the Gospel
            of "Thomas". Of particular interest (from my bias at least) I have
            even speculated (a bit like yourself) that there is perhaps more
            to "Judas" than meets the eye. My take on him, however, has largely
            been that because his name (ethymologically) means "praised one"
            or "celebrated one", the scrivener of Thomas could have included his
            name in the Incipit for purposes of simply telling the reader or the
            hearer that that which follows is from a "praised" or "celebrated"
            source, and that it literally should be taken to mean that the "new"
            message or revelation contained therein should be "acclaimed" far
            beyond its possible earlier (or even its misunderstood) "original"
            meaning … after all, Thomas' message is indeed at odds with many of
            its New Testament inspired parallels.

            Again in passing, I am not sure exactly where you are
            headed in your comment on the "bridal chamber" and "spiritual unity",
            and at the risk of sounding as though I am inciting you to "scoop
            yourself" on your new manuscript, it would be interesting to hear
            more specifics if you can find a moment to do so.

            Regards, Maurice







            --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "ariadneg33" <ariadne@...> wrote:
            >
            > Happy New Year Maurice and everyone,
            > I am new to the forum and am an author on dreams and mysticism best
            known for
            > Ariadne's Book of Dreams, Warner Books and my new book Divine
            Complement. When I
            > received your thoughts this morning in my email I wanted share some
            of my thoughts and
            > research on the topic of the "twin twin" perplexing puzzle in the
            introduction of the
            > sayings.
            >
            > The question arises who wrote the gospel? Someone who held a
            mystery that he conveyed
            > through a meaningful and often symbolic language as most mystics
            do. I think that most
            > scholars suffer with the title because they assume it is "the name"
            of the person who
            > transcribed the sayings or wrote the gospel. What if the name of
            the scribe was not a
            > name at all? If you use the etymology of the words Didymus and
            Thomas meaning "twin"
            > in the two languages, why not consider Judas for its etymology? It
            is Hebrew for "Praise
            > God", Yehuda. The title then would be deciphered as a code, Twin-
            God Praise--Twin".
            > Therefore, the author cleverly used three languages to convey
            something of a mystery.
            > And when we consider, so many of the sayings refer to the mystery
            of unification "making
            > the two one," the initiation of the Bridal Chamber, and to quote
            Jesus, 'what will you do
            > when you are two?" it now makes more sense. So who was the author
            praising? You must
            > understand the mystery of the Bridal Chamber, what the bridegroom
            truly means and why
            > spiritual unity is of such importance in the Gospel of Thomas to
            begin to answer that
            > question. Anyway, I have just finished an article on the Gospel of
            Thomas that introduces
            > my research from a new manuscript
            >
            > As far as John goes, I really wish he had never gotten a hold of
            the Gospel of Thomas and
            > began writing an altogether different doctrine. I agree that John
            wrote his gospel to
            > counter the Gospel of Thomas as Elaine Pagels has so wonderfully
            pointed out. Why did
            > he identify Thomas as Didymus, well because he was referencing the
            Gospel of Thomas.
            > That's all. And why did he later just call him Thomas, sweat and
            simply he had already
            > identified Thomas as synonymous with Didymus.
            >
            > Would love to hear your thoughts.
            > Ariadne
            >
          • jmgcormier
            ... I personally don t find the notion that Jesus was a twin particularly ... myth, this would mean that said twin was also conceived by the Holy Spirit and
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 2, 2008
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              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "Judy Redman" <jredman@...> wrote:

              I personally don't find the notion that Jesus was a twin particularly
              > convincing. If you look at it from the perspective of Christian
              myth, this would mean that said twin was also conceived by the Holy
              Spirit and there is certainly nothing around that claims this or
              tells Mary and Joseph which of the boys was to be called "Jesus." I
              also have difficulty with the notion that the birth narratives would
              not have mentioned a twin - surely this would have been something
              miraculous and worthy of mention? I have less problem with the idea
              that Jesus had a brother who was a twin - the twin of
              one of his other siblings.


              Hello again Judy ....

              ... your commentary on the twinship of Jesus is an excellent, common
              sense, read. In the wake of you note, Mike Grondin also makes
              excellent points on the issue by suggesting that tri-form names were
              apparently common in Syriac texts. (I did not know this, but it
              certainly adds to the argument that Thomas indeed leans in that
              direction as a source.) Perhaps more importantly, Mike raises the
              point that "This is consistent with the theme of becoming a twin of
              Jesus. For that and other reasons, my own opinion is that the name
              had become associated with a particular way of "following Jesus", and
              that poor Thomas (assuming he existed) probably had nothing to do
              with the text."

              From a translation point of view, might Mike or yourself (I know from
              your Blog that you are studying Coptic) offer up other
              interpretations of the words Didymos / Tomas than the popular
              word "twin", or is that about as far as it goes in either Coptic or
              Aramaic ??? If there is / are other telltale meanings, we may indeed
              have a strong hint here that Mike is absolutely correct in his
              comment that "the choice of DIDYMOS IOUDAS QWMAS is at least a small
              indicator that the Coptic text wasn't a translation (at least not a
              simple one) from a Greek text - which is the usual assumption."
              (Great observation, Mike ... )

              Regards to both of you ... Maurice
            • Michael Grondin
              ... Sorry, Maurice, but you re misquoting me here. I was referring only to the specific tri-form name used in Coptic Thomas. I have no idea about any general
              Message 6 of 13 , Jan 3, 2008
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                > ... Mike Grondin ... makes excellent points on the issue by suggesting
                > that tri-form names were apparently common in Syriac texts.

                Sorry, Maurice, but you're misquoting me here. I was referring only to
                the specific tri-form name used in Coptic Thomas. I have no idea about
                any general convention. My immediate source is Stephen Patterson:

                "It was Puech [_Gospel of Thomas_] who first drew attention to the
                fact that the particular name for the apostle Thomas found in the
                Prologue to the Gospel of Thomas, Didymus Judas Thomas ...
                is associated especially with Christianity as it developed in eastern
                Syria, in the area around Edessa."
                (_The Gospel of Thomas and Jesus_, p.118)

                The tri-form name is an integral part of the chiastic structure
                of the Prologue, which was evidently designed with great care.

                > From a translation point of view, might Mike or yourself [Judy] ...
                > offer up other interpretations of the words Didymos / T[h]omas
                > than the popular word "twin"...?

                I can't locate it at the moment, but I have a recollection of once
                coming across an etymological comment indicating that 'Thomas'
                came from a phrase that meant something like "two things". Maybe
                that has some connection with "doubting Thomas" and/or the
                warning about being "double-minded" in some Christian texts.
                It may be that the names had this sense in addition to 'twin'.

                Mike
              • Michael Grondin
                ... Still can t locate the reference to this, but with respect to DIDYMOS, a simple Greek dictionary indicates that it can mean double or two-fold , which
                Message 7 of 13 , Jan 3, 2008
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                  > I can't locate it at the moment, but I have a recollection of once
                  > coming across an etymological comment indicating that 'Thomas'
                  > came from a phrase that meant something like "two things". Maybe
                  > that has some connection with "doubting Thomas" and/or the
                  > warning about being "double-minded" in some Christian texts.
                  > It may be that the names had this sense in addition to 'twin'.

                  Still can't locate the reference to this, but with respect to DIDYMOS,
                  a simple Greek dictionary indicates that it can mean 'double' or 'two-fold',
                  which is precisely the meaning(s) I had in mind. Also of interest is that,
                  according to Westcott (_The Occult Power of Numbers_), the number
                  five was occasionally called 'didymos', "... because it divided the
                  Decad into two equal parts".

                  Hopefully, it's clear that the two senses I'm trying to distinguish here
                  are (1) being a double or twin of someone/thing else, and (2) having
                  a dual nature, as in 'two-fold'. I suspect that both 'Thomas' and 'Didymos'
                  had both senses.

                  Mike Grondin
                • ariadneg33
                  Thank you Mike if you run across the etymology interpretation you were refering to let me know. I found Westcotts reference to the number 5, which does
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jan 4, 2008
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                    Thank you Mike if you run across the etymology interpretation you were refering to let me
                    know. I found Westcotts reference to the number 5, which does suggest a slightly
                    different meaning of didymus in Greek. Where I am going with this is I believe the author
                    of this Gospel was conveying a mystery as well as and giving praise to someone important
                    to Jesus ministry. The mystery of spiritual unification, "making the two one" in my mind
                    relates to the original separation in Genesis, a condition that I call "split soul" (split
                    masculine and feminine) and one that is resolved through the bridal chamber, referred as
                    the Holy of Holies in Phillip. Rather than an outward ritual, as in baptism or any of the
                    rites conducted in Solomon's temple it was achieved through a self-realizing experience,
                    initated in the heart I believe that the mystery was conveyed in Jesus early teachings and
                    we find hints of it in Thomas. I have written a great deal on the bridal chamber in my
                    book, Divine Complement, a book about soulmates. Anyway, my research into Thomas
                    became an obsession because after I started interpreting the sayings I found more in
                    Thomas than I had imagined.
                    I am working on the premise that the Gospel of Thomas was Jesus own gospel, many
                    reasons for saying this. And that Mary Magdalene was the twin being praised. I am with
                    the early camp in dating this gospel, very early. I know that April Rice, for instance, dates
                    the 1st layer as early as 30 AD. I would not agree with stratifying the Gospel as Rice has
                    done and would say that about 83 to 89 of the sayings are close enough to Jesus'
                    authentic teachings and words.

                    Ariadne
                  • Judy Redman
                    ... I assume you mean April DeConick, who is currently a Professor at Rice University, seeing this sounds like her work. If this is who you mean, I am not
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jan 4, 2008
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                      Ariadne says:

                      > I am working on the premise that the Gospel of Thomas was
                      > Jesus own gospel, many reasons for saying this. And that
                      > Mary Magdalene was the twin being praised. I am with the
                      > early camp in dating this gospel, very early. I know that
                      > April Rice, for instance, dates the 1st layer as early as 30
                      > AD. I would not agree with stratifying the Gospel as Rice
                      > has done and would say that about 83 to 89 of the sayings are
                      > close enough to Jesus'
                      > authentic teachings and words.

                      I assume you mean April DeConick, who is currently a Professor at Rice
                      University, seeing this sounds like her work. If this is who you mean, I am
                      not sure that she would agree with a dating as early as 30 CE. All I can
                      find in her most recent two books ("Recovering the Original Gospel of
                      Thomas" and "The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation") is the date 50
                      CE as the beginning of the accretions on the kernel, so I'm wondering if you
                      have a reference for the 30 CE date?

                      Regards

                      Judy



                      --
                      "Politics is the work we do to keep the world safe for our spirituality" -
                      Judith Plaskow, Phoenix Rising, 2000

                      Rev Judy Redman
                      PhD candidate, Postgraduate member of Council & Uniting Church Chaplain
                      University of New England Armidale 2351
                      ph: +61 2 6773 3739
                      fax: +61 2 6773 3749
                      web: http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~jredman2 and
                      http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                      email: jredman2@...
                    • ariadneg33
                      Hi Maurice, I agree that the one who is praised is not the author of the Gospel and that a great deal of mystery lies within tri-fold name that could be
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jan 13, 2008
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                        Hi Maurice,
                        I agree that the one who is praised is not the author of the Gospel
                        and that a great deal of mystery lies within tri-fold name that could be viewed as a secret
                        code in three different languages, all languages spoken in Jesus' community. There
                        appears to be a motive of expressing inclusiveness in that.

                        Regarding the mystery of the bridal chamber. I suggest
                        familiarizing yourself with the Gospel of Philip 84:23-85:20 and 53:10-25 which describes
                        the anointing in the Bridal Chamber, the Holy of Holies and with my book, Divine
                        Complement which was published in 2006. You can access the entire book, on Google
                        books and chapters 2 and 3 are the relevant chapter in understanding Thomas as well as
                        Philip.

                        Thomas saying 22 on "making the two one" expresses a
                        complete metamorphosis of the individual beyond a mere enlightened awakening,
                        one of unification of the divine aspects of the soul and one resulting in the rebirth
                        into one's masculine and feminine (god/goddess) nature so that the hand becomes the
                        instrument of God and one's image moves from human to the divine form.

                        According to the Gospel of Philip Jesus had accomplished the resurrection through the
                        living body not through death and had become Son of the Bridal Chamber through an
                        anointing described as with a fire of white light. The path of unification described in
                        Saying 22 is one that embraces the inner, the outer, the masculine, the feminine and one's
                        own power to perform the miracles of the hand. The Gospel of Philip tells us this
                        unification takes place in the Bridal Chamber. In my book, I define and describe the
                        initiation in the Bridal Chamber.

                        There are three in the equation, Didymus Judas Thomas, Twin-Praise God –Twin. It seems
                        to be an equation of masculine and feminine unity or as I define it in my book "tri-unity"
                        with God. Therefore the one being praised in my mind would most naturally have been
                        Mary.
                        Ariadne
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