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Re: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?

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  • Ramsey Michaels
    Some years ago I suggested in an NTS article (37.4, p. 613) that 16:14 is already an explanatory narrative aside by the author, explaining the three unclean
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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      Some years ago I suggested in an NTS article (37.4, p. 613) that 16:14 is already an explanatory "narrative aside" by the author, explaining the "three unclean spirits like frogs" (v 13). Such narrative comments (here introduced by eisin gar) are common in Revelation.
       
      If this is so, then v 15 can be seen as simply an extension of this narrative aside, identifying the narrative voice as that of Jesus Christ, who "comes as a thief." Thus it is not a question of v 15 but of vv 14-15 as being "narrative asides," a term I prefer to gloss. Gloss implies someone other than the author. To me the book is the work of one author speaking with several narrative voices.
       
      Ramsey Michaels
       
       
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 4:04 AM
      Subject: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?

      It is well-known that certain scholars such as R. H. Charles went overboard in finding redactions and glosses "on every high hill and under every green tree", so to speak.  I am rather loathe to follow such a practice and prefer to retain the text as we have it.  There is, however, one place which seems to me must certainly have been a marginal comment whch was then taken up into the text.  This is 16.15.  Curiously enough, this is not tagged by anyone else as a gloss.  Yet, it seems totally out of place coming between the description of the "foul spirits" going forth for the gathering of the nations to battle and the statement that they "assembled them at a place which is called in Hebrew Armageddon."  What relevance the statement that Christ is coming as a thief in the night has to such a sequence is puzzling if it were taken to be authentic.  It would seem to me that the reluctance to consider this a gloss when so much else has been considered as such rests upon the desire of the commentators to find seven makarisms in the Apocalypse.  While seven is certainly a recurring quantity in the book and has a special, and well-known, significance, the author, who elsewhere has not been reluctant to point out the number seven, never states that there are seven makarisms. 
       
      gfsomsel

    • Stephen Goranson
      I also think that it is quite likely that the author was well aware that the Blessings in the book were precisely seven. Please, gfsomsel, sign posts with a
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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        I also think that it is quite likely that the author was well aware that the
        Blessings in the book were precisely seven.

        Please, gfsomsel, sign posts with a less cryptic, less needlessly obscure, name
        representation.

        Stephen Goranson
      • polycarp66@aol.com
        In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:03:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ralphbass@digitran.net writes: 16:15 ( Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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          In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:03:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ralphbass@... writes:
          16:15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake
          and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not
          see his shame.") Christ's seeming delay and unexpected coming (16:15) was
          illustrated in Christ's parable of the wedding feast.

          Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven
          may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he
          sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast,
          and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying,
          'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my
          oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready;
          come to the wedding feast." ' 5 But they paid no attention and went their
          way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his
          slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7 But the king was enraged, and
          he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.
          (Matthew 22:1-7, NASB95)

          For nearly forty years now, from the death of Christ to the destruction of
          Jerusalem, Christ's servants have been inviting the inhabitants of Judea to
          the wedding feast, but they were unwilling to come. Indeed, they seized some
          and mistreated and killed others. And now the enraged king has sent his
          armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.

          In the beginning of the Revelation, here in the middle, and finally at the
          end, the writer warns his readers of His soon coming in judgement. Matthew
          made the same point.

          Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is
          coming. (Matthew 24:42, NASB95)

          But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to
          escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before
          the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36, NASB95)

          These verses clearly teach the importance of alertness and preparation for
          the quick return of Christ. This was a first century message. The readers of
          Revelation would, no doubt, understand that this message was for them. It
          was they that must stay awake (16:15). This is not to say that a future
          bodily return of Christ is not also impending, it certainly is, only that
          this passage and the one in Matthew and Luke are not dealing with Christ's
          bodily return on the last day, but with His coming in judgement on Jerusalem
          in 70 A.D.

          But what of the part about keeping his clothes (16:15) and being naked
          (16:15)? That certainly appears to be an esoteric element (one of many in
          Revelation). Interestingly, Edersheim tells of the role of the Temple guards
          in keeping watch during the night and how the captain of the guard would
          check on them during the watch. If he found any asleep, he would beat them.
          If he found them asleep a second time, he would set their clothes on fire.
          And remember, it was not uncommon for a person to own only one set of
          clothes in that day! Edersheim says,

          Perhaps one of the most striking instances of this kind is afforded by the
          words quoted at the head of this chapter-'Blessed is he that watcheth, and
          keepeth his garments.' They literally describe, as we learn from the Rabbis,
          the punishment awarded to the Temple-guards if found asleep at their posts;
          and the Rabbinical account of it is curiously confirmed by the somewhat
          naive confession of one of their number, that on a certain occasion his own
          maternal uncle had actually undergone the punishment of having his clothes
          set on fire by the captain of the Temple as he went his rounds at night.

          Presumably, he would take them off, burning as they were, as quickly as
          possible under those circumstances and thereby find himself naked (16:15).
          The message is one of watchfulness. The faithful watched and were not caught
          up in the destruction of Jerusalem. Others slept, while ostensibly guarding
          the things of God, the Temple, and are now being stripped of their country,
          city, clothes and lives as all are now burnt up in the fire, not to speak of
          the eternal damnation that awaits them.
          __________
           
          I assume from what you have written that you are implying that this is not untypical of Jesus' admonitions as he is depicted in the gospels.  This would not contended by any as far as I know (They might contend that the gospels are not an absolutely accurate reflection of the historical Jesus, but they would not contend that the gospels do portray him thus.).  This does not, however, solve the problem.  Why would the author drop such an unconnected saying in the midst of a passage?  It would be virtually the same as though he were to insert another saying of Jesus here such as "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests . . ."  What is the connection with the context?  The lack of connection with the passage I cited is only one of degree.  It would seem that some pious copyist wrote this in the margin as a reminder that despite all the turmoil Christ was coming so that there was a need to remain steadfast and that this subsequently got included with the text itself.
           
          gfsomsel
        • polycarp66@aol.com
          In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:19:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time, profram@comcast.net writes: Some years ago I suggested in an NTS article (37.4, p. 613) that
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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            In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:19:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time, profram@... writes:
            Some years ago I suggested in an NTS article (37.4, p. 613) that 16:14 is already an explanatory "narrative aside" by the author, explaining the "three unclean spirits like frogs" (v 13). Such narrative comments (here introduced by eisin gar) are common in Revelation.
             
            If this is so, then v 15 can be seen as simply an extension of this narrative aside, identifying the narrative voice as that of Jesus Christ, who "comes as a thief." Thus it is not a question of v 15 but of vv 14-15 as being "narrative asides," a term I prefer to gloss. Gloss implies someone other than the author. To me the book is the work of one author speaking with several narrative voices.
            _________
             
            This is an interesting proposal, but it does not solve the dilemma that 16.15 in not congruent with its context.  The question remains:  "Why and how did this get written in its current location?"  Even if 16.14 is taken as a narrative aside, 16.15 is an aside from the aside.
             
            gfsomsel
          • polycarp66@aol.com
            In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:49:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time, goranson@duke.edu writes: I also think that it is quite likely that the author was well aware
            Message 5 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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              In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:49:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time, goranson@... writes:
              I also think that it is quite likely that the author was well aware that the
              Blessings in the book were precisely seven.
              ________
               
              Our author was not loathe to specify that there were seven lampstands representing seven churches and seven spirits of God.  He also enumerated seven seals, four angels holding back the winds, seven trumpets, seven bowls of wrath and three woes.  Nowhere does he specify that there are seven makarisms.  Even had he thus specified, the question would remain "Why is this placed here?" though, in such a case its authenticity would not then be in question.
               
              gfsomsel
            • Ramsey Michaels
              Possibly the phrase, the great day of God the Almighty (v 14) called to the author s mind the familiar phrase day of the Lord, which in turn triggered the
              Message 6 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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                Possibly the phrase, "the great day of God the Almighty" (v 14) called to the author's mind the familiar phrase "day of the Lord," which in turn triggered the language of v 15, in light of the notion that "the day of the Lord" comes as a thief (1 Thess 5). Notice the variant reading, "behold he comes," or perhaps "it comes" as a thief in Codex Sinaiticus.
                 
                Ramsey Michaels
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 11:40 AM
                Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?

                In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:19:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time, profram@... writes:
                Some years ago I suggested in an NTS article (37.4, p. 613) that 16:14 is already an explanatory "narrative aside" by the author, explaining the "three unclean spirits like frogs" (v 13). Such narrative comments (here introduced by eisin gar) are common in Revelation.
                 
                If this is so, then v 15 can be seen as simply an extension of this narrative aside, identifying the narrative voice as that of Jesus Christ, who "comes as a thief." Thus it is not a question of v 15 but of vv 14-15 as being "narrative asides," a term I prefer to gloss. Gloss implies someone other than the author. To me the book is the work of one author speaking with several narrative voices.
                _________
                 
                This is an interesting proposal, but it does not solve the dilemma that 16.15 in not congruent with its context.  The question remains:  "Why and how did this get written in its current location?"  Even if 16.14 is taken as a narrative aside, 16.15 is an aside from the aside.
                 
                gfsomsel
              • Timothy P. Jenney
                I suggest that 16:15 is original with the author and essential to the structure and meaning of the Apocalypse. Note that each of the book¹s septets are
                Message 7 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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                  Re: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?
                  I suggest that 16:15 is original with the author and essential to the structure and meaning of the Apocalypse.

                  Note that each of the book’s septets are interrupted between the sixth and seventh of the series: the breaking of the seals by the worshipping multitude (Rev. 7), the blasts of the shophar by the appearance of the three witnesses [the author(?) + two others], 10:1-11:14, the libations by this exhortation at 16:15.

                   Furthermore, I think this is the way in which the author sought to identify his own position [and his audience’s] in the septets. It is near the end of human history, an unexpected gap in the series that has allowed for the evangelization of the Gentiles and the appearance of the Church. If one reads the septets as parallels that places him [and us!] at 666.

                  Nevertheless, the harvest (14:14ff) will soon be over, so everyone must be ready for the Messiah’s return (16:15). The harvest festival [Sukkoth] is about to begin!

                  Timothy P. Jenney
                  PhD NES (U Mich, 1993)
                  Winter Haven, FL

                  “Revelation” in the Life in the Spirit NT Commentary


                  From: "Ramsey Michaels" <profram@...>
                  Reply-To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 07:55:26 -0400
                  To: <revelation-list@yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?

                  Some years ago I suggested in an NTS article (37.4, p. 613) that 16:14 is already an explanatory "narrative aside" by the author, explaining the "three unclean spirits like frogs" (v 13). Such narrative comments (here introduced by eisin gar) are common in Revelation.
                   
                  If this is so, then v 15 can be seen as simply an extension of this narrative aside, identifying the narrative voice as that of Jesus Christ, who "comes as a thief." Thus it is not a question of v 15 but of vv 14-15 as being "narrative asides," a term I prefer to gloss. Gloss implies someone other than the author. To me the book is the work of one author speaking with several narrative voices.
                   
                  Ramsey Michaels
                   
                   
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----

                  From:  polycarp66@...
                   
                  To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com  
                   
                  Sent: Sunday, April 18, 2004 4:04 AM
                   
                  Subject: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a  gloss?
                   

                   
                  It is well-known that certain scholars such  as R. H. Charles went overboard in finding redactions and glosses "on every  high hill and under every green tree", so to speak.  I am rather loathe  to follow such a practice and prefer to retain the text as we have it.   There is, however, one place which seems to me must certainly have been a  marginal comment whch was then taken up into the text.  This is  16.15.  Curiously enough, this is not tagged by anyone else as a  gloss.  Yet, it seems totally out of place coming between the description  of the "foul spirits" going forth for the gathering of the nations  to battle and the statement that they "assembled them at a place which is  called in Hebrew Armageddon."  What relevance the statement that Christ  is coming as a thief in the night has to such a sequence is puzzling if it  were taken to be authentic.  It would seem to me that the reluctance to  consider this a gloss when so much else has been considered as such rests upon  the desire of the commentators to find seven makarisms in the  Apocalypse.  While seven is certainly a recurring quantity in the book  and has a special, and well-known, significance, the author, who elsewhere has  not been reluctant to point out the number seven, never states that there are  seven makarisms.  
                   
                   
                   
                  gfsomsel



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                • polycarp66@aol.com
                  In a message dated 4/18/2004 5:20:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time, drjenney@earthlink.net writes: Nevertheless, the harvest (14:14ff) will soon be over, so
                  Message 8 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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                    In a message dated 4/18/2004 5:20:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time, drjenney@... writes:
                    Nevertheless, the harvest (14:14ff) will soon be over, so everyone must be ready for the Messiah’s return (16:15). The harvest festival [Sukkoth] is about to begin!
                    _________________
                     
                    The harvest is already past.  This is the destruction of Jerusalem.  The extent of the flow of the blood is ~189 miles which, taken from the epicenter of Jerusalem, would cover the entire land.  Similarly, the measurements of the New Jerusalem would cover the Roman Empire and thus represent the conquering of the world-system by the Christian faith.
                     
                    gfsomsel
                  • Timothy P. Jenney
                    From: polycarp66@aol.com Reply-To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 18:02:28 EDT To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re:
                    Message 9 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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                      Re: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?


                      From: polycarp66@...
                      Reply-To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                      Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 18:02:28 EDT
                      To: revelation-list@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [revelation-list] Re 16.15 a gloss?

                      In a message dated 4/18/2004 5:20:07 PM Eastern Daylight Time, drjenney@... writes:
                      Nevertheless, the harvest (14:14ff) will soon be over, so everyone must be ready for the Messiah’s return (16:15). The harvest festival [Sukkoth] is about to begin!
                      _________________
                       
                      The harvest is already past.  This is the destruction of Jerusalem.  The extent of the flow of the blood is ~189 miles which, taken from the epicenter of Jerusalem, would cover the entire land.  Similarly, the measurements of the New Jerusalem would cover the Roman Empire and thus represent the conquering of the world-system by the Christian faith.
                       
                      Gfsomsel
                      -------

                      It’s certainly a possibility. There are two harvests in 14 though, not one. I think the grape harvest symbolizes Christian martyrs [or at least includes them]. Note that the blood that fills the seven vials is that of prophets AND saints (16:5f). When the number of these martyrs is complete, the End will come (Rev. 6:9-11).

                      I should add that my theory is that Revelation’s liturgical passages are an eschatologically heightened Sukkoth [Tabernacles] celebration. I argued this in my 1993 U Mich dissertation, The Harvest of the Earth.

                      Timothy P. Jenney


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                    • polycarp66@aol.com
                      In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:37:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time, drjenney@earthlink.net writes: It’s certainly a possibility. There are two harvests in 14
                      Message 10 of 16 , Apr 18, 2004
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                        In a message dated 4/18/2004 8:37:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time, drjenney@... writes:

                        It’s certainly a possibility. There are two harvests in 14 though, not one. I think the grape harvest symbolizes Christian martyrs [or at least includes them]. Note that the blood that fills the seven vials is that of prophets AND saints (16:5f). When the number of these martyrs is complete, the End will come (Rev. 6:9-11).

                        I should add that my theory is that Revelation’s liturgical passages are an eschatologically heightened Sukkoth [Tabernacles] celebration. I argued this in my 1993 U Mich dissertation, The Harvest of the Earth.
                        ______________
                         
                        I think it would be going beyond the evidence to say that the seven vials contain the blood of the martyrs.  While the sea and the fresh water sources are said to turn to blood, it is nowhere stated that the vials contained blood but rather that they are the vials of the Wrath of God.  Also, it should be noted that the pouring of the vials on other portions of the cosmos does not produce blood.  That the grape harvest symbolizes the Christian martyrs is, in my opinion, precisely wrong since they are thrown into the wine-press of the Wrath of God.  This is rather God's wrath against those who rejected the Son.
                         
                        I'm not ready to say that ALL the liturgical passages refer to Sukkoth.  It is relatively certain, however, that this is in view with regard to the 144,000 sealed from the twelve tribes in chapter 7 since the great multitude is there pictured as having palm branches in their hands.  Also, in chapter 14, when the 144,000 again appear on the heavenly Mount Zion they themselves have palm branches and are specifically designated as first fruits.
                         
                        gfsomsel
                      • Ian Paul
                        ... But you only have to look at the amazing complex of words occurring four, seven, ten, 14 and 28 times (Richard Bauckham gives a start in Climax of
                        Message 11 of 16 , Apr 19, 2004
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                          On Sunday, April 18, 2004, at 05:01 PM, polycarp66@... wrote:

                          > Our author was not loathe to specify that there were seven lampstands
                          > representing seven churches and seven spirits of God.  He also
                          > enumerated seven seals, four angels holding back the winds, seven
                          > trumpets, seven bowls of wrath and three woes.  Nowhere does he
                          > specify that there are seven makarisms.  Even had he thus specified,
                          > the question would remain "Why is this placed here?" though, in such a
                          > case its authenticity would not then be in question.
                          >
                          But you only have to look at the amazing complex of words occurring
                          four, seven, ten, 14 and 28 times (Richard Bauckham gives a start in
                          Climax of Prophecy) to see that there are structures in the book which
                          are not made explicit.

                          If you are suggesting that we can effectively discard part of the text
                          unless we see a reason for it being there--I think I would want to take
                          issue with your methodology!

                          Ian Paul
                          _________________
                          Revd Dr Ian Paul
                          Director of Partnership Development, St John's College, Bramcote, Nottm
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                        • polycarp66@aol.com
                          In a message dated 4/19/2004 4:51:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time, editor@grovebooks.co.uk writes: But you only have to look at the amazing complex of words
                          Message 12 of 16 , Apr 19, 2004
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                            In a message dated 4/19/2004 4:51:07 AM Eastern Daylight Time, editor@... writes:
                            But you only have to look at the amazing complex of words occurring
                            four, seven, ten, 14 and 28 times (Richard Bauckham gives a start in
                            Climax of Prophecy) to see that there are structures in the book which
                            are not made explicit.

                            If you are suggesting that we can effectively discard part of the text
                            unless we see a reason for it being there--I think I would want to take
                            issue with your methodology!
                            _________
                             
                            Do you mean to say that if you were to find (hypothetically speaking, of course) a passage with a recipe for Trout Munieres in the middle, you would have any hesitation in saying it wasn't original?  I find something amiss with that methodology.
                             
                            gfsomsel
                          • Ian Paul
                            ... What I would do is ask: 1. whether it is genuine data in the text, or has been constructed by unjustifiably selective reading 2. whether this was a
                            Message 13 of 16 , Apr 19, 2004
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                              On Monday, April 19, 2004, at 01:26 PM, polycarp66@... wrote:

                              > Do you mean to say that if you were to find (hypothetically speaking,
                              > of course) a passage with a recipe for Trout Munieres in the middle,
                              > you would have any hesitation in saying it wasn't original?  I find
                              > something amiss with that methodology.
                              >
                              What I would do is ask:

                              1. whether it is genuine data in the text, or has been constructed by
                              unjustifiably selective reading
                              2. whether this was a possible significance of the text for the author
                              3. whether an informed first reader might have been able to discern
                              this (ie so that this feature of the text was a genuine act of
                              communication, which presumably all texts are intended to be)
                              4. whether this could fit with the explicit (ie expressed at the level
                              of semantic content) theology of the text.

                              All four are satisfied in the observation of word frequencies (see my
                              Grove booklet on the subject http://www.grovebooks.co.uk) whereas the
                              supposed recipe for Trout Munieres would, I think, fall at every step.
                              (As an alternative example, the Bible Code stuff fails at least at
                              steps 1, 3 and 4.)

                              There is also the question of burden of proof, that is, if we think
                              that text has been added, we would need to support this with a good
                              reason why a later scribe would see the need for this. (As an example,
                              there are two good reasons for justifying the alternative reading of
                              616 in Rev 13.18 which explains why it might have arisen, and
                              additionally makes sense of the primary reading 666). The difficulty in
                              16.15 is constructing a plausible meaning for the text *without* the
                              interpolation (the meaning for the author) and constructing a plausible
                              meaning for the text *with* the interpolation (the meaning for the
                              later scribe/editor) and being able to tell the difference and how we
                              might attribute these two meanings to the two people concerned the
                              right way around (since if they are attributed the other way around,
                              then the scribe should have taken text out not added it in).

                              What I would avoid is:
                              1. assuming that if something does not fit in with my reading, then it
                              could not have fitted with the author's (possibly incoherent) intention
                              2. offering slightly facile illustrations as a counter to a serious
                              comment
                              3. going under an anonymous signature in my emails

                              regards

                              Ian Paul
                              _________________
                              Revd Dr Ian Paul
                              Director of Partnership Development, St John's College, Bramcote, Nottm
                              NG9 3DS
                              w 0115 925 1114 x 254 h 01202 745963 m 07974 351502
                              Also Managing Editor, Grove Books Ltd Ridley Hall Road Cambridge CB3
                              9HU
                              01223 464748 Fax 01223 464849
                              http://www.grovebooks.co.uk
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