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THE BOOK OF ENOCH : TRUTH OR HERESY?
Authored By : Bill Kochman (aka The WordWeaver)
Published On : September 25, 1997
Last Updated : June 2, 2012
Book Of Enoch, Why It Was Rejected As Part Of The Canon, The Watchers, Apocryphal Works, Divine Inspiration Of God's Word, Debate Concerning Which Books Are Divinely Inspired, Canons, Enoch's Lineage, Enoch Walked With God And Was Not, Prophet Elijah's Translation To Heaven, Who Disqualified Enoch?, Old Testament Heathen Background Of Abraham And His Descendants, Jacob Laban Rachel And Missing Idols, God Sends His Prophets To Warn Israelites To Repent Of False Gods Worship, Jesus' Encounter With Woman Of Samaria, Foreign Invasions Result In Heathen In Israel, Animosity And War Between Jewish Kings Of The Divided Kingdom, Jesus Was A Nazarene, Nazareth: Israel's Arab Capital, Jewish Religious Authorities Rejected Christ, Jesus Exposed Jewish Religionists, Jesus Was A Threat To The Roman-Jewish Status Quo, Jesus Crucified On False Charges Of Treason And Sedition, Pentecost And Outpouring of Holy Ghost, Witnessing Explosion And Jewish Priesthood Won To The Faith, Jewish Religionists Devise Plan To Destroy Christian Church, Persecution From Without And Infiltration By False Brethren, Transformation Of Saul Of Tarsus To The Apostle Paul, Paul's Sufferings And Eventual Martyrdom In rome, Peter And Other Apostles Persecuted By Jewish Sanhedrin And By King Herod
As many Christians who have read the manuscript will know, the Book of Enoch is a very powerful, vivid, prophetic work which leaves a person with a lasting impression. Due to its controversial nature, it may not be suitable for persons who are young Christians, and who have thus not yet been fully grounded in the Word of God; that is, in the accepted Canon. Because of some of the themes it contains, the Book of Enoch is not generally accepted as being Divinely Inspired by most of traditional Christianity. To my knowledge, the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches are the only Christian bodies which currently include the Book of Enoch in their canons. The Ethiopian Jews -- or Beta Israel -- of Israel also view the Book of Enoch as inspired text, and include it in their Holy Scriptures, which are known as "Mäṣḥafä Kedus".
One of the primary reasons why the Book of Enoch has been rejected by most of Christendom -- as well as by the Jews -- as being Divinely Inspired is due to its expanded account of the Watchers; that is, the Fallen Angels who abandoned their Heavenly Abode, came down to the Earth, and then engaged in sexual intercourse with human women. The Jews do not believe that the Angels were capable of sinning and rebelling against God; and some Christians likewise find it difficult to accept that Angels actually came to the Earth and engaged in sexual relations with women. This ancient account, along with a few other Biblical examples, will be examined a litte later in this series.
Because of its controversial contents, the Book of Enoch belongs to a group of writings which are referred to as the Apocryphal Works. This means that either their authenticity, authorship, or Divine Inspiration is in doubt; or at least it was in doubt at the time that the early Church Fathers made the decision regarding which books should be included in the Biblical canon. It should also be noted that the Book of Enoch was not incorporated into the canon of the Tanakh -- that is, the Hebrew Bible, or Christian Old Testament -- or into the canon of the Septuagint -- that is, the LXX, or the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible -- during the closing centuries of the pre-Christian era. In his second Epistle to Timothy, we find the Apostle Paul writing as follows:
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
2 Timothy 3:16, KJV
The Apostle Peter also made a comment regarding the Divine Authorship of the Ancient Texts in the following verse. To be more specific, Peter refers to the Gift of Prophecy:
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
2 Peter 1:21, KJV
According to my research, this issue concerning the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures has been a rather strong point of contention and debate since the Third or Fourth Century; not only with regards to the Book of Enoch, but with similar texts as well, many of which remain widely unknown to most Christians to this day. In fact, dozens of different canons have been proposed since the Bible was first compiled; and even today, different Biblical canons are used by different churches around the world. For the uninitiated, a canon is simply a collection or list of sacred books which have been accepted as being genuine. In the Christian context, it is the Books of the Bible which are viewed as being Divinely Inspired.
But exactly who was the Patriarch Enoch? In reading the list of genealogies which is found in the Book of Genesis, we find Enoch listed as one of the descendants of Seth -- who was the third son of Adam and Eve -- and likewise as the ancestor of the Patriarch Noah. In fact, he was Noah's great-grandfather, as we can determine by the following verses:
"And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters: And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel: And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died. And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared: And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died. And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died. And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech: And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died. And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son: And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed."
Genesis 5:3-29, KJV
As can be seen from the previous set of verses, what is so unique about Enoch is that, according to Scriptures, he did not experience a normal death like other humans. Rather, we are told that he "walked with God" and "God took him". It is commonly accepted that these phrases mean that Enoch was in some miraculous way translated -- or transported -- to the Spiritual Realm. This is similar to what occurred with the Prophet Elijah in the second Book of the Kings, as we see by the following verses:
"And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces."
2 Kings 2:9-12, KJV
Returning to Enoch, it is believed by some researchers and theologians that it was prior to his miraculous translation to the Heavenly Realm that Enoch communed with Angels, and wrote what we know today as the five-part collection called the Book of Enoch; although there is some debate regarding whether or not he actually wrote all five parts of the Book which is named after him. The five sections are as follows:
|The Book of the Watchers
|The Book of Parables of Enoch
||a.k.a. the Similitudes of Enoch
|The Astronomical Book
||a.k.a. the Book of the Heavenly Luminaries or Book of Luminaries
|The Book of Dream Visions
||a.k.a. the Book of Dreams
|The Epistle of Enoch
So the question that arises is this: If the Patriarch Enoch was so favored by the Lord that he did not have to experience physical death, but rather was taken up into Heaven by some mysterious means; and if he wrote such an awe-inspiring and important Book, why is it that his writings are not included in our present-day Bible? Who disqualified him as an inspired Prophet of God?
To fully understand this issue, we need to backtrack in time and review a little bit of ancient Biblical history. To begin with, let me remind you that since the Old Testament era, the children of Israel had some serious problems with pagan ideas and beliefs slipping into their midst. As I point out in such articles as "The Children of God and Politics" and "The Fruits of Disobedience", the ancient Hebrews were surrounded by many heathen nations which worshipped other gods, and not the God of the Israelites.
In fact, as I explain in the article called "One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews", let us not forget that Abraham the Hebrew -- which is derived from the Hebrew word "ibriy", which means "one from beyond" -- was called by God to abandon the ancient pagan worship of Babylon; that is, the city of Ur in the land of the Chaldees. From the moment that Abraham left there, he and his descendants had constant problems with some of their family members sometimes slipping back into the sins of their forefathers. Consider the following Scriptural example where a confrontation occurs between Jacob, Laban and Rachel, as a result of some missing idols:
"And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? And Jacob answered and said to Laban, Because I was afraid: for I said, Peradventure thou wouldest take by force thy daughters from me. With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them. And Laban went into Jacob's tent, and into Leah's tent, and into the two maidservants' tents; but he found them not. Then went he out of Leah's tent, and entered into Rachel's tent. Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel's furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. And she said to her father, Let it not displease my lord that I cannot rise up before thee; for the custom of women is upon me. And he searched, but found not the images. And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me? Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both."
Genesis 31:30-37, KJV
This is in fact a recurring problem which we find throughout the entire Old Testament. As I explain in such articles as "Revelation's Babylon the Great", the Lord sent one Prophet after another to warn the children of Israel to turn from their wicked ways, and to return to Him. However, in spite of His pleadings with them, even at the time of Jesus, this problem still persisted. This was due in part to the fact that as a result of both the Assyrian and the Babylonian invasions, many heathens had moved into Israel, particularly into the northern half around Samaria. As I mention in other articles, this is one of the reasons why even in Jesus' day, animosity still existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. This is evident by the statement that the woman of Samaria made to Jesus in the following verse:
"Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."
John 4:9, KJV
Something else which contributed to the ongoing animosity is the fact that throughout the Old Testament period, when the Jews were not occupied with waging war against their outside enemies, the king of Israel -- whose capital was Samaria -- and the king of Judah -- whose capital was Jerusalem -- were quite often waging war against each other. This attitude of hostility between the north and the south was obviously still very much alive during the First Century AD. As I explain in other articles, grudges are held for a very long time in the lands of the Middle East.
Concerning Jesus Himself, being as He was raised in Nazareth -- which is located in extreme northern Israel near Syria -- this just gave the self-righteous Jewish Elders in Jerusalem another reason to reject Him. In the Gospel of John, you may recall how Nathanael responded when Philip first informed him that they had found the Christ. Consider this verse:
"And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see."
John 1:46, KJV
It may interest you to know that today, two thousand years later, Nazareth is known as "the Arab capital of Israel". This is because the population of the city is composed for the most part of Arab citizens of Israel; the majority of whom are Muslim, and not Jewish or Christian.
This pagan influence on the Jews is not the only thing that was happening at that time in Israel's history. As I pointed out a moment ago, from the time that Jesus began His public ministry, He and His message were not well-received by those who were in power; particularly not by those people who held religious power; that is, the Scribes and the Pharisees. In spite of this rejection by the Jewish religious authorities, we know that the common people heard Jesus gladly, as we see by this verse:
"David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly."
Mark 12:37, KJV
Compared to the cold, rigid system of legalistic observance of the Torah to the last letter, Jesus' vibrant doctrine of love, caring and sharing was too radical, and too liberal, for the religionists of that day. Jesus fully exposed their greedy materialism, their pompous self-satisfaction, their oppression of the common people, and their hypocrisy. The Jewish leadership -- both the political and the religious leadership -- did not want Jesus upsetting the status quo. Most importantly, they weren't about to allow Him to strain their cozy relationship with the government in Rome, which already breathed down their necks. Thus, they accused Him of treason and sedition against Rome, and it worked.
While those conspiratorial Jews were eventually "successful" in ridding themselves of Jesus -- at least so they thought -- they had not foreseen the greater "threat" which would soon arrive in the form of His radical followers who would continue to carry His message of Love and Salvation into all the world. Following the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, which we find in the opening verses of chapter two of the Book of Acts, the situation got out of hand as far as the Jewish Elders were concerned. To aggravate the situation further, some of their own priests were being won over to the Christian faith, as we see by the following verse. This development alone must have made the "threat" posed by the Apostles seem even greater in the eyes of the Scribes and the Pharisees:
"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."
Acts 6:7, KJV
Thus, the jealous Jewish religionists devised a devious plan to destroy the young Christian Church, before it destroyed their comfortable relationship with the Romans, and stripped them of their power and control over the masses. In looking back now, it seems that they may have devised a two-pronged attack. In other words, while they would continue to attack from without, they would also attack from within as well by infiltrating the ranks of the Disciples. We find evidence of this throughout the Book of Acts, as well as in a number of the Epistles. Jesus had earlier warned His followers of this very danger when He said the following:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
Matthew 7:15, KJV
Thus, following their well-thought-out plan, the Early Church was infiltrated by legalistic Jews who posed as brethren, in order to try to enforce the Torah code -- that is, the Laws of Moses -- on the Disciples who had been liberated through the Blood of Christ. The Apostles Peter, John and Paul warned the Disciples about this encroaching danger, as we can see by the following sample verses:
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Acts 20:28-30, KJV
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
Romans 16:17, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him . . . For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15, KJV
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:6-9, KJV
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
Galatians 2:4, KJV
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
Philippians 3:2, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
"If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
1 Timothy 6:3-5, KJV
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;"
2 Timothy 4:3, KJV
"But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."
Titus 3:9-11, KJV
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
2 Peter 2:1-2, KJV
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
1 John 2:18-19, KJV
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
2 John 1:9-11, KJV
In addition to infiltration by false Jewish brethren, as well as verbal attacks, physical persecution also became the order of the day; first by the Jewish religious authorities, and in the years ahead by Rome itself. As I explain in the article "A Biblical Cafeteria, Or the Whole Course?", once Saul of Tarsus was transformed from being a zealous Pharisee who was devoted to persecuting, imprisoning and killing Christians, to becoming one of the Lord's most faithful servants of the First Century, not only did he feel the wrath of his former Jewish brethren, but in time he experienced the wrath of Rome as well. Following are verses where some of Paul's sufferings are mentioned:
"And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks."
Acts 16:19-24, KJV
"For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:"
Acts 24:5, KJV
"But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;"
2 Corinthians 6:4-5, KJV
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
2 Corinthians 11:23-27, KJV
As many of you will already know, Paul eventually gave his life for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, he mentions his approaching martyrdom in the following verses that are found in two of his Epistles:
"For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again."
Philippians 1:19-26, KJV
"Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all."
Philippians 2:16-17, KJV
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
2 Timothy 4:6-8, KJV
Paul was not alone. From the earliest chapters of the Book of Acts, we discover that Peter and the other Apostles were likewise persecuted by the Jewish religious authorities -- that is, the Sanhedrin -- and later by King Herod as well. Consider the following example verses that are found in the Book of Acts:
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."
Acts 5:17-18, KJV
"When they [the Jews] heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison."
Acts 7:54-8:1-3, KJV
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
Acts 12:1-4, KJV
"I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities."
Acts 26:9-11, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .