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What is the Bible? - Page 3

post #41 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedBird
Jessica- A serious question- how can you have a view of the torah? Have you ever learned torah? Or did you mean the "old testament"? If that's what you mean, if that's what your knowledge and experience comes from, then please say "old testament" and leave the torah out of it.
Seriously???!!! I've always been under the general impression that most of the Old Testament are accepted both by Christians and Jews- although each would prefer their own translations.

But since you asked, I'll have to go get out my notes from religious studies and the copy of the book I bought for that class. Oh, better yet, a quick search since I don't know where those notes are right now (My dh's copy of the book is in our living room, I'm not sure where my copy is). Okay, yes, here we go: I'm referring to the book called the Tanakh- what I thought was commonly known as the written Torah or Jewish bible .

So I've read portions of both the Tanakh and the Old Testament, but neither from cover to cover. And I've only viewed the beautiful Torah's from a distance at Temple.

So, am I allowed to join this conversation or not???? And btw, what exactly did I say that was so offensive- because I can only assume (that's risky, I know) that somethign I've written was offensive to cause your response.

And for those of us out there who are interested in what the difference is, I'll copy my quick little internet search to try to be helpful:

Jessica


http://www.jewfaq.org/torah.htm
Judaism 101: Torah
"The word "Torah" is a tricky one, because it can mean different things in different contexts. In its most limited sense, "Torah" refers to the Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. But the word "torah" can also be used to refer to the entire Jewish bible (the body of scripture known to non-Jews as the Old Testament and to Jews as the Tanakh or Written Torah), or in its broadest sense, to the whole body of Jewish law and teachings."

skipping a bit:
"Written Torah is often referred to as the Tanakh, which is an acrostic of Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim. "
NEVI'IM (The Prophets):
KETHUVIM (The Writings)

and a definition of bible from a dictionary:
Dictionary definition of Bible
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Bible
The book sacred to Christians, which they consider to be the inspired word of God. The Bible includes the Old Testament, which contains the sacred books of the Jews, and the New Testament, which begins with the birth of Jesus.

Thirty-nine books of the Old Testament are accepted as part of the Bible by Christians and Jews alike. Some Christians consider several books of the Old Testament, such as Judith, I and II Maccabees, and Ecclesiasticus, to be part of the Bible also, whereas other Christians, and Jews, call these the Old Testament Apocrypha. Christians are united in their acceptance of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament; Jews do not consider the writings of the New Testament inspired. The Bible is also called “the Book” (bible means “book”).

By extension, any book considered an infallible or very reliable guide to some activity may be called a “bible.”
post #42 of 76
The "old testament" is not the torah. This is a discussion that already exists in a few other threads here, just search.
I don't care what you do with this discussion, my point only was it was not a discussion about the torah but about the
(christian) bible. Why not just leave the torah out of it, unless you know enough to know what the torah is?
post #43 of 76
BB, I get your point. You have repeatedly made it on mdc, but others who are newer to mdc or Rel Stud may not be aware of your point.

Torah, as you are referring to it, includes, I think, the first 5 books of the Hebrew scriptures, the Prophets and the Writings, as in the jewfaq link. It also includes the Oral Torah, which is also known as the Talmud. (Traditional Jews believe G-d handed Moshe both the written and oral Torahs from the mountaintop. Others take a more historical/critical view and consider it more of an evolution.) Further interpretations of the Tanakh include the Kabbalah.

So, are you telling a woman whose dh is a Reform Jew, and is sincerely trying hard to understand her dh's religion, so as to raise her son within his heritage, to be quiet about Jewish beliefs until she has studied the entire Talmud and Kabbalah?

I think it would be nice to let her discuss it as she learns it. And happily and gently and lovingly encourage her to explore the beauty of the religion you love so well.

I have no intention of converting, but as a student of world religions, I find Judaism beautiful, and as an ignorant goy, was intruiged and thrilled to learn the theology Judaism is not just the words of Tanakh. As the theology of Catholicism is not just the words of "the Bible" but includes "tradition," ie: further writings of the "Church Fathers" and the doctrines put forth by many Popes, as voted on by Bishops.

And as a 50 yr old woman, I am willing to admit to my continued ignorance about many aspects of it as well. But I do know a bit more than I did 4 yrs ago.

20 yr olds think they know everything. 50 yr olds know they know next to nothing. *sigh*
post #44 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaryLLL

So, are you telling a woman whose dh is a Reform Jew, and is sincerely trying hard to understand her dh's religion, so as to raise her son within his heritage, to be quiet about Jewish beliefs until she has studied the entire Talmud and Kabbalah?
No, obviously I was saying nothing of the sort because my post was clearly about this thread. Specifically about the topic of this thread. Which was the christian bible. Bringing the torah in is changing the subject. For no good reason. Let this thread stay about the subject it was intended to be about. Did I somewhere tell the woman married to a reform jew that she may not discuss the torah? (on what authority would I do so?) No, I said this thread is not about the torah. And the person to bring the torah into it certainly should not be (my opinion obviously) someone who does not know what the torah is.

Quote:
I think it would be nice to let her discuss it as she learns it.
Let? Hm. How am I "not letting" exactly?


Quote:
And happily and gently and lovingly encourage her to explore the beauty of the religion you love so well.
HM. Are you all of those when someone says "gnostic means someone who does not believe in G-d" or "witches are evil and halloween is the time they sacrifice black cats to worship the devil"? Do you lovingly share your religion in response to people telling mistruths about faiths and paths you love and care about?
I will gladly explain "nicely" when asked nicely. When people post untruths I am less "chummy" in my answer.
Some people like my personality, some don't.
What can I do?
post #45 of 76


As I said on the circ thread, it is hard to be loving and gentle and respectful when we share information on a controversial subject. I generally try to be respectful here. I do not always succeed. I do not resort to ad hominem attacks or namecalling. That is against the UA.

Once in a while, my words are seen by admin as "casting aspersion" even when I do not intend to. That is more of a grey area open to personal interpretation.

Back on topic:

I was not aware this thread was about the Christian Bible alone. IMO, any discussion of "the Bible" should include information about how Jews interpret the Bible, as opposed to how Christians, and Muslims for that matter, do. If the OP prefers to keep it to a purely Christian discussion, she can let us know.
post #46 of 76
Hmmm, I'm neither 50 nor 20, but whatever.

My only reference to the Torah was in this statement:

"As for the original question. I totally agree that the book is written by man. I totally view the Torah and the Christian bibles with a historical, cultural, and political lense. "

I still fail to understand what was wrong with a brief reference to Torah here- and my personal view.

In my example of trying to understand animal sacrafice, I referred to my understanding of the Old Testament- and how I was looking at in through modern eyes. I NEVER referred to the Jewish bible, I said Old Testament.

Again, in common use, the term 'bible' refers often to both the Christian and Jewish bibles so if OP meant only the Christian bible I'm sorry for misunderstanding.

When I attend temple the discussions of Torah often involve the political time, but I obviously need to become a true scholar to continue the discussion here. The conversations I've had around a coffee table with my dh or inlaws or Jewish friends are obviously not good enough.

I'm sorry if my knowledge of Judaism is not 'complete' enough for you- this is how I'm interpreting your comments. But as ignorant as I am, I AM trying to learn and I don't think I'm any more or less knowledgable than the majority of non-Jews.

I may keep trying here in this forum, but maybe not. It hasn't been the usual pleasurable learning experience I expect from this type of forum- or that I have received when talking to people in real life.

Jessica
post #47 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessjgh1
Hmmm, I'm neither 50 nor 20, but whatever.

Jess, my remarks were not made in reference to you. It was my personal attempt to be humble and say, despite the hours I have put in studying the Bible (your definition here) in recent yrs, I still have a lot to learn.
post #48 of 76
HUMPH!!!
I'll get all huffy too if that's the activity this evenening.
I asked a question about what you were refering to and this is what I get!
HUMPH
post #49 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedBird
Some people like my personality, some don't.
What can I do?
I like your personality, BB.
post #50 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaryLLL
Jess, my remarks were not made in reference to you. It was my personal attempt to be humble and say, despite the hours I have put in studying the Bible (your definition here) in recent yrs, I still have a lot to learn.
I didn't meant to imply that- it was just my way of trying to find a little humor. (-;

Jessica
post #51 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasingPeace
I like your personality, BB.
Aw thanks.
post #52 of 76
OK, good. I thought I had offended you somehow.

Now in ref to this part of the OP:

Quote:
I pose this as a philosophical question.

I have decided that the Bible is just a collection of books, songs, and letters written by men about God. I do not believe it all came from God. I do not believe it is holy. I believe men invented religion, but God is who He is...
... I'm saying that the Bible is from people, and may or may not accurately represent God. Are there any other people who believe this?
We have this (if it is OK to discuss Jewish views) from wikipedia:



Quote:
The Two Torahs

By the Hellenistic period of Jewish history, Jews were divided over the nature of the Torah. Some (for example, the Sadducees) believed that the Chumash [first 5 books, aka Pentateuch] contained the entire Torah, that is, the entire contents of what God revealed to Moses at Sinai and in the desert. Others, principally the Pharisees, believed that the Chumash represented only that portion of the revelation that had been written down (i.e. the Written Torah or the Written Law), but that the rest of God's revelation had been passed down orally (thus composing the Oral Law or Oral Torah). Orthodox Jews today believe that the Talmud consists of the Oral Torah committed to writing.


The Four Sources

Most Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, as well as many liberal Christian scholars, now accept the Documentary hypothesis
These are known by initials:

J (Yahwists), E (Elohim), D (Deuteronomists), and P (Priests).

Quote:
These in turn may go back to oral traditions and/or drew on (and sometimes parodied) earlier ancient Near Eastern [sacred scripture and law]. [it has been] suggested that these sources were edited together [and/] or redacted during the time of Ezra, perhaps by Ezra himself.

Jewish scholars who accept the documentary hypothesis differ as to whether these sources were or were not divinely inspired, and differ over the nature and extent of their obligation to the 613 commandments and the body of law represented in the Oral Torah, although each branch of Judaism recognizes both the Written and Oral Torahs as central to Jewish tradition...
post #53 of 76
I'm a little nervous about posting here, but here it goes, I'll try to be brief (which is a real challenge for me ).

I personally believe that the Christian Bible is historical document, not historical fact. I do also believe that the Bible is inspired by God but written by man, and has been manipulated by man as well. Now, I am admittedly a Catholic, and a cradle Catholic too, anyway, I see the parables and gospels of the NT as historical documentation of Christ's life. I believe that they are valuable lessons and important guidelines to which we attempt to model His messages and live our lives in a more Christ-like (hence the term Christianity) fashion.

Make sense to anyone but me???
post #54 of 76
I'm just going to answer the OP I think that the Bible is purely a collection of myths and legends from the time periods and regions. I could go WAY into more detail, but it's kind of unnecessary. I've studied alot of the other religons in the area at the time, and how certain myths and legends were adapted into other religons, ect. THis is what lead me to be an atheist (well, that and more in depth scriptural study, trying to make it all make sense, when it just doesn't). Trying to make this post short and sweet No truth in it, not accurate, but possible historical value? No real moral value to me either, just a collection of stories, just like other stories from all different lands, Greek myths, Mount Olympus, ect.

As for what you believe, I'd say that you can no longer truely consider yourself "Christian" if you don't believe it is the truth, but that's okay Open your mind and keep asking questions, and seeking! This is how we grow!
post #55 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by RowansDad
Surpised no one yet has rolled the following into the mix....

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible

"The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.

"The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.

"We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.

"The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.

More here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...811332,00.html
I did not see a response to this post, so I will say that this one reason of many that many Christians do not consider the Catholic religion the same as Christianity. (no offense to Catholics intended)

The original question reminded me of this song that the young people at our church sing. It is based on 10 verses from different books of the Bible.

The Bible is God's breath,
The essence of His Person;
God's speaking out through men
Borne by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is God's speaking
In the prophets, in the Son.
The Bible is the Holy Spirit's
Revelation.

The Bible testifies
Concerning the Lord Jesus.
The Bible makes men wise,
Wise unto salvation.
The Bible causes men
To be regenerated.
Our spiritual milk,
Our bread of life,
It makes us all complete.

(from: 2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:21, Hebrews 1:1-2, John 16:13, John 5:39, 2 Tim 3:15, 1 Pet 1:23, 1 Pet 2:2, Matt 4:4, 2 Tim 3:17)

I agree completely with that song.

For those of you who disagree with the Bible, it sounds like some of you have read it, but if there are any of you of any religion that have not read it, I highly recommend it. I was born and raised Jewish and when I was in High School, one of my English teachers told me that I should read the entire Bible because so much of our culture is influenced by it. I was insulted at the time because as a Jew and as a high schooler, I did not feel that I should have to read the New Testament - it seemed like blasphemy almost to even suggest it and very rude.
Once I was born again as a Christian, the first thing I did was read the entire Bible cover to cover and I remembered what my High School English teacher had told me and realized that she had been right! By that time I had been a middle school reading teacher for a few years. Our culture and society are heavily influenced by the Bible and it was just totally amazing to me to read it and see so many things that had come from the Bible. Of course that may have just been the teacher in me, but I really do agree now that everyone would be much better educated if they would read the entire Bible even if just to learn it's influence on our culture and society.
post #56 of 76
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Free Thinker
I'm just going to answer the OP I think that the Bible is purely a collection of myths and legends from the time periods and regions.
I don't think it is purely fiction. There are eternal truths and morality taught in the Bible. It is a discussion of social justice, love, forgiveness, fairness, etc. I feel that these eternal truths come from somewhere (God). I believe everyone has an intrinsic knowing of God. I think everyone (well, maybe not EVERYone) will have a quiet moment and just know that there is something or someone great and unseen. I spent a great deal of time during childhood alone in the wilderness. Yet, I never felt alone. I knew there was always a Spirit that knew I was there. I never heard about religion or Jesus until I was 15 years old. What I knew about God before then was very pure. There is just so much life here on this earth, and the way we are all connected, I simply observed that life is proof of God. This was a simple observation through a child's eyes who knew nothing of religion. I talked to God before I knew what prayer was. I hid myself up in tree branches for hours and hours just being still, listening, watching, smelling, and feeling what happens in the woods. I realized I was a part of this life source. I belonged in the woods just as much as the animals, plants,dirt, trees, wind, and rain. There is a Spirit that gives and sustains life. He is benevolent, and full of every good thing.

Then, when I learned about Jesus, I could accept His teaching because the ideals He taught were consistent with what I already believed. The beliefs I already held were based on my life experiences. At that point, I had observed that all people were fudamentally flawed and evil (yes, including myself), and that I hated it, and there must be a better way to live. I thought, "Ah! Finally, I found the wisdom from the Spirit that I already knew."

Quote:
I could go WAY into more detail, but it's kind of unnecessary. I've studied alot of the other religons in the area at the time, and how certain myths and legends were adapted into other religons, ect. THis is what lead me to be an atheist (well, that and more in depth scriptural study, trying to make it all make sense, when it just doesn't). Trying to make this post short and sweet No truth in it, not accurate, but possible historical value? No real moral value to me either, just a collection of stories, just like other stories from all different lands, Greek myths, Mount Olympus, ect.

As for what you believe, I'd say that you can no longer truely consider yourself "Christian" if you don't believe it is the truth, but that's okay Open your mind and keep asking questions, and seeking! This is how we grow!
It's sad that you think the only source for learning about God is from books. The way I see it, God came first, then the books and religions. The books and religions may indeed have it wrong, but God is still the same God He always was and always will be.

It's like adults always want to mess everything up. Jesus teaches that we should be like little children, and I think there is a lot more to it than what most people will understand. I think children naturally do not want to cause harm, but may accidentally, not knowing what they are doing. Then adults think the children are 'bad', a term children do not naturally comprehend. But adults do bad things knowingly and need to justify them with some invented 'greater good'. Then adults want to call the bad things good, and the good things bad. But if we are like children, and live with our hearts, we stop thinking about meaningless adult politics, and it becomes easy to see the difference between right and wrong, the spirit of benevolence and the spirit of evil. Forget your pre-conceived notions of what God looks like, and then it is just apparent what is from God and what isn't.

I am seeing something unusual in myself lately. I can look at people, or listen to them talking, and I know what part of God they are expressing. I can tell: that is God's teaching, or that is God's mercy, or he has the Word of God, or she is God's healing. It's not something I think about, it's just like, BAM there it is, I see it when I look at them.
post #57 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by christianmomof3
I did not see a response to this post, so I will say that this one reason of many that many Christians do not consider the Catholic religion the same as Christianity. (no offense to Catholics intended)


Well, you may not have intended to offend, but you have. Why is there such a misconception regarding Catholicism as a Christian denomination? Where do you think the other denominations of Christianity derived from? Why are subtle forms of Catholic-bashing allowed. Catholics are Christians, sorry if that bothers you, but it is an inescapable fact. I'm just as much of a Christian as a Lutheran, a Baptist, or a Methodist. If anything, that article just points out what some Catholics believe. It certainly doesn't make them less Christian than anyone else.

The original question reminded me of this song that the young people at our church sing. It is based on 10 verses from different books of the Bible.

The Bible is God's breath,
The essence of His Person;
God's speaking out through men
Borne by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is God's speaking
In the prophets, in the Son.
The Bible is the Holy Spirit's
Revelation.

The Bible testifies
Concerning the Lord Jesus.
The Bible makes men wise,
Wise unto salvation.
The Bible causes men
To be regenerated.
Our spiritual milk,
Our bread of life,
It makes us all complete.

(from: 2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:21, Hebrews 1:1-2, John 16:13, John 5:39, 2 Tim 3:15, 1 Pet 1:23, 1 Pet 2:2, Matt 4:4, 2 Tim 3:17)

I agree completely with that song.

For those of you who disagree with the Bible, it sounds like some of you have read it, but if there are any of you of any religion that have not read it, I highly recommend it. I was born and raised Jewish and when I was in High School, one of my English teachers told me that I should read the entire Bible because so much of our culture is influenced by it. I was insulted at the time because as a Jew and as a high schooler, I did not feel that I should have to read the New Testament - it seemed like blasphemy almost to even suggest it and very rude.

I have read the Bible in it's etirety. Cover to cover. OT and NT. I am allowed to believe that it is historical document and not historical fact. Did you somehow miss where I pointed out that I thought it was good, if not a scarce, documentation of Christ's life and His messages? That they are good rules and morals, by which we should strive to live our lives? How does that make anyone less Christian? We are allowed to have differing opinions and interpretations of the Bible, are we not? Or are we all suppose to tow a party line here? I have to say that in regards to your hs teacher, if I were you, I would have been pretty pissed that someone said that I should read the NT, considering it was not fundamental to your beliefs. Was this person reported?


Once I was born again as a Christian, the first thing I did was read the entire Bible cover to cover and I remembered what my High School English teacher had told me and realized that she had been right! By that time I had been a middle school reading teacher for a few years. Our culture and society are heavily influenced by the Bible and it was just totally amazing to me to read it and see so many things that had come from the Bible. Of course that may have just been the teacher in me, but I really do agree now that everyone would be much better educated if they would read the entire Bible even if just to learn it's influence on our culture and society.

I mean no disrespect, honestly, I don't. However, you made the conscious choice to leave the religion in which you were raised and then made a choice to read the Bible from cover to cover. That is the choice you made. You can take it literally if you so choose. I choose not to take it literally, and that does not mean that I don't believe in Christ. However, I could not fathom (as I am a teacher myself) the amount of arrogance that it would take, to suggest that any of my Muslim or Hindi students (which make up a great number of my students mixed with Christian students) read the Bible. If it were me, I'd be beyond insulted that someone else's religious viewpoint was being shoved down my throat, even as a suggestion. If they wanted to read it on their own, fine. However, I wouldn't want to be the one suggesting that my beliefs were more valid than theirs, just as much as I'd dislike it if they suggested that their beliefs were more valid than mine.

As for the Bible shaping our culture and society, yes, I do agree that there are some codes of conduct that everyone, in our societies, abide by; treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. This is in no way a Christian-only thought. It is the basic golden rule.

Not everyone in our society has the faith of a particular religion. Not everyone is religious. Some people are atheists or agnostics. Are they not part of our society? Why should they have to be forced, or have it suggested to them, that they need to read the Bible. I am not an American, but have enough US history to understand that your founding fathers separated from England to get away from religious persecution, so as not to have the Church of England dictate how, when, or why someone should worship. Separation of church and state, anyone?

Did you ever stop to consider that your hs English teacher suggested you read the Bible as a piece of literature (historical document, if you will), and not as literal fact?
post #58 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Free Thinker
I'm just going to answer the OP I think that the Bible is purely a collection of myths and legends from the time periods and regions. I could go WAY into more detail, but it's kind of unnecessary. I've studied alot of the other religons in the area at the time, and how certain myths and legends were adapted into other religons, ect. THis is what lead me to be an atheist (well, that and more in depth scriptural study, trying to make it all make sense, when it just doesn't). Trying to make this post short and sweet No truth in it, not accurate, but possible historical value? No real moral value to me either, just a collection of stories, just like other stories from all different lands, Greek myths, Mount Olympus, ect.

As for what you believe, I'd say that you can no longer truely consider yourself "Christian" if you don't believe it is the truth, but that's okay Open your mind and keep asking questions, and seeking! This is how we grow!

Actually, I do consider myself a Christian. I believe that there is some truth, but that the Bible is historical document, not fact. I do question things in order to grow spiritually, I believe that you must. I bristle at the thought of being programmed without questioning. People are fallible. That doesn't make me less of a Christian.
post #59 of 76
[QUOTE/]
It's sad that you think the only source for learning about God is from books. The way I see it, God came first, then the books and religions. The books and religions may indeed have it wrong, but God is still the same God He always was and always will be.

It's like adults always want to mess everything up. Jesus teaches that we should be like little children, and I think there is a lot more to it than what most people will understand. I think children naturally do not want to cause harm, but may accidentally, not knowing what they are doing. Then adults think the children are 'bad', a term children do not naturally comprehend. But adults do bad things knowingly and need to justify them with some invented 'greater good'. Then adults want to call the bad things good, and the good things bad. But if we are like children, and live with our hearts, we stop thinking about meaningless adult politics, and it becomes easy to see the difference between right and wrong, the spirit of benevolence and the spirit of evil. Forget your pre-conceived notions of what God looks like, and then it is just apparent what is from God and what isn't.

I am seeing something unusual in myself lately. I can look at people, or listen to them talking, and I know what part of God they are expressing. I can tell: that is God's teaching, or that is God's mercy, or he has the Word of God, or she is God's healing. It's not something I think about, it's just like, BAM there it is, I see it when I look at them. [/QUOTE]



ITA! Very well said Emily. Spot on.
post #60 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paper-Bag-Princess
Did you ever stop to consider that your hs English teacher suggested you read the Bible as a piece of literature (historical document, if you will), and not as literal fact?[/B]
I think he did rec it for that reason, as she said. I don't know if her conversion was as a result of reading the Xtian scriptures or if there were other deciding factors.

Just as I think it can be informative for Jews to read the Xtian Scriptures ("NT"), I think conversely, if a Xtian wants to be informed, they should familiarize themself with the Jewish Rabbinical interpretations of the Tanakh ("OT"), in the Talmud and Kabbalah. Quite a big difference.

At least read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Judaism.
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