History With Style

Gospel and Church, by Gustaf Wingren, translated by Ross Mackenzie (Fortress, 1964, 271 pp., $6.25), is reviewed by John Warwick Montgomery, professor and chairman, Division of Church History and History of Christian Thought, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Deerfield, Illinois.

Two exceedingly important reasons should impel evangelicals to acquaint themselves in depth with Gustaf Wingren, Anders Nygren’s successor as professor of systematic theology at Lund. First, he gives the sacrosanct giants of contemporary theology the kind of merciless drubbing they deserve for their unbiblical emphases; in this he performs a great service, since the same criticisms expressed by consistent conservatives are either ignored or treated as hopeless obscurantism by the theological establishment. Thus Wingren’s Theology in Conflict, the negative backdrop for his positive construction in Creation and Law, The Living Word, and Gospel and Church, pulled no punches; the Lundensian theology of Nygren was rapped for its philosophical formalism; Barthian neo-orthodoxy was characterized as a system “totally foreign to the Bible” for its refusal to recognize the ontological reality of sin and for its christocentric unitarianism; and Bultmann was hit, unsparingly for his egocentric existentialism. In Creation and Law and Gospel and Church, Cullmann as well receives severe criticism, since his Heilsgeschichte theology “never relates the biblical revelation to the man who hears it.”

In the second place, Wingren offers a strikingly attractive theology of his own—a theology at once biblical and Lutheran in content, yet fully contemporary in treatment. The significance of such an endeavor for English-speaking evangelicals lies chiefly in the fact that the only confessional choices before them so often seem to be the rigid extremes of Arminianism and Calvinism; Wingren points to an option that neither permits anthropocentric works-righteousness nor encourages the hyper-theocentrism from which Barth’s errors sprang. Sensitive evangelical readers of Wingren will be amazed to learn how Lutheran their de facto theology really is!

Wingren’s basic contention, which runs through all four of his volumes, is that modern theology errs by not reading the totality of Scripture as it was intended: first, creation and law; then, Gospel and Church. He roundly condemns Barth’s attempt to reverse the order of law-Gospel to Gospel-law, ant! thereby to absorb all theology into a legalistic Christology. Wingren pleads for a genuinely trinitarian hermeneutic, which he finds rooted in patristic theology (cf. his Man and the Incarnation: A Study in the Biblical Theology of Irenaeus) and in primitive Lutheranism (cf. his Luther on Vocation). The law in Scripture is the starting point for theology, not because it reveals a covenantal polity but because it is a perspicuous expression of the natural law that orders man’s life, condemns him as sinner before God, and drives him to Gospel and Church. As Wingren has argued elsewhere in reference to Calvinistic legalism: “The weakness of the Reformed position undoubtedly lies even today in its difficulties in expressing the inner unity between the gospel and the church” (Stutdia Theologica, XVII [1963], 88). It is this inner unity that Wingren does so much to clarify.

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Readable And Relevant

The Reformation (“The Pelican History of the Church,” Volume III), by Owen Chadwick (Eerdmans, 1965, 463 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by Donald J. Bruggink, assistant professor of church history, Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan.

The first thing to strike one about this book is its style! If it is not so baroque as the history of Charles Williams or Ray C. Petry, neither is it the drab parade of basic relations and facts (or even worse, only facts) that characterized too many familiar church history texts. Chadwick’s style has a classic lucidity without being pedantic, austere, or just plain pedestrian. Histories of respectable content are readily available; those that combine such content with an excellent style are far harder to find.

This matter of style is not unimportant, for one finds, even on the post-college level, many people approaching history with severe distaste (born, no doubt, of years of the facts-names-dates-and-places method of teaching history). The least one can do to recapture their interest is to offer an exciting text. Thus the importance of Chadwick’s style. In addition to a faultless command of English prose he is the master of the well-turned phrase (e.g., “the high-minded imprudence of Laud” p. 23) and the succinct description: “Farel was no organizer. The Reformation in Geneva consisted of little but broken statues and more sermons” (p. 82). And his longer descriptions sustain one’s interest: the members of Geneva’s consistory “were pitiless toward merchants who defrauded their clients, denounced short measures, excessive rates of interest, a doctor who exacted high fees, a tailor who overcharged a travelling Englishman.… They attempted to educate the public conscience and somewhat resembled Hebrew prophets, with their courage, their power, and their unpopularity” (p. 86). Even facts are assembled in such a way as to provide an exciting, vivid insight into the times, as, for example, when, discussing the Protestant sermon, Chadwick notes within a few lines the Lutheran city of Rostock, which heard some fifteen hundred different sermons in 1640; Lancelot Andrewes’s epigram “that when he preached twice a day he prated once”; Lutheran funeral sermons that ran for three hours in length; the “humane Melanchthon [who] thought that half an hour was enough” (an opinion also held by Calvin), and “a surviving-hour glass [for pulpit use] which unwaveringly completes its hour in forty-eight minutes” (p. 420).

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Because the style of this book makes its reading a pleasure, a word should also be said about its excellent balance and content, although every professional historian will find his favorite segment of history grievously slighted and thus perhaps even a bit distorted. Thus, while Calvin comes off far better than he does in many histories of English origin, yet to see his forte as God’s sovereignty, with the resulting interpretation of predestination under the rubric of Providence, is to move this sovereignty concept from its proper place as a safeguard against the reintroduction of works into his doctrine of grace (a point patently obvious from the position the discussion takes in the Institutes). However, such difficulties are perhaps inevitable in a book that considers the entire Reformation period from 1517 to 1648, and does so in a balanced manner.

The movements of reform under Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, together with their background, are treated succinctly and well, as is the Reformation in England and the rise of the radicals. While 250 pages have been devoted to this account, another hundred are given to the Counter-Reformation; ignorance of this movement on the part of most Protestants is a factor in their inability to understand the Roman church. The breadth of the book takes in both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the conquistadors in America. To a greater extent than do most authors of general histories, Chadwick has taken cognizance of the importance of ministry and worship; this is so throughout the book, as well as in a special chapter. An excellent bibliography and index are included.

Chadwick’s book is a very live choice for any professor of church history in college or seminary. It is also the kind of book that the casual reader will not only begin but also finish, for it makes history as exciting as the life of Christ’s Church which it rehearses.

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Can Education Be Christian?

The Search for a Christian Education—Since 1940, by Kendig Brubaker Cully (Westminster, 1965, 205 pp., $4.50), is reviewed by C. Adrian Heaton, president, California Baptist Theological Seminary, Covina, California, and chairman of the Commission on Christian Education of the American Association of Theological Schools.

During the last twenty-five years the changes in theories of Christian education have been more profound than the modifications in practice. This is a major thesis underlying the splendid new volume by Kendig Cully, professor at The Biblical Seminary of New York.

Dr. Cully chooses 1940 as the beginning of a new, expansive period of theorizing in Christian education. In that year, Harrison S. Elliott of Union Seminary in New York published Can Religions Education Be Christian? He raised the basic question whether religious education had to return to “historical formulations of the Christian religion and repudiate the adjustments which had been made under the influence of modern scientific and social developments” (p. 17). Elliott’s answer simply restated the positions of traditional liberalism.

Almost immediately, however, H. Shelton Smith of Duke University published Faith and Nurture. This volume affirmed that responsible Christian education must realign its theological foundations in the light of new emphases in biblical theology and the insights of neo-orthodoxy.

These two volumes opened a new era of search for foundations in Christian education. Dr. Cully now skillfully traces the major books published to help answer Dr. Elliott’s question. He groups the books and authors under eight categories in the next eight chapters. For example, under the heading of “The Continuum” he includes the works of Sophia Fahs, Harry C. Munro, and perhaps L. Harold DeWolf. Reuel Howe and Louis J. Sherrill are listed under “Psychologically-oriented Nurture.” “Education Through Relationship” is expounded by Martin Buber, Randolph Crump Miller, and David R. Hunter. James D. Smart, Iris V. Cully, and D. Campbell Wyckoff are listed under the “Biblical Basis of Nurture.” A chapter dealing with fundamentalism and neo-evangelicalism includes the work of Lois E. LeBar and Frank E. Gaebelein. He has chapters devoted to Roman Catholic writers, to biblical writers, and to those who put an “accent upon the church.”

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In the last two sections of his book, Cully reveals some trends that show up in his study and presents an appeal for taking with greater seriousness the “historical dimensions for Christian education.”

The clarity, accuracy, scope, objectivity, and insight with which these many views are covered were impressive to the reviewer, whose own work in Christian education has covered the same period and who has known personally most of the people here treated. The analyses of Howe and Sherrill and the glimpse into Roman Catholic views were especially helpful. This reviewer was also delighted with the overview of the work of Frank E. Gaebelein, co-editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Cully says Gaebelein’s writings “display a high intellectual interest and level of thought obviously designed to interest liberals, neo-orthodox, syncretists, as well as the various types of fundamentalists” (p. 110).

A little of Cully’s bias may be seen in his index, which shows nine references to the Protestant Episcopal Church but none to the Southern Baptist Convention, and none to Southern Baptist religious educators, such as J. M. Price and Gaines S. Dobbins.


Borrowed—And Trimmed

Worship in the Free Churches, by John E. Skoglund (Judson, 1965, 156 pp., $3.93), is reviewed by Howard G. Hageman, pastor, North Reformed Church, Newark, New Jersey.

The liturgical renewal is now being fully explored by all denominations of classic Reformation tradition, but the attitude of the free churches toward it has been somewhat ambiguous. Many have flatly opposed it, and those in the free church tradition who are sympathetic have been left pretty much without guidance. The result, as Dr. Skoglund humorously describes it in his opening chapter, is often borrowed plumage.

To remedy this situation, the author has produced a basic introduction to the whole concept of liturgical renewal for the free churches. It has been done in a workmanlike way, making good use of reputable and established authorities in the field. If most of the material is neither original nor new, the ease of style with which it is presented makes the book a very acceptable introduction to the field. There is a good historical chapter that primarily uses Justin Martyr and Calvin as illustrative material. The chapter entitled “Principles of Christian Worship” is an excellent digest of the best Protestant liturgical thinking. The proposed order of worship is good, and there are some interesting suggestions about the offertory. Dr. Skoglund concludes his book with sound architectural advice and an introduction to the Christian year, together with a suggested lectionary.

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It is with the last item that this reviewer has some difficulty. Not only does Dr. Skoglund’s proposal carry on the fairly meaningless tradition of “Sundays after Trinity” (surely Pentecost is the event from which this section of the Christian year takes its meaning); one wonders also whether he has given enough consideration to the free church tradition, which is not that of a lectionary but one of continuous exposition. It remains for someone to make a real free church contribution at this point by offering suggestions on how this tradition of continuous exposition can be correlated with the major aspects of the Christian year.

A second objection is to the way in which Dr. Skoglund ignores what work has been done with the free church tradition. While there can be no question that Calvin’s liturgy is, as the author indicates, the fons et origo, a study of what the free church tradition did with Calvin, and why, would seem to be a necessary prelude to any consideration of the situation today. Admittedly, material here is scarce; but in addition to some occasional papers of W. D. Maxwell’s there is Horton Davies’s sizable work on the worship of the English Puritans. A more careful use of these as historical background would have made the present work more authoritative.


Reading To Think By

A Handbook of Christian Theologians, edited by Martin E. Marty and Dean G. Peerman (World, 1965, 506 pp., $6), is reviewed by James Daane, assistant editor, CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

It seems to follow from a kind of unnecessary logic that while the best biblical studies are produced by evangelicals, the best historical theological studies are produced by the liberals. This book seems to support such an empirically valid but logically unwarranted thesis. In it, twenty-six major theologians, almost all liberal, are reported on by as many eminent modern theologians, also mostly liberal.

The theological stories are told of such theologians as Schleiermacher, the late Schweitzer, Rauschenbusch, Berdyaev, Aulen, Cullmann, the Niebuhrs, Barth, Brunner, and Bultmann by such contemporary scholars as Macquarrie, Quanbeck, Guthrie, Jenkins, Fletcher, Spinka, and Buri.

The book is divided into three sections: “The Nineteenth Century Traditions,” “Between the Times” (which does not include Barth and Brunner), and “Recent Theological Works.” What is called the “plot” of each of these sections is the movement from “experience” to “empiric” to “existence.” Although this denouement is given, not in the fifth act as in a Shakespearean play, but in the introduction, I am not sure that I catch on even with this assist. Perhaps the plot means to say that each of these three movements of theology moved from religious experience to a concern for history (empirics) to religious existentialism in increasingly constrictive concentric circles.

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But in this book the plot is really not “the thing.” What is important is the presentation, after a thumbnail biographical sketch, of the basic structure of the theologies of influential modern theologians. A beginner in theology will find this a good introduction to nineteenth- and twentieth-century theology, and the more advanced theological reader will find it a good means of bringing this theology into focus in his own mind. For both it will be a valuable reference book.

This book is intended as a companion to a volume published in 1958, A Handbook of Christian Theology, which is a theological dictionary of 101 theological terms whose definitions often little resemble the story of the 90 and 9. Yet the Handbook of Christian Theologians is best read without its companion, for he who needs the latter is not ready for the former. But for the man who is able to go it alone, this book is reading to think by.


No Sacrifice Too Great

James Hudson Taylor, by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor (China Inland Mission, 1965, 362 pp., 25s.), and The Fire Burns On, edited by Bishop Frank Houghton (China Inland Mission, 1965, 255 pp., 16s.), are reviewed by Meg. S. Foote, principal, Mount Hermon Missionary Training College, Ealing, London, England.

The publication of an abridged biography of Hudson Taylor and of the new anthology compiled by Bishop Frank Houghton is most relevant in this the centennial year of the China Inland Mission. The former is an essential study book for every missionary in training, throwing a spotlight on basic principles of Christian discipleship and work. No sacrifice was too great for Hudson Taylor. Separation from loved ones, terrible living quarters, poverty, physical suffering to the point of martyrdom—all this and much more was seen not as sacrifice but as a privilege for His sake.

In the passages listed in a most helpful index under headings such as answers to prayer, financial deliverances, and experiences is set forth a childlike, expectant trust that is characterized by implicit faith in the Word of God, has matured through much testing, and has learned to rest in God’s all-sufficient enabling and resources. Hudson Taylor wrote: “I had not then learned to think of God as the one great Circumstance in whom we live and move and have our being, and of all lesser circumstances as necessarily the kindest, wisest, best, because ordered and permitted by Him.”

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The need of identification and partnership with national Christians, of teaching converts without shielding them from the cost of total committal to Christ and drawing them into full participation in the work as soon as possible, and of a dependable and adequate supporting base in the homelands—these factors, important for all missionaries to remember, are clearly portrayed in this biography; they were lessons learned the hard way in the early days of the China Inland Mission.

The Fire Burns On is very much a companion volume to the above. The extracts from letters and addresses of well-known members of the CIM set forth in succinct form how the “pattern in the mount” gradually revealed and worked out in the life of Hudson Taylor has been faithfully adhered to through the years. Both books eloquently affirm that “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.”


Down With Ambiguity

All in Each Place, Towards Re-union in England, edited by J. I. Packer (Marcham Books, 1965, 237 pp., 18s.), is reviewed by Geoffrey S. R. Cox, vicar of Gorsley with Clifford’s Mesne, Gloucestershire, England.

This book is to be welcomed for three reasons: it is the first full-scale evangelical Anglican work to face seriously the question of reunion and has over 200 pages of provocative material by ten Anglican theologians and ministers; every writer dares to ask fundamental questions that need asking but have all too often been thrust into the background; and it is an honest attempt at constructive criticism of present-day theories and practices, primarily as these concern the Anglican-Methodist conversations.

Some supporters of the Anglican-Methodist report give the impression, both by their abruptness with questioners and by the ambiguous way they seek votes of confidence (approval in broadest outline is asked for regardless of the multitude of detailed objections and queries), that they wish first to steamroller this report through and then use it as a basis for all future reunion schemes.

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This book, then, could be very important, not because it professes to give all the answers but because it is strongly constructive on biblical and theological lines. The aim of the writers is a united church on the South India pattern, the logic of this simply being that the CSI exists and is both biblical and practical. The method propounded is twofold—active promotion at the local level of church unity by intermingling Christians of different denominations, and a radical questioning of much that is now taken for granted. Matters that seem awkward should be faced and dealt with and not “left for some convenient time.”


Book Briefs

Christ’s Word to This Age, by J. Harold Gwynne (Eerdmans, 1964, 145 pp., $3). Essays or sermonettes of substance based on metaphors used by Jesus that impart security and solidity to Christian faith.

The False Prophet: A Fresh Call for an Authentic Pulpit Ministry, by Dwight E. Stevenson (Abingdon, 1965, 144 pp., $2.75). A forthright but non-acrimonious discussion of false prophetism in the modern pulpit.

No Ivory Tower: The Story of the Chicago Theological Seminary, by Arthur Cushman McGiffert, Jr. (The Chicago Theological Seminary, 1965, 324 pp., $5). An account of a well-known seminary, from the days when its code informed students that “gentlemen do not spit upon the floor” to its present position of prestige and religious-sociological concern.

A Piece of Blue Sky, by Darrell E. Berg (Zondervan, 1965, 148 pp., $2.95). An analysis of the triumph and failures of Abraham’s pilgrimage of faith. Good reading.

We Two Alone: Attack and Rescue in the Congo, by Ruth Hege (Nelson, 1965, 192 pp., $3.50). A moving story of two women missionaries’ faith in God while they were caught in violence in the Congo. One died, the other lived to write the story.

Judson Concordance to Hymns, by Thomas B. McDormand and Frederic S. Crossman (Judson. 1965, 375 pp., $7.50). A useful reference book indexing each line of 2,342 hymns by its key word. Enables the user to identify the hymn if he can recall any line of any stanza. The buyer should understand that the hymn itself is not given.

Tzeenah U-Reenah: A Jewish Commentary on the Book of Exodus, by Norman Gore (Vantage, 1965, 258 pp., $5). Written in 1550 by Jacob ben Isaac Ashkenazy, the commentary throws light on Jewish thinking and on the nature of Jewish religious education.

The Children’s Choir, Volume II, by Nancy Poore Tufts (Fortress, 1965, 309 pp., $5.95). A compilation of “Guild Letters” published monthly since 1957 by the Choristers Guild, an organization promoting “Christian Character Through Children’s Choirs.” Theoretical and practical material, based on the extensive experience of the author and many others, that covers everything from the small choir to the large multiple-choir program.

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Herald of the Evangel: Sixty Years of American Christianity, edited by Edwin T. Dahlberg (Bethany Press, 1965, 221 pp., $4.95). Essays by such men as the editor, Eugene Carson Blake, Billy Graham, and David C. Read in honor of Jesse Moren Bader, who provided evangelistic leadership in the Federal Council and its successor, the National Council of Churches.

God Is for the Alcoholic, by Jerry G. Dunn (Moody, 1965, 205 pp., $3.95). The author, once an alcoholic, is now director of rehabilitation at the Open Door Mission, Omaha, Nebraska.

Robust in Faith: Men from Cod’s School, by J. Oswald Sanders (Moody, 1965, 219 pp., $3.50). Eighteen good biographical-type essays on seventeen biblical persons. With lots of ideas for sermons.

Philosophical Trends in the Contemporary World, by Michele Federico Sciacca (University of Notre Dame, 1965, 656 pp., $15). A very mature and sophisticated critique grounded in the conviction that philosophy is ultimately concerned with metaphysics and not merely with its own history. For scholars only. Translated from the Italian by Attilio M. Salerno.

Public Speaking Without Pain, by Maurice Forley (David McKay, 1965, 175 pp., $3.95). A complete, step-by-step guide to preparing and delivering effective speeches. Written by the executive director of Toastmasters International. Inc., the world’s largest organization of speechmakers.

A Bible Dictionary for Young Readers, by William N. McElrath, illustrated by Don Fields (Broadman, 1965, 126 pp., $2.95). A happy cross between a dictionary and an encyclopedia.

An Exposition of the Gospel of Matthew, by Herschel H. Hobbs (Baker. 1965, 422 pp., $6.95). A good practical commentary which sees Jesus as King as the theme of Matthew’s Gospel.

The Moral Teaching of the New Testament, by Rudolf Schnackenburg (Herder and Herder, 1965, 392 pp., $7.50). A serious and competent Roman Catholic study. For students only.

A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon, by Ruth Montgomery (Morrow. 1965, 182 pp., $4.50). Mrs. Dixon publicly foretold President Kennedy’s assassination and other world-shaking events. These and many fascinating new predictions are documented in this book, one that will make many people wonder. She predicts that by 1999 there “will be peace on earth to all men of good will.” Those who will not be around in 1999 may find comfort in recalling that this occurred 1965 years ago!

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Marriage and the Bible, by Ernest White (Broadman, 1965, 149 pp., $3.50). The author’s guidance is only less precarious than his theology.


The New World of Urban Man, by Constantinos A. Doxiadis and Truman B. Douglass (United Church Press, 1965, 127 pp., $1.60). A theological concern for the city in which the concern is much better than the theology; read for the former, it is good reading.

Immortality and Resurrection, edited by Krister Stendahl (Macmillan, 1965, 149 pp., $1.45). Cullmann’s essay contrasts the Greek “immortality of the soul” with Christianity’s “resurrection of the body,” and Socrates’ calm with Jesus’ tearful approach to death. Further reactions by others; with an introduction by Krister Stendahl. Reading that will put dimensions in preaching.

Jonathan Edwards’ Sermon Outlines and Maclaren’s Sermon Outlines, both selected and edited by Sheldon B. Quincer (Eerdmans, 1964; 164 pp., 151 pp.; $1.65 each), and Matthew Henry’s Sermon Outlines, selected and edited by Sheldon B. Quincer (Eerdmans. 1963. 148 pp., $1.45). Much is lost in reduction.

Dufficulties about Baptism, by Douglas Bannerman (LM Press, 1965, 86 pp., 2s.). Reissue of a book first published in 1898. It aims at answering the questions: What is baptism? and Who should be baptized?, and will help ministers and teachers meet those difficulties about baptism that seem to weigh most with young people.

Race, Heredity, and Civilisation, by W. George (British Publishing Society, 1964, 47 pp., Is. 6d.). Dedicated to a “Just Solution” of the race problem. This solution demands the recognition that the Negro race’s “pool of genes” is made of poorer stuff than that of the white race—a truth, it is urged, that we whites can “disregard only at peril to our posterity.” Apparently the white man’s better pool of genes contributes little to the art of writing. First edition, 1961.

Noah, Elijah and the Fire from Heaven, The Baptism of Jesus, Paul Becomes an Apostle, Jesus and the Cripple, and The Man Born Blind, by J. M. Warbler and Harold Winstone (Macmillan, 1964. 28 pp. each, $.59 each). The text is sound, the art work impressive, and the pictures of God quite horrible.

Doing the Truth: A Summary of Christian Ethics, by James A. Pike (Macmillan, 1965, 178 pp., $1.45). The theory, practices, and motivation of Christian ethics in the spheres of politics, sex, and business. First published in 1961.

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The Bible and the Ancient Near East: Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright, by G. Ernest Wright (Doubleday, 1965, 542 pp., $1.95). First published in 1961.

Church and State in Luther and Calvin: A Comparative Study, by William A. Mueller (Doubleday, 1965, 187 pp., $.95). First published in 1954.

Descent of the Dove, by Charles Williams (Eerdmans, 1965, 245 pp., $1.95). A short history of the Holy Spirit in the Church, by an author who was a poet, dramatist, literary critic, and scholar. First published in 1939.

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