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Paraclete comes from the Koine Greek word παράκλητος (paráklētos, that can signify "one who consoles or comforts, one who encourages or uplifts; hence refreshes, and/or one who intercedes on our behalf as an advocate in court"). The word for "Paraclete" is passive in form, and etymologically (originally) signified "called to one's side". The active form of the word, parakletor, is not found in the New Testament but is found in Septuagint in Job 16:2 in the plural, and means "comforters", in the saying of Job regarding the "miserable comforters" who failed to rekindle his spirit in his time of distress.
"Paraclete" in Classical Greek
- Citizens of Athens, I do not doubt that you are all pretty well aware that this trial has been the center of keen partisanship and active canvassing, for you saw the people who were accosting and annoying you just now at the casting of lots.1 But I have to make a request which ought to be granted without asking, that you will all give less weight to private entreaty or personal influence than to the spirit of justice and to the oath which you severally swore when you entered that box. You will reflect that justice and the oath concern yourselves and the commonwealth, whereas the importunity and party spirit of advocates serve the end of those private ambitions which you are convened by the laws to thwart, not to encourage for the advantage of evil-doers. (Demosthenes On the False Embassy 19:1)
The word is not used in the Septuagint, the word "comforters" being different in Job. Other words are used to translate the Hebrew word מְנַחֵם (mənaḥḥēm "comforter") and Melitz Yosher (מליץ יושר).
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In modern Hebrew, the cognate 'praklit' (פרקליט) means 'solicitor' or 'legal counsel', 'praklit ha-mechoz' means district attorney, and 'praklitut ha-medina' the Israeli equivalent of the solicitor-general.
"Paraclete" in Christianity
In the Greek New Testament the word is most prominent in the Johannine writings. It appears in the Gospel of John (14:16, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7) where it may be translated into English as "counselor", "helper", encourager, advocate, or "comforter". The early church identified the Paraclete as the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5,1:8,2:4,2:38) and Christians continue to use Paraclete as a title for the Spirit of God. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5 v. 4 Jesus Christ uses the verb παρακληθήσονται, paraclethesontai, traditionally interpreted to signify "to be refreshed, encouraged, or comforted". The text may also be translated as vocative as well as the traditional nominative. Then the meaning of 'paraclethesontai', also informative of the meaning of the name, or noun Paraclete, implicates 'are going to summon' or 'will be breaking off'... The Paraclete may thus mean 'the summoner' or 'the one, who, or that which makes free'
In 1 John 2:1 "Paraclete" is used to describe the intercessory role of Jesus Christ who pleads to The Father on our behalf. And in John 14:16 Jesus says "another Paraclete" will come to help his disciples, implying Jesus is the first and primary Paraclete.
In Matt 3:10-12 and Luke 3:9-17 John the Baptist says a powerful one coming after him "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (NIV)
Verses like these are often used by Christians in Trinitarian theology to describe how God is revealed to the world and God's role in salvation. According to Trinitarian doctrine, the Paraclete or Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who among other things provides guidance, consolation, strength, and support to people. Other titles for the Holy Spirit include 'Spirit of Truth', Lightful Spirit of God Almighty, Holy Breath, Almighty Breath, Giver of Life, Lord of Grace, Helper, 'Comforter', 'Counselor' and 'Supporter'.
During his period as a hermit in the mid 12th century, Peter Abelard dedicated his chapel to the Paraclete because "I had come there as a fugitive and, in the depths of my despair, was granted some comfort by the grace of God.
Raymond Brown (1970) supported by Johnston (2005) read that the "another Paraclete" of John 14:16 is in many ways "another Jesus," the Paraclete is the presence of Jesus after Jesus ascends to his Father.
Many Muslim writers have argued that “another Paraclete” (John 14:16)—the first being Jesus—refers to Muhammad. The earliest scholar is probably Ibn Ishaq (died 767), who Islamic tradition states was the grandson of a Christian. Others who interpreted the paraclete as a reference to Muhammad include Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Kathir, Al-Qurtubi, Rahmatullah Kairanawi (1818-1891), and contemporary Muslim scholars such as Martin Lings. A few Muslim commentators, such as David Benjamin Keldani (1928), have argued that the original Greek word used was periklytos, meaning famed, illustrious, or praiseworthy, rendered in Arabic as Ahmad, and that this was substituted by Christians with parakletos.
- Holy Spirit
- Holy Spirit (Christianity)
- Cult of the Holy Spirit
- Holy Spirit (Judaism)
- Holy Spirit (Islam)
- Servants of the Paraclete
- LSJ Lexicon entry
- According to Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature: "the technical meaning 'lawyer', 'attorney' is rare."
- ἐσθ᾽ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ ὅλης τῆς πόλεως, αἱ δὲ τῶν παρακλήτων αὗται δεήσεις καὶ σπουδαὶ τῶν ἰδίων πλεονεξιῶν εἵνεκα γίγνονται,
- παρά-κλητος , ον, A. called to one's aid, in a court of justice : as Subst., legal assistant, advocate, D.19.1, Lycurg. Fr.102, etc. 2. summoned, “δοῦλοι” D.C.46.20, cf. BGU601.12 (ii A.D.). II. intercessor, Ph.2.520 : hence in NT, Παράκλητος, of the Holy Spirit, Ev.Jo.14.16, cf. 1 Ep.Jo.2.1.
- The six uses of paraclete by Philo tabulated (halfway down article)
- The Orthodox Jewish Brit Chadasha Bible Translation
- Strong's G3875
- Matthew, chapter 5
- Greek Word Study Tool
- "The Letters of Abelard and Heloise", Betty Radice, Trans. London: Penguin, 1973. P. 30
- The Gospel according to John: Volume 2 Raymond Edward Brown - 1970 "Thus, the one whom John calls "another Paraclete" is another Jesus. Since the Paraclete can come only when Jesus departs, the Paraclete is the presence of Jesus when Jesus is absent. Jesus' promises to dwell within his disciples are"
- The Spirit of Jesus in Scripture and prayer - Page 60 James W. Kinn - 2004 "Second, the whole complex of parallels above leads Raymond Brown to a more profound conclusion: the Holy Spirit continues the presence of Jesus. Thus the one whom Jesus calls "another Paraclete" is in many ways another Jesus, ."
- The Spirit-Paraclete in the Gospel of John - Page 94 George Johnston - 2005 "Brown cannot regard such parallelism as coincidental, and he is perfectly correct. His conclusion is that 'as "another Paraclete" the Paraclete is, as it were, another Jesus ... and the Paraclete is the presence of Jesus when Jesus is "
- The creed: the apostolic faith in contemporary theology - Page 275 Berard L. Marthaler - 1993 "Thus," writes Brown, "the one whom John calls 'another Paraclete' is another Jesus."17 The Paraclete is the presence of God in the world when Jesus ascends to the Father."
- Page 50 "As early as Ibn Ishaq (85-151 AH) the biographer of Muhammad, the Muslims identified the Paraclete - referred to in John's ... "to give his followers another Paraclete that may be with them forever" is none other than Muhammad."
- Al-Masāq: studia arabo-islamica mediterranea: Volumes 9 à 10 ;Volume 9 University of Leeds. Dept. of Modern Arabic Studies, Taylor & Francis - 1997 "Many Muslim writers, including Ibn Hazm, al-Taban,al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Taymiyya, have identified the Paraclete with Muhammad. Probably the first to do so was the his biographer Ibn Ishaq in the mid eighth century."
- "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
- Watt (1991) pp. 33–34
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