Re: parakletos. . .

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Wed Sep 25 1996 - 11:35:36 EDT

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> At 6:19 PM -0500 9/24/96, Tom Launder wrote:
> >Hello all,
> >
> >I have been studying John 14:16 which introduces the ALLON PARAKLeTON.
> >There are many different translations of this word: Comforter, Paraclete,
> >Counselor, Advocate, your Advocate, and Helper.
> >
> >My question is in regards to something that the articles and commentaries on
> >this word have discussed. These articles refer to the noun as being either
> >active or passive. Here is an example of one of the articles. "The noun
> >parakletos is derived from the verb parakaleo. . . Such nouns formations are
> >normally understood in a passive sense, i.e., 'one who is called for or
> >summoned.'"
> >
> >So am I to understand that this is some kind of verbal noun and therefore
> >can be taken either actively or passively? I really don't understand this
> >at all. Are there some other examples of this? Do we do this in English?
> I'm not sure how far this can be pushed, but in general the Indo-European
> forms ending in -t- (usually -ed in English: taught, learned, seated,
> watched) tend to be verbal adjectives and often participles; in Latin
> -TUS,-A, -UM is the regular perfect passive participle; corresponding to
> the English forms above are DOCTUS (both "taught" and "learned"), SESSUS
> In Greek there are two very common types of verbal adjectives, neither of
> which is a participle:
> (1) adjectives based upon root + TOS (-H, -ON), generally passive in
> perspective, and indicating possibility: Plato, in the "figure of the
> divided line," uses two such adjectives to characterize his major
> epistemological divisions: GENOS hORATON -- "visible category" and GENOS
> NOHTON -- "thinkable category."
> (2) adjectives based upon root + TEOS (-A, -ON), generally passive in
> perspective, and indicating an obligatory aspect of the action's
> performance; these are very much like Latin "gerundives" and, like Latin
> gerundives, are the
> basis of periphrastic formulae of obligation: e.g. TAUTA PRAKTEA ESTIN --
> "These things are to be done." Distinguish GENOS NOHTON, "category of what
> can be thought" from GENOS NOHTEON, "category of what should/must be
> thought."
> The form PARAKLHTOS is of the first type; this one does have the passive
> perspective but does it have that _able to be x-ed_ quality? Maybe so: a
> PARAKLHTOS is one who is able to be summoned to assist, generally in a
> professional or helping capacity, as a lawyer or physician ("counselor").Of
> course its possible senses branch out from practical usage: one who can be
> summoned to one's side in time of need is one who gives advice, one who
> gives comfort, one who assists--and this is the term John's Jesus uses to
> describe the holy spirit.
> Its derivation, at any rate, would seem to be from this common type of
> verbal adjective--type (1) above.

        Just to add a note to Carl's instructive analysis of this word: It has
to do with the context here in Jn. 14:16 rather than the lexis of PARAKLHTOS.
The word ALLON accompanying PARAKLHTOS here suggests that the Paraklete will be
other than Jesus but similar to Him in some respects. The use of ALLON also
suggests that Jesus Himself is also a PARAKLETOS in the sense of His now being
with them to help them.

David L. Moore                             Director
Miami, Florida, USA                        Department of Education                     Southeastern Spanish District            of the Assemblies of God

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