Re: parakletos. . .

From: Lee R. Martin (
Date: Wed Sep 25 1996 - 23:42:50 EDT

A good source for studying these compound words is Harold J. Greenlee's
_Morphological Lexicon_, published by Zondervan.

> >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.
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University
> One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
> (314) 935-4018
> OR
> WWW:

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