View Full Version : The "Comforter" in the gospel of John
The Peshitta uses a Greek gloss in John 14:16 & 26 in describing the Holy Spirit. This word is often translated in English as "The Comforter". Transliterated the word would be something like "parakleet". The Hebrew New Testament uses מנחם and not the Greek gloss of the Peshitta. The word מנחם is used, among other places, in Ecc. 4:1 and Lam.1:9. I sense that the Greek gloss of the Peshitta is to be preferred over the word used in the Hebrew New Testament and in Ecc. and Lam. but cannot give reason for it.
I am sure this word "parakleet" has received much analysis. Would someone who knows Greek help me to do a thorough research of this word?
03-30-2005, 03:08 PM
The beauty of BibleWorks is that you can research the word yourself. Just do a lemma search on parakletos in BGT, and then look through all its uses (It is used only 5 times, all by John [14:16,26; 15:6; 16:7 and 1 John 2:1). You could also check out the verb parakalew, and be able to see all the ways that this root was used to translate different words in the Hebrew Old Testament.
Remember that the Hebrew New Testament in BW is a relatively modern translation, not like the Peshitta, which is an ancient translation. In this case the Peshitta just transliterates, failing to translate. Translators have a tendency to transliterate when they don't know what the original language word means or when the word has become a techinical term (such as "baptize" and in some people's minds "paraclete").
If you bought BDAG, you could also see the latest scholarly attempt to desribe the wide variety of senses in which parakalew is used. Even without BDAG you can check Thayer, Friberg, Louw-Nida, and other lexicons within BW.
If you simply want the opinions of living Bible-readers, you might want to subscribe to the B-Greek or B-Trans (Bible-Translation@lists.kastanet.org) lists. I know there are plenty of people over there who have opinions on this word.
Christ is risen!
03-30-2005, 05:37 PM
This word is often translated in English as "The Comforter".
As Mark said, BW is a powerful tool that let's you study the grammar through and through, and seven ways from Sunday.
In adiition to the grammatical-syntactical paradigms, and rather than sticking strictly to those passages where paraclete is presented specifically, I would also consider those passages where the paraclete is implicitly and obviously apparent, such as Philippians 4:6-7 --
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
There are many such passages, especially in the NT, where the paraclete, although not specifically denominated, is so pervasive that HE actually is a primary subject of the verse.
The grammatical-syntactical presentation is only a part of the equation. The veil must be lifted when dealing with God's written word, and only the Paraclete can do that.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." John 16:13
03-30-2005, 06:16 PM
As a quick addendum, this will help get you started --
On the CL, set your search version to SCR or GNT and type --
This will return the verbal and substantive forms of paraclete.
I've also enclosed an ASE file called "paraclete_comfort.qf" which will give you all the cases where the verbal or substantive has been translated as comfort in the KJV. You can, of course, modify the versions as you please and redo the search.
Of course, you could also add the substantive paraklhsis, as paraclete is a close relation. See Acts 9:31 in the modern versions.
Mark Eddy: thank you for your reply. Using the BNT & BNM I was able to find the information I needed. You said that "the Peshitta just transliterates, failing to translate and that translators have a tendency to transliterate when they don't know what the original language word means or when the word has become a technical term". Perhaps you are correct. I find the Lou-Nida Lexicon's comment on parakletos interesting:"the principal difficulty encountered rendering (parakletos) is the fact that this term covers potentially such a wide area of meaning". In encountering such a difficulty is it not wise not to translate but to use the "original language"?
QUOTE: In adiition to the grammatical-syntactical paradigms, and rather than sticking strictly to those passages where paraclete is presented specifically, I would also consider those passages where the paraclete is implicitly and obviously apparent, such as Philippians 4:6-7"
Adelphos, I appreciate your comments. I cannot agree with you however that in Phil. 4:6-7 paraclete is either implicitly or obviously apparent. The verses very cleary speaks of the peace of God.
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