Paraclete (and spelling of transliterated proper names)

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Nov 18 07:06:10 EST 1999

Joe is absolutely right on this matter; Greek proper names in the Biblical
text are generally spelled in English translations in terms of the Latin
forms (e.g. IHSOUS = JESUS, hIEROSOLUMA = JERUSALEM = Jerusalem) except
where common names in English have already developed standard forms out of
the Latin (e.g. BARQOLOMAIOS = BARTHOLOMAEUS = Bartholomew; ANDRAIOS =
ANDRAEUS = Andrew).

It might perhaps be worth noting here that there's been a movement afoot
(and gaining ground) among classicists for several decades now to
transliterate Greek proper names into the Roman letters appropriate to
pronouncing those proper names as they were presumably pronounced in
antiquity. For example, the Latin forms for OIDIPOUS, ACILLEUS, and
ODUSSEUS are respectively OEDIPUS, ACHILLES, and ULIXES, which Latin forms
have been reformulated in standard English as "Oedipus," "Achilles," and
"Ulysses." The growing practice of classicists and of recent translators of
Homer, Sophocles, and other Greek authors is to render these names as
"Oidipous," "Achilleus," and "Odysseus" respectively; this can gete
downright confusing when one is used to older forms: AIAS = Lat. AJAX, but
now the anglicized form is "Aias"; AISCULOS = Lat. AESCHYLUS, but now the
anglicized form is "Aischylos." I haven't seen this happening in any
significant degree in translations of the GNT, but if it DOES happen, be
prepared to see things like "Kurios Iesous Christos" and "Bartholimaieus."

The simple answer to Nigel's question is that English "paraclete" is
standard anglicization of Latin PARACLETUS for Greek PARAKLHTOS. It's
noteworthy that something is lost when the word "Paraclete" is used thus,
since it's not a proper name in the Johannine text but an epithet, which is
why some modern translations prefer to convert it as "Advocate" or
"Comforter," English words that do convey senses that PARAKLHTOS actually
had in Greek.

At 1:06 AM -0600 11/18/99, Joe A. Friberg wrote:
>On the one hand, it's just standard transliteration to use 'c' for K!
>Can't say I know where it is written and who is the final authority, but I
>am aware that it is standard.
>The 'standard' appears to come out of Latin transliterations of Greek words,
>since Latin does not have a 'k'.
>Joe Friberg
>----- Original Message -----
>From: N & RJ Hanscamp <hanscamps at>
>To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at>
>Cc: <B-greek at>
>Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 12:44 AM
>Subject: Paraclete
>> Cross-posted to John_Lit and B_greek
>> Does anyone have a style guide reference (or a decent reason) why authors
>> and commentators use Paraclete (with a 'c') instead of Paraklete (with a
>> 'k') in reference to the Johannine figure of the farewell discourses?
>> Any help would be appreciated - by both myself and my thesis marker!

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at

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