[B-Greek] ? mentor for PARAKLHTOS

yancywsmith yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jun 9 11:55:59 EDT 2006

"Mentor" would probably adequately serve the needs of the readers of  
your Bible translation. BUT
As is often the case with translation cruces like this one, focus on  
the translation of the term PARAKLHTOS is misguided without attention  
to the cultural, literary and rhetorical context of John 13:33-17:26.  
The suggestion that "Mentor" be used is indeed very attractive,  
because it gives a wonderfully relevant meaning to the ministry of  
the Paraclete in our cultural milieu. I'm sure John would have taken  
delight in such an extension of his meaning, since John delights in  
giving it almost every possible meaning to Paraclete in the course of  
Jesus' last words. But does it help the reader capture what Jesus was  
saying or what John was reporting Jesus to have said? This section of  
John represents Jesus' farewell address to his disciples. The primary  
aim of that speech is to prepare the disciples for Jesus' death/ 
departure. This type of speech-before-the-exit-to-death is well known  
in Greco-Roman theater (See George Parsenios, Departure and  
Consolation, Brill 2004). Often these speeches are "consolatory." The  
specific methods Jesus uses in helping his disciples/friends confront  
the sadness, distress (LUPH), and potential loss of faith connected  
with his impending demise involve the creative use of well-known  
common places of "consolation" in Greco-Roman consolatory literature  
(See Paul A. Holloway, "Paul Holloway, "Left Behind: Jesus'  
Consolation of His Disciples in John 13, 31-17, 26" ZNW 96 (2005):  
1-34. The Holy Spirit is ALLOS PARAKLHTOS (another counsellor,  
consoler, advocate, prosecutor, mentor, paraclete or whatever)  
because Jesus is demonstrated to be the consummate PARAKLHTOS by this  
very speech. Greco-Roman readers would have been very impressed with  
his performance as bringer of consolation, as was John Chrysostom, in  
his comments on this section of John in his Homiles on John. I am  
sure that there are other ways that Jesus could be construed as a  
PARAKLHTOS in the gospel tradition, i.e. he comes to the disciple's  
aid in conflict with the Pharisees on some occasions in the synoptic  
Gospels, but the most relevant way that Jesus in PARAKLHTOS in John  
is through his speech, prayer, and behavior in John 13-17.

John has Jesus use methods that were connected with consolation for  
any sort of loss or set-back, including loss through death. One  
common theme is that of focusing on the relationship of those "left  
behind," i.e. "love one another." There are others. Jesus also makes  
use of some commonplaces connected with specific ancient theoretical  
approaches of consolation.  Cicero surveys four major theories of  
consolation in Tusculanae Disputationes book 3, summarizing them at  
31,76:44. Some, like [the Stoic] Cleanthes, believe that the  
consoler’s only task is to convince the person afflicted with grief  
that the alleged “evil” is not an evil at all. John uses this when he  
says "It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don’t go away,  
the Counselor won’t come to you" (16:7). Others, like the  
Peripatetics, argue that the evil in question is not great. If Jesus  
had used this, he would have compared their suffering at his loss to  
the suffering of others or to some other standard, as the author of  
Hebrews does in 10:32 and 12:4. Others, like the Epicureans, try to  
avert our attention away from evil things to good things. Jesus uses  
this method by drawing attention to the promise of the Paraclete.  
Others, like the Cyrenaics, think that it is sufficient to show that  
nothing unexpected has happened (nihil inopinati accidisse). The  
fourth of these, the Cyrenaic view, underlies the consolation of  
persecution in John 15:18–16,4a. Cicero discusses it at Tusc. 3,13,28– 
22,52. The combination of different approaches was common, because  
most people were not committed to any one philosophy.

That modern readers don't see any connection between the topic of  
"consolation" and Jesus' speech and the role of the PARAKLHTOS is not  
a failure of John's but a lack of attention to contextual cues and  
lack of understanding of relevant contextual information.

Yancy Smith, Ph.D. candidate
Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Brite Divinity School
Texas Christian University

On Jun 9, 2006, at 9:52 AM, Marion Fox wrote:

> Jesus sent forth the apostles to be witnesses to the whole world (Lk.
> 24:45-49, Acts 1:1-8). The promise of the Father was the same as  
> the sending
> of the Spirit of truth as a Comforter (advocate or lawyer for the  
> defense).
> The Comforter was to enable the apostles to be witnesses (Jn.  
> 15:26-27). The
> apostles bore witness (Jn. 19:35, 21:24, Acts 1:22, 2:32, 3:15, 5:32,
> 10:39-41, 13:31, 22:15, 18, 23:11, 26:16, 22, 1 Cor. 15:15, 1 Pet.  
> 5:1, 1
> Jn. 1:24:14, 5:7, etc.).
> The Holy Spirit gave the apostles infallible guidance to remember  
> the things
> that Jesus had both taught and done (Jn. 14:26, 15:26-227,  
> 16:12-14, etc.)
> and they were not to be anxious for what they spoke (Mt. 10:16-23  
> and Lk.
> 21:10-19).
> The Holy Spirit indeed both gave the apostles infallible guidance and
> confirmed their word by signs (Mk. 16:20 etc.).
>> From these things (above) I draw the conclusion that this word  
>> should be
> translated "advocate," "legal advocate," or "attorney."
> Your servant,
> Marion Ronald Fox
> On 6/8/06, Tunç SABUNCU <tsabuncu at wanadoo.fr> wrote:
>> I see, so Jesus is a Mentor and he says that God will send another  
>> Mentor.
>> That implies that Jesus himself is a mantor. Even we can imagine  
>> that he
>> is not forcibly the first?
>> according to John's Gospel (13-14 if i'm not wrong)
>> Do you agree with that?
>>> Message du 07/06/06 22:37
>>> De : "Fridolin Janzen"
>>> A : b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>>> Copie à :
>>> Objet : [B-Greek] PARAKLHTOS
>>> I am working on a Portuguese New Testament translation and looked  
>>> for a
>> long
>>> time for the ideal word for PARAKLHTOS. We have the transliteration
>>> "paracleto" in Portuguese. I could use a footnote and explain the  
>>> term,
>> but
>>> preferred to use the word "mentor". I seems to covers all  
>>> possibilities
>> for
>>> PARAKLHTOS. A mentor encourages, counsels, instructs, guides,  
>>> defends,
>> etc.
>>> The Oxford Dictionary defines mentor as:
>>> mentor
>>> . noun 1 an experienced and trusted adviser. 2 an experienced  
>>> person in
>> an
>>> organization or institution who trains and counsels new employees or
>>> students.
>>> - ORIGIN from the name of Mentor, the adviser of the young  
>>> Telemachus in
>>> Homer's Odyssey.
>> http://www.askoxford.com/results/? 
>> view=dict&field-12668446=mentor&branch=138
>>> 42570&textsearchtype=exact&sortorder=score%2Cname
>>> I found an interesting private definition in the International Coach
>>> Academy:
>>> A Mentor
>>> Usually occupies a senior-level assignment of authority and  
>>> influence
>> within
>>> the organization
>>> Knows the organization/its structure, policies, and processes (both
>> spoken
>>> and unspoken)
>>> Has a broad view and multiple working experiences
>>> Knows the "politics" of the organization
>>> Shares knowledge and experiences
>>> Helps identify developmental opportunities within the  
>>> organization and
>> "open
>>> doors"
>>> Knows when to interpret and when to pass on wisdom
>>> Generally TELLS - advises, instructs, suggests, gives opinions
>>> AND... an effective mentor also knows when and how to coach
>>> http://www.icoachacademy.com/coaching/mentoring.html?source=mentor
>>> Do you suppose this to be a possible word for PARAKLHTOS?
>>> Pastor Fridolin Janzen
>>> fjanzen at gmx.net
>>> www.criacionismo.com (link to the NT)
>>> ---
>>> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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>> ---
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> -- 
> Marion Fox
> http://www.fivefpublishing.com
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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