[B-Greek] ? mentor for PARAKLHTOS

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri Jun 9 14:53:58 EDT 2006

My problem with this linkage of the term PARAKLHTOS to rhetorical  
consolatory perspectives in Greco-Roman literature is not so much  
that it is wrong -- although I think that some interpreters may  
question to what extent the author of GJn is governed by or writes  
deliberately in terms of  Greco-Roman rhetorical precepts -- as that  
I think it probably is based upon too NARROW a perspective on the  
function of the "Farewell Discourses" and what is actually asserted  
of the function of the PARAKLHTOS within the texts in which the term  
appears. I would readily grant that "consolation" is one significant  
theme in the Farewell Discourses, but I think much of it is also  
concerned with preparation of the disciples for their mission that is  
formally established in Jn 20:21-23, where the PNEUMA is actually  
"infused" into them on Easter evening. So, although John's gospel  
differs considerably and in many ways (POLUMERWS KAI POLUTROPWS) from  
the Synoptics, I think that the Farewell Discourses carry much of the  
same burden as the Lucan discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper:  
preparation for mission. The function of the PARAKLHTOS seems  
conceived, at least in some respects, in terms of the future life and  
mission of the disciples.

And that is one reason why I concluded as I did earlier today, that  
there really is no consensus among us on the question how best to  
understand and convey into a target-language the meaning of the  
Johannine PARAKLHTOS, and I think that the evangelist may very well  
have intended the word to be as challenging as the word LOGOS in the  
prologue of the gospel.

On Jun 9, 2006, at 11:55 AM, yancywsmith wrote:

> "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)
>>>> ---
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>> -- 
>> Marion Fox
>> http://www.fivefpublishing.com
>> ---
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Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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