PARACLETE ( or ):
By: Kaufmann Kohler
Rabbinical term adopted from the Greek παράκλητός (= "advocate," "intercessor"): Targumic translation of (Job xvi. 20, xxxiii. 23): "He who performs one good deed has gotten to himself one advocate [paraclete], and he who commits one transgression has gotten to himself one accuser" (Abot iv. 11). "Whosoever is summoned before the court for capital punishment is saved only by powerful advocates[paracletes]; such paracletes man has in repentance and good works, and if there are nine hundred and ninety-nine accusers and only one to plead for his exoneration he is saved" (Shab. 32a; comp. Job xxxiii. 23-24). "The works of benevolence and mercy done by the people of Israel in this world become agents of peace and intercessors [paracletes] between them and their Father in heaven" (B. B. 10a; Tos. Peah iv. 21). The sin-offering is like the paraclete before God; it intercedes for man and is followed by another offering, a "thank-offering for the pardon obtained" (Sifra, Meẓora', iii. 3; Tos. Parah i. 1). The two daily burnt offerings are called "the two paracletes" (Yer. Ber. iv. 7b), and the four kinds of plants at Sukkot are termed "paracletes" for the year's rain (Yer. Ta'an. i. 63c).
The paraclete or intercessor created through each good deed is called "angel" (Ex. R. xxxii., with reference to Ps. xxxiv. 8; comp. Job xxxiii. 23—"an interceding angel," A. V. incorrectly translating "a messenger," "an interpreter"). In the sense of "Intercessor," the name "Paraclete" is given also to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament (John xiv. 16, 26; xv. 26; xvi. 7 [A. V. incorrectly, "Comforter"]; I John ii. 1 [A. V. "advocate"]), just as the Midrash calls the Holy Spirit "Synegor," which is the same as "Paraclete" (Lev. R. vi. 1; Deut. R. iii. 12). In the same sense Philo speaks of the "Logos" ("De Vita Mosis," iii., § 14) as the "Paraclete" who is to procure for the high priest forgiveness of sins, just as he uses the term "paraclete" elsewhere in the sense of "advocate" and "intercessor" ("In Flaccum," §§ 3, 4; "De Opificiis Mundi," § 6: "God is in no need of an 'intercessor,'" i.e., a helper).
- Cheyne, Encyc. Bibl.;
- Levy, Neuhebr. Wörterb.;
- Kohut. Aruch Completum, s.v. ;
- Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers, 1897, p. 69, note 18.