0

Premise

While the Paraclete mentioned in is of perennial interest to many, to my knowledge, scholarship does not carry out serious discussions on the identity of the Plaraclete. The Early Church established the association with the Holy Spirit, and, indeed, the context of the occurrences in John seems impossible to confuse or interpret otherwise. It was a great surprise to me to learn that this was not always so, particularly with:

John 14:16
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

A Quranic variant of this attributes the Paraclete to the advent of the next prophet, Mohammad. It's a bit in the weeds, I concede, but if we recall that Islam was originally viewed as simply the "Ishmaelite Heresy" (John of Damascus), we can see the groundwork being laid for plurality (for better or for worse) in exegesis even in the early days, with stark theological implications to follow.

Bloy's Exegesis

The above serving to jostle our imaginations, I begin my actual question. In one of the exegetical works of the Catholic scholar Bloy, Paraclete takes on yet another layer of accretion:

It was necessary that the pains of hell were not eternal , because Satan will come out one day to become the Paraclete. God deceives no one, not even the devil.

This seems to be in reference to Satan's imprisonment foretold in Revelation. However, given that Paraclete only occurs in John, let's assume for the sake of argument we're still considering John 14:16 for Bloy's exegesis.

Perhaps part of the dilemma is that παράκλητος seems to be an amorphous concept, as evidenced by a wide range of translations: Advocate, Intercessor, Comforter, Supporter, Attorney, ect. While the context for Paraclete as the Holy Spirit still seems strong, it may also be the case that it has not been ontologically resolved in the absolute sense, hence the compulsion to fill in the gaps by some exegetists.

Question

I have not seen modern scholarship take on Bloy's view (assuming I have conveyed it accurately, French is not my forte); are there similar exegetical stances to be found in modern scholarship to help us determine if his view would likely hold up to scrutiny? Why/why not?

Personally, I think there may be some evidence for it, though it is weak, circumstantial evidence:

  • The Johannine tradition is the more spiritual and apocalyptic compared to the Synoptics
  • The Johannine tradition has more Hellenistic influence, including dualism, which may be consonant with having an antichrist Paraclete to stand abreast the divine Paraclete
  • However even if we accept Bloy's take on John 14:16, other instances of Paraclete are less ambiguous, leaving us to conclude there are multiple Paracletes in John.
6
  • Inquiring about the existence of modern exegesis is not opinion-based. Anyone familiar with the exegesis around Paraclete should be able to answer this question objectively. Please read the question carefully. Aug 14, 2023 at 7:03
  • I can delete my opinion after the question if it's causing confusion, but I'm trying to show research effort: the namesake of the upvote button. Please advise if I'm not understanding how this is supposed to work. Aug 14, 2023 at 7:05
  • 2
    @Michael16 I would contend that there's little need for us at SE to be an arbiter of exegesis. His views may be eccentric, but that doesn't not stop us from having a scholarly discussion on them. As they say: nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is science. Aug 14, 2023 at 7:39
  • 2
    The Paraclete is the 'Spirit of Truth'. Mentions of 'Johannine tradition', 'Hellenistic influence' and 'dualism' are irrelevant. A brief study of the words actually used in the text of sccripture (I recommend Young's Analytical Concordance and Bagster's Analytical Greek Lexicon and the Englishman's Greek New Testament) indicate the certainty of the issue, without the need for recourse to extra-scriptural information and unnecessary 'academic' (and traditional) opinions.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 14, 2023 at 7:50
  • 1
    First you at least need to show his quote in context to demonstrate it is an exegesis of a passage, coz the small quote doesnt make his view clear. It maybe he is arguing against eternal hell, and the ref to Satan being the comforter maybe no more than a rhetorical satire joke. The question is not even clear and it's unclear what to do with it. Even if someone argues that Satan is the Holy Spirit, it has little scope to hold any water for a valid topic, at least there should be an exegesis attempt, not an assertion.
    – Michael16
    Aug 14, 2023 at 7:59

1 Answer 1

7

I do not intend to take the space here to demonstrate that exegetes in every age have shown a decided tendency to interpret prophecy to be fulfilled in their own time. Muhammad and his teacher/pastor, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, cousin of Muhammad's first wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, were no different. Waraqah practiced an ascetic form of pre-Muhammadin monotheism, specifically, a form of Unitarianism, an extreme form of Arianism, very similar to Ebionite theology.

In this theology, two sets of Bible passages are interpreted as referring to Muhammad:

  • Deut 18:15-20 about the prediction of "a prophet like me from among your brothers". [Islam ignores the fact that the NT specifically interprets this prophecy as fulfilled in Jesus Christ as per Acts 3:19-23.]
  • The Johannine passages about the coming Parakletos.

I will now show that the latter understanding does not accord with NT teaching.

The Greek word, parakletos, occurs just five times in the NT, four times referring to the Holy Spirit under various tiles, highlighted below, and once referring to Jesus Christ as follows:

  • John 14:16, 17 - And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, that He may be with you to the age, the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see Him nor know. But you know Him, for He abides with you and He will be in you.
  • John 14:26 - But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and will bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you.
  • John 15:26 - When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me.
  • John 16:7 - But I tell you the truth, it is profitable for you that I should go away; for unless I go away the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
  • 1 John 2:1 - My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you might not sin. And if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.

Thus, the parakletos is also known as:

  • the Holy Spirit
  • the Spirit of Truth (see below)
  • another Advocate, ie, other than Jesus Himself as per 1 John 2:1.

As the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit is described as follows:

  • John 14:16, 17 - And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, that He may be with you to the age, the Spirit of truth, whom the world is not able to receive, because it does not see Him nor know. But you know Him, for He abides with you and He will be in you.
  • John 15:26 - When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, He will bear witness concerning Me.
  • John 16:13 - But when He, the Spirit of truth, shall come, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak from Himself, but whatever He may hear, He will speak. And He will declare to you the things coming. [This is the Parakletos as per V7.]

Thus, it appears, that in this title of the "Spirit of Truth", the Holy Spirit's primary function is to teach Jesus' followers about Jesus.

Lastly, the prophecy of the coming of the parakletos/Holy Spirit was fulfilled in Acts 2 as Peter points out in his Pentecostal sermon as recorded in Acts 2:14-36.

Thus, the NT teaching about the coming parakletos has been explicitly fulfilled and so Muhammad cannot be the fulfilment.

4
  • It's an excellent answer, but not so related to the actual question, which is on Bloy's exegesis. I included the Islamic view on Paraclete just to show there were other interpretations out there before we got to Bloy, who seems to really deviate from the consensus view on the matter. Aug 15, 2023 at 2:13
  • 1
    @ArashHowaida - That is the matter at issue on this site of Biblical hermeneutics. We provide analysis of the Biblical text not other texts.
    – Dottard
    Aug 15, 2023 at 3:26
  • I can't read Bloy's mind to know for sure he was referring to John 14:16. That's why I stated, let's assume he is, for the sake of discussion. Essentially, this is still a discussion about John. Beyond that, I'm just asking for how Bloy's exegesis fits (if at all) into the Biblical hermeneutic tradition writ large. Aug 15, 2023 at 8:26
  • 1
    @ArashHowaida - fair enough and that is why my answer shows what the Bible says.
    – Dottard
    Aug 15, 2023 at 9:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.