Apparently a shard of pottery from 900BCE bearing the inscription ALWAT and
WLT, likely Philistine equivalents of 'Goliath', have come to light approx.
2 metres underground at Tell es Shafi (the site of Gath) - the biblical
Goliath's home town, according to Aren Maeir, Archaeological Head at
Bar-Ilan University, nr, Tel Aviv, according to Reuters. However the finds
are evaluated and no doubt they will give rise to lively dispute, they lead
neatly into a potential alternative approach to the concept of Paraclete.
The concept of coming alongside is inevitably linked to that of legal
advocacy but a saviour, like the boy David, coming alongside a dejected
people as a champion and saviour might easily give rise to both hope and
comfort. Luke~Acts refers to Messianic expectations in terms of Hope, 'the
hope of Israel' (Luke 24:21; Acts 28:20). That the Hope of Israel (Jeremiah
14:8) was also the Comforter of Israel (Isaiah 40:41) is evident however it
is a narrow but risky leap beyond the evidence as far as I am aware, to
argue that the eschatologically expected 'Hope of Israel' and 'Saviour of
Israel' was also known in some circles as the 'Comforter of Israel', one who
nurtures, protects and defends as well as pleads the cause in any legal
dispute sense. That our Greek Wisdom of Solomon describes Wisdom coming
alongside humans, rather like the Angelic divine Presence (Wisdom 10) in all
sorts of situations, not simply judicial trials of faith, may help explain a
blurring of the role / concepts of Advocate, Saviour and Comforter amongst
Greek speaking believers. (Admittedly I am more inclined to historical
investigative problem solving rather than to positivistic approaches to the
enigmatic Fourth Gospel).
Bill Bullin (Private Student, East Sussex).