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The Thematics of Tokenness

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that Jesus' presence is underscored by the use of common tropes from classical consolation literature, reflected in writers like Plutarch, Seneca, Cicero and others, as well as from Greco-Roman literature generally. In particular, it explores the consolatory function of the Paraclete. The quotation about the origins of idolatry from the Wisdom of Solomon expresses a common means in antiquity for dealing with the loss of a loved one, wherein a trace of presence assuages the pain of the beloved's absence. The Paraclete is just such a token of Jesus' presence. Since previous work has connected the Paraclete's "tokenness" to the testament form, it is necessary first to clarify previous scholars' insights regarding the relationship of Jesus and the Paraclete in the Fourth Gospel.

Keywords: classical consolation literature; Greco-Roman literature; Jesus; Paraclete; thematics of tokenness



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