Book of Mormon Evidences: Literary form of Chiasmus

Chiasmus is a literally art form, a form of parallelism used as a poetical structure in some ancient writings from the Middle East and Greece. The word chiasmus derives from the Greek letter chi (X) which symbolizes the top-to-bottom mirror image reflection achieved by elements of text. An example of a very simple chiasmus is found in Psalms 124:7:

We have escaped as a bird
From the snare of the fowlers
The snare is broken
And we have escaped.

In 1969, John W. Welch reported he discovery of many-element chiasms in the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith testified to have translated from plates written anciently by Hebrew descendants.
The historical record has yielded no direct evidence that Joseph Smith actually knew about chiasmus when he translated the Book of Mormon in 1829, although some other people at that time did.

If he did not know about chiasmus, then its presence in the book might be considered as evidence for the authenticity of the book as modern translation of a record written anciently by those familiar with chiastic style.

So far, here are the stats of chiasmus in the scriptures:

CHIASMS IN THE SCRIPTURES
961 chiasms have been identified in the Book of Mormon.
53% of the verses the Book of Mormon are Chiastic
72% of the small plates of Nephi are Chiastic.
33 different authors in the Book of Mormon used Chiasms.
33-Chiasms are found in the Pearl of Great Price
225 Chiasms are found in the Doctrine and Covenants

Criteria for Identifying and Evaluating the Presence of Chiasmus
http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=101

Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon: Possible Evidence of Authenticity
http://www.jefflindsay.com/chiasmus.shtml

Does Chiasmus Appear in the Book of Mormon by Chance HTML
http://byustudies.byu.edu/chiasmus/

Does Chiasmus Appear in the Book of Mormon by Chance .pdf
http://byustudies.byu.edu/chiasmus/pdf/Edwards.pdf

How Much Was Known about Chiasmus in 1829 When the Book of Mormon Was Translated?

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Posted on February 13, 2006, in Mormonism/LDS Church. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for posting this stuff.

  2. Like your site! Got it bookmarked. Have a nice day!

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