« Discriminatory Monogamy | Main | The Pagan Christ, Debunked »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

1. Because the sections of the KJV & the BoM which overlap are _not_ the sections being cited "as proof" examples of Chiasmus.
2. Because trying to write in a "style" doesn't guarantee, or even indicate any possible success, when dealing with more in-depth literary techniques. You try to imitate iambic pentameter if you don't even know what syllables are...


Thanks for the post! The Catholic Encyclopedia article on parallelism does include introverted parallelism, but the power and significance of chiasmus was clearly not appreciated by the scholars who put that volume together. If scholars at the turn of the century did not have a good grasp on chiasmus, who could think that Joseph Smith could have learned it and mastered it to create a gem like Alma 36? For the latest on what scholars could have known in Joseph's day, see John Welch's article, "How Much Was Known about Chiasmus in 1829 When the Book of Mormon Was Translated?" in FARMS Review of Books, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2003, available in PDF or HTML formats. It was theoretically possible but highly unlikely that Joseph could have known about chiasmus. I also dig into the chiasmus issue on my page, "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon."

I myself have found an over 600 word chiasmus in the BOM. I have sent it off to John Welch for verification. He has been slow in getting back but he says it is complex and interesting. It took me nearly 3 months just to map it out. I have tried writing chiasms also. It seems to me to be very difficult to do and for Joseph Smith to write the plethora of chiasms in the BOM would be a major feat of intellect, especially while keeping the many other strands going, such as the storyline, theology, timeline, internal map, authors, hebraisms, prophecies, all manner of literary devices. For a 14 year old this seems quite impossible.

If only it were so simple, Robert. You can't just invoke chiasmus as some sort of aesthetic proof-texting without a model, first specifying some objective test for what is or isn't a chiasm, then providing an explanation of how it does or doesn't appear in this or that text. One can have faith without chiasmus, of course.

>first specifying some objective test for what is or isn't a chiasm, then providing an explanation of how it does or doesn't appear in this or that text>

Such tests exist and I have, ofcourse, checked it myself to the standards. And it has fine reason for being there. If you want to argue chiasmus as a legitimate literary device, that is something else.

It is true that chiasmus cannot be used as some sort of aesthetic proof text but can it not be used as a measure for the complexity of the text? The greater the complexity, the less likely an uneducated farmer or any single individual could have authored it.

I believe it can be used in conjunction with many other factors of sophistication and complexity that help demonstate its authorship beyond that of a rural farmer's ability. Chiasmus along with other factors also give it proper footing in the ancient world. A lack of such charecteristics would announce the book a fake; the inclusion of them would at least keep it in the realm of the possible.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Now Reading

General Books 09-12

General Books 06-08

General Books 04-05

About This Site

Mormon Books 2015-16

Mormon Books 2013-14

Science Books

Bible Books

Mormon Books 2012

Mormon Books 2009-11

Mormon Books 2008

Mormon Books 2007

Mormon Books 2006

Mormon Books 2005

Religion Books 09-12

Religion Books 2008

Religion Books 2004-07

DMI on Facebook

Blog powered by Typepad