You are here

KnoWhy #340 - How Did Biblical And Ancient Near Eastern Authors Use Chiasmus? (Alma 34:9)

TitleKnoWhy #340 - How Did Biblical And Ancient Near Eastern Authors Use Chiasmus? (Alma 34:9)
Publication TypeKnoWhy
Year of Publication2017
Corporate AuthorsBook of Mormon Central Staff
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
Place PublishedSpringville, UT
KeywordsAncient Near East; Atonement; Chiasm; Chiasmus; Jesus Christ; Literature; Parallelism; Salvation; Structure; Writing

BYU Professor John W. Welch has pointed out that scholars “have identified fascinating chiasms in virtually every book of the Bible." Biblical scholar Mitchell Dahood has noted, “On micro and macro levels chiasmus has been shown to be a basic element in the formal structure of biblical literature.” In further support of “ancient awareness” of this literary device, examples of the use of chiasmus have been found throughout the main bodies of literatures from the ancient Near East, from as early as the third millennium B.C. in several Sumero-Akkadian and Ugaritic texts, but not discovered and translated until about half a century ago. Welch proposed that the appearance of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon strongly suggests both a Hebrew background and an ancient Near Eastern origin for the book. The fact that chiasmus is found so fundamentally and extensively throughout the scribal practices in the world from which Lehi came is consistent with the premise that Book of Mormon authors in fact knew the literary styles of “the Jews” and used them in their own profound and creative ways.

Citation Key3374

Scripture Reference

Alma 34:9