Monday, January 14, 2008

Chiasmus - Hebrew Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon

I’m really excited about this years course of study in Sunday School, the Book of Mormon.

One of the observations that we should make as we read the Book of Mormon is the chiasmus (or chiasms) word structures that exist in the text. Chiasmus is one of many ancient Hebrew literary forms that were not known to Joseph Smith or local scholars of his time, yet they are interweaved throughout the Book of Mormon. If we fail to see these layers that exist, we are not reading the Book of Mormon for all it’s worth.

For a good, short introduction to this topic, I suggest the work of the late Elder Hugh Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon, available online at the Maxwell Institute. Here is the link: HTML LINK

"It is these kinds [chiasmus] of textual studies that are proving to be the most effective defense of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.” (Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, Chapter 7, Noel B. Reynolds, Deseret Book)

Also see my link to "The Onion."


9 comments:

mckenzi said...

wow. I first learned of chiasms from Avraham Gileadi. http://ldspatriot.wordpress.com/

Noel B. Reynolds is a relative of mine. I will have to check out his book.

David Littlefield said...

Mckenzi:

I had heard of Avraham Gileadi and his books, but I have never read any of them. His Isaiah work look interesting.

Is LDSPATRIOT.com his site, or does he just post there?

Thanks,

-David

RWW said...

David, are you aware of the chiasmus in Acts 2? I noticed it long ago and have always wondered if it's known to anybody more literarily-inclined than me, since I've never seen it listed with other examples.

David Littlefield said...

RWW:

I am not aware of that chiasmus, But I will take a look. Thanks for the tip.

You know it is really a shame that when people find things like that, that there is not a central depository of knowledge to place it into. I know a few years back I found what I thought/think is a significant relationship between Revelation 18 and a chapter in Isaiah. I checked every LDS and non LDS commentary and no one has made the connection that clearly John was making. I would like that information to go into the body of knowledge of the church, but there is now way to get it there, for me anyway.

Part of the problem is that there are not serious studies of the Book of Revelation by church members, it's all junk. I would be willing to share the info and let a published author take credit as his own. Anyway, don't get me going 8-)

-David

David Littlefield said...

RWW:

I found an overview of chiasmus in Acts 2, here is a link to a PDF DOWNLOAD PDF

And here is a link to some biblical chiasmus: LINK

-David

RWW said...

Wow, that's actually a different chiasmus than the one I was referring to, which is in Acts 2:22-33 (centered at 27)

I hadn't considered the possibility of two of them in that chapter, but there they are, back-to-back.

David Littlefield said...

Here is a good article on what Joseph Smith knew about chiasmus prior to publishing of the Book of Mormon: Welch

-David

David Littlefield said...

RWW:

Isn't that something! Chiasmus just keep popping up. I think we have only scratched the surface of what is going on in the Book of Mormon.

A few years ago I began trying to understand some things in the Book of Mormon that seemed to really only be understood in light of Jewish sacred thought (now considered part of cabala), and it has opened up an unbelievable door, that I have only begun to walk through. These are things that not only prove the Book of Mormon, but carry with them fantastic insights.

-David

mckenzi said...

Gileadi- I have his Isaiah book. I only just found this website I believe is his. But I do not know enough about it yet. I need to have a deeper look at it.