Question: What forms of chiasmus exist in the ''Book of Mormon''?

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Question: What forms of chiasmus exist in the Book of Mormon?

The complex examples within the Book of Mormon show much greater sophistication than a child's nursery rhyme

One might honestly debate the merit of the less clear examples of "chiasmus" in the Book of Mormon, in which believers may have been over-enthusiastic

It is debated whether or not examples of macro-chiasmus (chiasms which span many chapters of text) should be properly identified as chiastic. But the examples given above are not as arbitrary. They are detailed, enhance the meaning of the text when appreciated, and require no 'special pleading' for anyone to notice them. They exist within well defined textual boundaries, and often display secondary features, making an argument for coincidence far less appealing. It is true that there are differences of opinions on some of the more widely recognized chiasmus in the Book of Mormon in terms of how they should be phrase, but this doesn't detract from the validity of the expression. To provide an example, here is one possible reading of Mosiah 5:10-12 as a chiasmus (slightly different from the version linked to above):

Mosiah 5:10-12 as Chiasmus
A - whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ (man)
B - must be called by some other name (divine)
C - therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God (man)
D - And I would that ye should remember also, that this is the name that I said I should give unto you (divine)
E - that never should be blotted out, except it be through transgression (divine)
E' - therefore, take heed that ye do not transgree, that the name be not blotted out of your hearts (man)
D' - I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts (man)
C' - that ye are not found on the left hand of God, (divine)
B' - but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, (man)

A' - and also, the name by which he shall call you (divine)

This chiasmus is interesting because it alternates the roles of man and God throughout the structure - except at the center, where those roles are reversed.


  1. See also Boyd F. Edwards and W. Farrell Edwards, "Response to Earl Wunderli’s Critique of Alma 36 as an Extended Chiasm," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought - Dialogue Paperless: E-Paper #1 (30 April 2006), PDF link