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February 2012 About This Site This site is about full chapters of chiasmus in the scriptures.

Having completed diagrams of the chiasmus in many chapters selected at random from throughout all of the scriptures - both ancient and modern - it has become evident to me that for thousands of years, the prophet-writers have consistently used chiasmus, a very specific, highly complex, literary style to communicate and teach. The depth, breadth, and artistry of this style is beyond any man's capacity to personally create. I very much feel that when we learn to see the elegance and extent of chiasmus in the scriptures, we are seeing God's hand in the writings of the prophets. I hope you enjoy this work. I look forward to receiving an email from you to let me know what you think of it. Using the PDF format allows the files to opened on different operating systems (Mac, PC), but it creates typo's at random places, so just disregard them when you see them Greg Carlston gregcarlston@gmail.com How the site is organized What you will see on this site is a collection of the chiastic diagrams that I have developed during the last two years. This site presents chiasmi found in the Old Testament, the New Testament, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price - all of which are the scriptures recognized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (though Latter-day Saints are devout followers of Christ, they have often been called "Mormons" because they accept the Book of Mormon as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ"). This site also includes some documents of modern revelation and some of historical value that Latter-day Saints believe are inspired of God. Because scribd.com organizes postings in the order they are posted, the best way to see the most items is to start by clicking on "SHELF" at the top of the first page on the site and then clicking on "see all". You can then sort alphabetically, by topic, by date, or by number of "reads." The views expressed on this site are mine and do not represent the Church. Some background on how this site came to be About two years ago, as I explained chiasmus to a friend, I realized that he wasn't quite getting the full impact of my explanation so I offered to type up for him a couple of the many selections of chiasmus that I had found and marked in my own scriptures. As I worked on my first diagram, Alma 48 in the Book of Mormon, I realized that even though there were several passages of chiasmus in the chapter, the whole chapter was chiastic. This was a stunning discovery for me because during the many years that I have been familiar with chiasmus, I had only noticed smaller selections of chiastic writing Although it took hours to complete my first diagram, when I was finished, I was astonished to see the picture that had emerged: a parallelistic format from the first word in the chapter to the last. The next chapter that I diagrammed was Ezekiel 1. The format of this diagram was identical to Alma 48. Again, I was amazed to find that a chiasm that spanned an entire chapter, not just a few words or phrases scattered throughout the chapter. Not only could chiasmus be used across entire chapters, but here I was seeing the same elegant style of writing
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used in entirely different books of scripture written on different continents by writers that lived many centuries apart. Chiastic writing can also be found in many non-biblical sources. It is also quite interesting but its depth of complexity and breadth of teaching don't come anywhere close to the chiasmus which is found in the Holy Scriptures. Learning to identify chiasmus in the Holy Scriptures will prepare you to more greatly appreciate and understand it when you see it in secular writing. Though the focus of this site is on chiasmus that spans whole chapters and entire books, the presentation of long passages of chiasmus is in no way meant to diminish the profound elegance and importance of the shorter passages of chiasmus that scholars have identified over the course of more than four decades. It is by learning to identify and understand shorter chiastic phrases that we are able to identify and appreciate longer passages. You may ask what is the point of studying the poetic writing style in the scriptures - can't we just read the scriptures? Surely, in simply reading the scriptures we find much life and learning, yet, any extra effort we put into our study of the Word of God will always yield great rewards. With just a little more focus in the process of studying chiastic writing, we are immensely rewarded. The diagrams of this site are my own work. I'm not a professional scholar. I don't have degrees in ancient languages. I haven't written any books on chiasmus. My views don't represent the Church. I simply have a profound interest in searching the scriptures because in them we can "enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come" (Moses 6:59). Scholars of chiasmus may not find that my interpretations meet the strictest standards to be called chiastic writing, but whatever you call it, the writing that I have found is of such a consistent, symmetrical format that it must be recognized for the artistry and masterful ability of the prophets to produce very long passages of high complexity while teaching the Savior's sublime doctrines of salvation. What is chiasmus? If you reached this site by searching the Internet, you know there is a very large body of work on the topic of chiasmus. One definition and set of examples can be found by looking up "chiasmus" on wikipedia.com. Another good source is John W. Welch's article, Criteria for Identifying and Evaluating the Presence of Chiasmus. For the convenience of those not familiar with chiasmus, I'm providing the following brief description, but the best way to understand chiasmus is to look at many examples of it that other people have found and then to find it in your personal explorations of the scriptures.

Parallelism in the Old Testament When a single concept is expressed twice, this is called parallelism, a literary style which is a primary teaching device used throughout the Old Testament. Chiasmus is a form of parallelism, a style of writing used to more fully deliver concepts. In parallelism, concepts are presented in pairs as we will see in Psalm 23 which is shown below. Each matched pair may use the same words, but they may also employ synonymous expressions, comparisons, contrasts, masculine/feminine, prophecy/fulfillment, or any of the many other forms of rhetorical devices of parallelistic repetition. The second phrase of each parallelism is not considered subordinate to the first, but is equal to the first in that it completes the first thought. Psalms 23 is an excellent example of Biblical parallelism.
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Psalm 23 - (complete text) 1 THE LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23 - (diagrammed to show parallelisms) a THE LORD is my shepherd; b I shall not want. a He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: b he leadeth me beside the still waters. a He restoreth my soul: b he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. a Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, b I will fear no evil: for c thou art with me; a thy rod and thy staff b they comfort me. a Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: b thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. a Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and b I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Chiasmus in Psalm 23 As one of the many types of parallelism, in chiasmus, concepts are also repeated twice, however, instead of using a sequential listing of concepts with each concept expressed twice, in chiasmus, a list of individual concepts is delivered and then the list is given again in reverse order. In addition, at the turning point, where the list reverses, an important principle is usually emphasized. Below, Psalm 23 is diagrammed to show its chiastic structure. As you will notice in the previous diagram, the parallelism is quite apparent, but as shown in the following diagram, chiasmus is much more subtle in its structure and a more careful reading is required in order to identify it. Psalm 23 - (diagrammed to show chiasmus) Step 1: Matched phrases are identified and then labeled alphabetically as shown here. 1 2 3 4
A THE LORD is my shepherd; B I shall not want. He maketh C me to lie down in green pastures: D he leadeth me beside E the still waters. F He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of


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5 6

G the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for H thou art with me; I thy J rod and thy staff J they I comfort me. H Thou preparest a table before me in G the presence of mine enemies: F thou anointest my head with oil; E my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall D follow me all the days of C my life: and B I will dwell in the house of A the LORD for ever.

Step 2: A single column is created based on meaning, structure, readability, and edited as appropriate.
A B C D E F G H I J J I H G F E D C B A

THE LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Step 3: The chiastic diagram is created by tabbing each row into position. Meanings, syntax, etc. are reviewed and the diagram is modified as needed Proof read carefully.
A

THE LORD is my shepherd; B I shall not want. 2 He maketh C me to lie down in green pastures: D he leadeth me beside the still E waters. 3 F He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of G death, H I will fear no evil: for I thou art with me; J thy rod and thy staff J they comfort me. 5 I Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of H mine
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enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; E my cup runneth over. 6 Surely D goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of C my life: and B I will dwell in the house of A the LORD for ever.
G F

Comment Notice that matched parallelisms can pair metaphorical and symbolic concepts. For example, in the lines labeled D, leadeth matches follow and the pronoun he - a reference to the Lord - matches with goodness and mercy which are also references to the Lord. In lines labeled G, enemies is correlated with the word death. In this Psalm, we begin to understand that David, the writer, grew from being a simple shepherd boy into a master poet able to use the complex framework of chiasmus to present deeply spiritual principles.