You are here

Chiastic Structuring of Large Texts: 2 Nephi as a Case Study

TitleChiastic Structuring of Large Texts: 2 Nephi as a Case Study
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsReynolds, Noel B.
EditorParry, Donald W., and John W. Welch
Book TitleChiasmus: The State of the Art
PublisherBYU Studies/Book of Mormon Central
CityProvo, UT/Springville, UT
Keywords2 Nephi; Chiasmus; Parallelism; Repetition; Rhetorical Criticism

Noel B. Reynolds, “Chiastic Structuring of Large Texts: Second Nephi as a Case Study,” reviews the work of scholars regarding rhetorical criticism in biblical studies, especially with regard to rhetorical structures that give prominence to parallelism and repetition. Many structures consist of large chiasms that contain subordinate units (smaller, inner chiasms or extended parallelisms of some form), and these subordinate units, in turn, “may contain their own subordinate units.” According to some scholars, these formations may be composed of eight levels, especially when one considers corresponding philological or grammatical elements. After reviewing biblical rhetorical criticism, Reynolds examines, as a case study, the book of 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. He demonstrates that this book features one macro-chiasm with thirteen subunits labeled, A-B-C-D-E-F-G-F′-E′-D′-C′-B′-A′. Each of the subunits, in turn, consists of smaller subordinate units, some of them demarcated with repetitive units, such as inclusio. Reynolds then focuses on the pivotal G element, constituting 2 Nephi 11:2–8, which is Nephi’s witness of Jesus Christ.