Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



John Welch, chiasm, Helaman 6


Now available is John W. Welch's recent report on the discovery of a particularly fine example of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. Welch comments, "This text seems to be among the clearest examples of chiasm in the Book of Mormon." This chiasm, found in Helaman 6:7-13, is the full report for the 64th Year of the Reign of the Judges, a year in which great change occurred among the Nephite and Lamanite peoples. During that yea r, both Nephites and Lamanites enjoyed an extraordinary peace, prosperity, and freedom of travel uncommon at any other time before in Nephite history. The structure of the chiasm embraces the entire entry for the year, and features more than 10 chiastic elements. One of the most remarkable occurs at the structure's apex where the Nephite chronicler mentions the name of king Zedekiah, then parallels it with the word " Lord." Since, in Hebrew, the theophoric suffix -iah is an equivalent of the word " Lord," the pairing of these two words is shown to constitute a very subtle and remarkable linguistic feature in this chiasm.