Chiasmus is a biblical literary form, where the writer lists certain key words or ideas in one order, and then goes back and repeats them in the opposite order. The first example of this found in the Book of Mormon is Mosiah 5:10–12:
Watch Book of Mormon Central’s new video about the discovery of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon in John W. Welch’s own words.
The most incredible part is when Elder Welch awoke in the middle of the night to these words, “If it is evidence of Hebrew style in the Bible, it must be evidence of Hebrew style in the Book of Mormon”.
The discovery was made by John W. Welch, on August 16, 1967. Welch was just a young missionary on Germany at the time.
Wednesday was the fiftieth anniversary of Welch’s discovery. Since that time, several other examples of chiasmus have been found in the Book of Mormon, and both LDS and non-LDS scholars have come to better understand how chiasmus was used in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and additional ancient texts from both the Old and New Worlds.
To commemorate the last fifty years of scholarship, a two-day conference on chiasmus was held on BYU campus, sponsored by Book of Mormon Central, BYU Studies, and additional co-sponsors.
This video was premiered in a special Jubilee session Wednesday night, where Elders Kim B. Clark and Jeffrey R. Holland spoke on the significance of this discovery and the important role evidence should play in the study of the gospel.