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TitleNephi’s Use of Inverted Parallels
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNewton, Dennis
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
KeywordsChiasm; Chiasmus; Exodus Motif; Inverted Parallelism; Lehi (Prophet); Nephi (Son of Lehi); Parallelism; Poetry; Structure; Wilderness

Did Nephi intentionally use chiasmus in his writings? An analysis of fifteen multi-level chiasm candidates in Nephi’s writings demonstrates a high statistical probability (99%+) that the poetic form was used intentionally by Nephi but only during two specific writing periods. This finding is buttressed by further analysis, which reveals a clear and unexpected literary pattern for which Nephi seems to have reserved his usage of chiasmus. The nature of obedience is a major theme in Nephi’s writings, and he regularly employed chiasms to explore the topic early in his writings. After a period during which he discontinued use of the technique, he returned to the poetic device toward the end of his life to signal a significant shift in his thoughts on the topic of obedience.


Scripture Reference

1 Nephi
1 Nephi 3:2
1 Nephi 3:3-12
1 Nephi 3:7
1 Nephi 5:1-6
1 Nephi 13:39-42
1 Nephi 17:48-52
2 Nephi
2 Nephi 11:4-5
2 Nephi 25:24-27
2 Nephi 25:25-26
2 Nephi 26:1-9
2 Nephi 29:3-6
2 Nephi 29:4-5