The new "E-Papers" section of "Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought"
has been introduced with a debate on Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.
The Papers section of Dialogue Paperless will supplement the printed
journal by housing digital documents that qualify as papers, not
because they are printed on paper, but because they are complete
pieces, duly refereed and edited and hitherto unpublished. The section
will include articles, essays and poetry.
This section will debut with a rather technical topic, intentional
chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. Chiasmus, a literary device akin to
rhyme, alliteration, and stanzaic structure, is thought to have been
consciously used by Old Testament authors. Its appearance in the Book
of Mormon is therefore seen by many as evidence that the Book of
Mormon is indeed the translation of an ancient record. There is an
extensive literature on intentional chiasmus in the Book of Mormon,
both positive and negative.
The present posting consists of two papers, one arguing for
intentional chiasmus in the Book of Mormon, the other arguing against
it. Our readers may join in the discussion if they wish, adding their
own insights or asking questions of the authors of the two posted
arguments in the comments section of this post. Comments will not
appear immediately because they will be placed in a moderation queue.
The first statement is "Response to Earl Wunderli's 'Critique of Alma
36 as an Extended Chiasm'" by Boyd F. Edwards and W. Farrell Edwards.
In this piece, the Edwardses, son and father, continue an earlier
defense of intentional chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.
The second statement is "Earl Wunderli Responds," by Earl M. Wunderli.
In this piece, Wunderli continues his argument against intentional
BACKGROUND TO THE PRESENT POSTING
The following articles, which precede these responses, will be of
interest to those unfamiliar with the debate.
1. The most important early statement favoring intentional chiasmus
in the Book of Mormon is John W. Welch, "Chiasmus in the Book of
Mormon," BYU Studies 10, no.1, (1969): 69-84. You can download a free
copy of this article at Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon. Users of
Microsoft Explorer may have difficulty accessing this site. In that
case, an alternate browser such as Foxfire, available in free
download, is advised.
2. Boyd F. Edwards and W. Farrell Edwards offer statistical support
for Welch's argument in their article, "Does Chiasmus Appear in the
Book of Mormon by Chance?" BYU Studies 43, no. 2, (2004): 103-130;
available online, with supplemental materials, at Does Chiasmus Appear
3. Earl M. Wonderli argues against intentional chiasmus in the Book
of Mormon in "Critique of Alma 36 as an Extended Chiasm," Dialogue: A
Journal of Mormon Thought, 38, no. 4 (Winter 2005): 97-112. You may
also read an electronic version of it on the Past Issue Selections of