Chiasmus in Antiquity

Brian Tucker editor at
Wed Mar 14 08:04:51 EST 2001

Last night in class we were discussing the similarities and differences
between chiasmus as practiced in Biblical Hebrew (more complex) and Ugaritic
(less complex).

One person was arguing for the antiquity of Ugaritic because of the less

Another person argued that since we see less chiasmus in the later books of
the Hebrew Bible - versus the older literature, in this case Genesis - that
one would expect the more complex chiasmus to be in the older literature not
the later. Then he added the argument of complexity of poetry in English 500
years ago as compared to today...

Another person asked a question that no one really knew and here it is: Did
Egyptian writings include chiasmus? Did it at least contain parallelism? If
anyone can supply examples that would be great.

His argument was that the Hebrews learned chiasmus structuring while in
Egypt. I realize many will have a historical problem with that last
statement, however, if the Hebrews did not learn it from the Egyptians what
is the best explanation for the beginning of the use of chiasmus in

Helpful book: Chiasmus in Antiquity: Structure, Analyses, Exegesis by John
Welch, ed. 1981

Brian Tucker
Riverview, MI
editor at

Brian Tucker
Riverview, MI
editor at

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