Archive for April, 2013



Here’s a list of the various chiasmi I see in this passage:

1)  A B A :  This is the over-arching chiasmus.  A and A’ mention prayer and prophesying; disgrace and glory; and hair (whether present, shaved, or cut off).  B doesn’t mention any of these things.   B focuses on broader statements regarding men and women – and at it’s very center, refers to ‘angels’.

2)  A is a five-part chiasmus:  A B C B’ A’ :  A/A’ = an ‘ordering’ of relationships  …  B/B’ = a focus on men  …  C = a focus on women.

3)  B is also a five-part chiasmus:  A B C B’ A’ :  A/A’ = origination of men and women  …  B/B’ = submission / independence regarding men and women  …  C = women; symbol of authority; and angels.

4)  A’   *may possibly be*  an A B B’ A’ chiasmus.

5-8)  B has 4 smaller chiasmi:  one each in A, B, B’, and A’.  Each involve the terms man and woman:  i.e., man, woman, woman, man – or – woman, man, man, woman.

At some point I’ll add additional comments.




32  Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;  33  just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.  11:1  Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.  2  Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

A    [Me:  praying, prophesying, disgraces, disgraceful, hair … ]

A    [Me: An Order in Relationships:]    3  But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ

B    [Me: Men:]    4  Every man  /  who has something on his head while praying or prophesying, disgraces his head

   [Me: Women:]    5  But every woman who has her head uncovered – while praying or prophesying, disgraces her head; for she is one and the same with her whose head is shaved.  6  For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off;  but if it is disgraceful – for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head

 B’   [Me: Men:]    7  For a man  /  ought not to have his head covered,

A’   [Me: An Order in Relationships:]    since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.


B    [Me:  No mention of praying, prophesying, digrace, dishonor, glory, hair … ]


8  For    a    man does not originate from    b    woman,

but    b’    woman from    a’    man;


9  for indeed    a    man was not created for the    b    woman‘s sake,

but    b’    woman for the    a’    man‘s sake.

 C    10  Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head  –  because of the angels.


11  However, in the Lord, neither is    a    woman independent of    b    man,

nor is    b’    man independent of    a’    woman.


12  For as the    a    woman  /  originates from the    b    man,

so also the    b’    man has his birth through the    a’    woman;  —-  and all things originate from God.


A’    [Me:  praying, dishonor, glory, hair … ]

A ?    13  Judge for yourselves:   is it proper for a woman to pray to God with head uncovered

B ?    14  Does not even nature itself teach you that   if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, 

B’ ?   15  but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her?

A’ ?   For her hair is given to her for a covering.


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Here’s a Joel 3:2-8 chiasmus by Steve Jeffery.  Steve’s the minister at Emmanuel Evangelical Church in North London – and his ‘Minister’s Blog’ can be found here.

I’ve made a few minor changes to his presentation. As well, I’ve used the NASB – the New American Standard Bible:


3:1  “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,  2  I will gather all the nations, And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat.

A    Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel,

B    Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land.

C    3  “They have also cast lots for My people, traded a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine that they may drink.

D    4  “Moreover, what are you to Me, O Tyre, Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you rendering Me a recompense? But if you do recompense Me, swiftly and speedily I will return your recompense  /  on your head.

E    5  “Since you have taken My silver and My gold, brought My precious treasures to your temples,

E’   6  and sold the sons of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their territory,

D’   7  behold, I am going to arouse them from the place where you have sold them, and return your recompense  /  on your head.

C’   8  “Also I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah,

B’   and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a distant nation,”

A’   for the LORD has spoken.

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A while ago I read a blog entry entitled “Chiasms on the Brain?” on the blog For His Reknown.  The blog is written by James M. Hamilton Jr., who is the associate professor of Biblical Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and preaching pastor at Kenwood Baptist Church.  It’s short so I’m taking the liberty of reproducing the blog entry here in full.  (Hopefully he won’t mind.)

Please have a gander at his site.  I think it’s a good one.  🙂


Chiasms on the Brain?

By James M. Hamilton, August 28. 2012

I was recently asked some questions about chiasms: Are biblical scholars just bored and seeing things? Would ancient audiences have picked up on them? Is this a widely attested ancient Near Eastern device? Do lay Bible readers have any hope of seeing them or must they consult commentaries?

These are good questions. There are biblical scholars who are very suspicious of chiasms, especially of larger proposals that stretch over whole sections of texts or even whole books. I come down with those who see chiasms as a key structuring device in ancient literature. I would add that it’s not just ancient literature. I think it was a prof I had in college, Skip Hays, who suggested that The Great Gatsby has a paneled structure that is basically chiastic. There are plenty of examples of balanced structures in the world’s literature. Think of the Divine Comedy . . .

Anyway, in a world that didn’t use chapters, chapter titles (the chapter and verse numbers in the Bible were added later–they don’t come from the biblical authors), bold subheadings, and italics, authors seem to have employed chiastic structures, inclusios, and other devices that rely on the repetition of key words, phrases, or thematic concepts to structure their material.

There is evidence that early on the biblical texts were widely memorized, as well as evidence that they were regularly read aloud. I think it plausible that authors expected their audiences to recognize chiastic structures and inclusios formed by the repetition of key words, phrases, and concepts, and if they weren’t caught on first hearing (those accustomed to listening closely to texts being read aloud probably had more facility for hearing such things–I notice that my sons, who have heard us read aloud to them a lot, seem to catch more from a first reading than my wife and I sometimes do) they could be noticed in the memorization/meditation/recitation process.

This is not limited to the ANE, though, because chiasms are also widely attested in the NT. I see a chiastic structure in the whole book of Revelation.

A proposed chiasm is either convincing or unconvincing, isn’t it? We’re dealing with those points on the scale from impossible to unlikely to implausible to possible to plausible to likely to certain . . . Sometimes chiasms are more apparent if the texts are read in the original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, though if you’re reading a more literal translation you might still pick it up if you’re paying close attention and thinking hard about how the text hangs together. I think if you were to study a text really closely or memorize it in something like the NASB or ESV or NKJV, you might notice a chiastic structure . . . so commentaries are not the layperson’s only hope of seeing the structure that is there.

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