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Here’s something kind of different.  While on the way home from the recent CCLE conference I was speaking with a new friend about the use of chiastic and kai structure in the scriptures.  When I got home to Austin, I found something interesting going on in Ephesians 1.  I thought, “Ephesians isn’t that lengthy.  I should try and render the entire epistle such that the rhetorical structure is emphasized.”

August 2nd 2016 |

Comments (12)

  • Dr. Tallmon says...

    [click here for Ephesians.pdf]

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please bear in mind, this is only a first draft . . . revisions are forthcoming.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd 2016 at 8:13 am

  • Jikkiyu says...

    To begin with, what is the intended rhetorical effect of the the ‘chiasm’ in classical speech and writing?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd 2016 at 10:00 am

  • Dr. Tallmon says...

    Thanks, George. My understanding is that chiasm functions as a sort of “verbal highlighting,” which is critical in an oral culture. In other words, when one hears a chiastic structure, it signals an important point (which, interestingly, appears at the POINT of the A,B,C,B,A arrangement!) and, for the auditor who is conditioned (or enculturated?) to hear the chiasm, attention is focused on what follows.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd 2016 at 1:09 pm

  • Jikkiyu says...

    What would be an example of a very truncated, very simple chiasm? It might be interesting if someone could compose one, and we could analyze its rhetorical effect.

    Also, trying to get Sister Sara logged in, she should be joining soon.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 9th 2016 at 8:08 am

  • Dr. Tallmon says...

    Great! I look forward to discussing matters rhetorical with Sara! As you will note above, I prepared a version of Ephesians that features chiastic structures, along with rhetorical devices, etc. It’s not truncated and simple, but it’s pretty clear, I think. Chapter I: 3-10 is pretty clear. Check that out and let me know what you think.

    P.S. I enjoyed your presentation at CCLE XVI! You are both witty and whimsical . . . and wise.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 9th 2016 at 1:07 pm

  • Jikkiyu says...

    I’ll take a look at it soon.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 10th 2016 at 8:08 am

  • Jikkiyu says...

    Also, thanks for the compliment, presentations such as that to larger groups are not quite my thing, so it was nice to have the practice before patient people.

    Posted on Wednesday, August 10th 2016 at 8:15 am

  • Dr. Tallmon says...


    There are also chiasms in the section of Galatians, where the juxtaposition between works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit is developed [click here] AND in 1 John 1: 5-10. Check them out!

    Posted on Wednesday, August 10th 2016 at 3:32 pm

  • Jikkiyu says...

    I find part of the ‘chiasmic structure’ of Ephesians more convincing than others. The opening fourteen verses seem to be structured as such.

    I know that Dr. Just sees Chiasms in everything, particularly Luke-Acts, which once again brings up my question: the chiasm was obviously heavily employed in the classical period, but to what effect? What, if it can be defined, is the ‘intent’ of a chiasmic structure. I have been reading the beginning of Ephesians a few times, trying to ascertain its effect on me as a reader.

    Posted on Thursday, August 11th 2016 at 6:26 am

  • Dr. Tallmon says...

    I would like someone else to answer George. (This is not supposed to be a two-way dialog!) Thanks!

    Posted on Thursday, August 11th 2016 at 5:39 pm

  • Sara Schultz says...

    As one untimely born, I am finally here! I know nothing about chiasms, but the effect was emphasis toward the center of the symmetry, right?

    Posted on Friday, August 12th 2016 at 1:35 pm

  • Dr. Tallmon says...

    Welcome, nice person! You are correct. And “the point” signals an emphasis that generally receives close attention and elaboration. So, as I said above, it works kind of like “verbal highlighting” to draw the auditor’s attention to the point being emphasized. It is a convention of oral culture, and, understanding it, in our text-based culture, enhances one’s grasp of the meaning and “texture” of a given passage.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 16th 2016 at 10:28 am

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