Tag Archives: Criss-Crossing

Friday Phraseology: Chiasm

Chiasm: Derived from the Greek letter chi (which is shaped like a letter X), a rhetorical device whereby parallel lines of a text correspond in an X pattern, such as A-B-C-B’-A’ (in this case the center of the chiasm is C, and on either side line A will correspond to line A’ and so forth). For example, a chiastic pattern (without a C element) may be observed in Mark 2:27 and set out in the following fashion:

A: The sabbath was made

B: for humankind,

B’: and not humankind

A’: for the sabbath

The pattern can be as simple as a verse in Mark or as elaborate as a whole poem, a parable or a book. In using this device, an author can show both progression of thought and intensification of meaning. Chiasm is a way of “layering”


Arthur G. Patzia; Anthony J. Petrotta. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies (pp. 24-25). Kindle Edition.