Chiastic Structure in the Bible

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Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#31 Post by Bobcat » 1 month ago

Some balanced thoughts on the topic of chiasmus in the Bible: Here.


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Stranger
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#32 Post by Stranger » 4 weeks ago

Hi Bobcat,

I was doing some reading from the Mountain Retreat and come across this and thought you might appreciate a gander at it as much as I would appreciate a comment about it.


(3) In Galatians 2:16 we have a perfect illustration of what is called a chiasm. The verse reads,

“nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, not by the works of the Law…”

A chiasm or chiastic structure fills the Psalter. It is very Hebraic. It is named after the Greek letter ‘Chi’ which looks like an X in English. If you take away the right part of the X you are left with an arrow pointing to the right. In terms of a chiastic argument, the first point in the argument starts with the top left of the X, or arrow. The next point, which is the heart of the argument is the tip. The last point is a repeat of the first point and starts at the beginning of the bottom of the left side of the X. If this is all too confusing to you, let me put Paul’s argument in chiastic sequence.

knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law
-----but through faith in Christ Jesus
----------even we have believed in Christ Jesus,
-----that we may be justified by faith in Christ
not by the works of the Law.

Three times in this verse, Paul, allegedly, speaks of faith in Christ, which is rather redundant and superfluous, unless a chiasm is being employed, and he has in mind not our faith in Christ, but Christ’s faith or faithfulness. The verse works perfectly only when we understand that Paul is thinking about the faith of Christ. It would then read,

knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law
-----but through the faith of Christ Jesus,
----------even we have believed in Christ Jesus
-----that we may be justified by the faith of Christ
not by the works of the Law.

The first and the last clauses speak of not being justified by the works of the law. The second and next to the last speak of being justified by the faith of Christ himself. The middle clause speaks of our trusting in Jesus’ faith and faithfulness. The point of Christian faith is not in the efficacy or power of our own faith, but believing in the faith and faithfulness of Jesus himself, who stands in our place. We believe in Jesus and in his faith. This is the center, the tip of the arrow, of Paul’s chiastic argument. Jesus has taken his place on our side of the covenant relationship with God. And in our place he has offered the perfect response of faith and faithfulness, wherein we are justified. We take our stand, according to Paul, upon his vicarious offering to the Father, upon his faith and faithfulness, that we may be justified not by our own works or faith, but by Jesus.’ We choose to be justified by Jesus’ faith and faithfulness, not our own.


Stranger, (Gal 2:16 KJV)

Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#33 Post by Bobcat » 4 weeks ago

Hi Stranger,

That reference quote is a good explanation of the idea and purpose behind chiastic literary structure. (I tried to link your post to here, but the current software problem won't allow it. I'll try after things get better.) I am also going to start a Galatians thread (here) to link your post to.

Incidentally, if you look at the index link below, I now have 41 of the 66 Bible books with their own thread on this topic. It's been about three years since I started this project.

There is also an explosion of links to chiasm when you do a Google search for "chiastic." (Here) It seems that the topic is being explored by many others more recently.

We used to (briefly) show up on page one of a Google search for "chiastic structure." But we've been crowded out by bigger names. But that means that there are a lot more resources available on it. (We are on page 2 here.)


Bobcat

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Stranger
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#34 Post by Stranger » 3 weeks ago

Bobcat wrote: 4 weeks ago There is also an explosion of links to chiasm when you do a Google search for "chiastic." (Here) It seems that the topic is being explored by many others more recently.
Hi Bobcat,

Since some here have been delving into the book of Revelation lately, I was wondering if there are any chiasms on the scriptural passages of the mark of the beast. Now if there is not then I would suspect that if you could distinguish one you would shoot straight back to the top of the charts.


Stranger, (Rev 13:18)

Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#35 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

Hi Stranger,

I am looking into that. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Incidentally, there is an interesting footnote (# 54) in the NET (here) at Rev 13:18 regarding the translation of the verse:
tn Grk “it is man’s number.” ExSyn 254 states “if ἀνθρώπου is generic, then the sense is, ‘It is [the] number of humankind.’ It is significant that this construction fits Apollonius’ Canon (i.e., both the head noun and the genitive are anarthrous), suggesting that if one of these nouns is definite, then the other is, too. Grammatically, those who contend that the sense is ‘it is [the] number of a man’ have the burden of proof on them (for they treat the head noun, ἀριθμός, as definite and the genitive, ἀνθρώπου, as indefinite—the rarest of all possibilities). In light of Johannine usage, we might also add Rev 16:18, where the Seer clearly uses the anarthrous ἄνθρωπος in a generic sense, meaning ‘humankind.’ The implications of this grammatical possibility, exegetically speaking, are simply that the number ‘666’ is the number that represents humankind. Of course, an individual is in view, but his number may be the number representing all of humankind. Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).” See G. K. Beale, Revelation, [NIGTC], 723-24, who argues for the “generic” understanding of the noun; for an indefinite translation, see the ASV and ESV which both translate the clause as “it is the number of a man.”

sn The translation man’s number suggests that the beast’s number is symbolic of humanity in general, while the translation a man’s number suggests that it represents an individual.

Bobcat

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Stranger
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#36 Post by Stranger » 3 weeks ago

Bobcat wrote: 3 weeks ago tn Grk “it is man’s number.” ExSyn 254 states “if ἀνθρώπου is generic, then the sense is, ‘It is [the] number of humankind.’ It is significant that this construction fits Apollonius’ Canon (i.e., both the head noun and the genitive are anarthrous), suggesting that if one of these nouns is definite, then the other is, too. Grammatically, those who contend that the sense is ‘it is [the] number of a man’ have the burden of proof on them (for they treat the head noun, ἀριθμός, as definite and the genitive, ἀνθρώπου, as indefinite—the rarest of all possibilities). In light of Johannine usage, we might also add Rev 16:18, where the Seer clearly uses the anarthrous ἄνθρωπος in a generic sense, meaning ‘humankind.’ The implications of this grammatical possibility, exegetically speaking, are simply that the number ‘666’ is the number that represents humankind. Of course, an individual is in view, but his number may be the number representing all of humankind. Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).” See G. K. Beale, Revelation, [NIGTC], 723-24, who argues for the “generic” understanding of the noun; for an indefinite translation, see the ASV and ESV which both translate the clause as “it is the number of a man.”

sn The translation man’s number suggests that the beast’s number is symbolic of humanity in general, while the translation a man’s number suggests that it represents an individual.

Hi Bobcat,

That is interesting. Respectfully, I have underlined some words, abbreviations, and terms in the footnote above. Just for clarity as seers of this fn. or n. (which is preferred), could you give a brief explanation of of the meaning or what these stand for. I ask because, I feel you have the capability to save a lot of folks who are truly interested, the time it takes to learn these things by looking them up. In my "make a living" field, my memory card is hitting it's limits with all the old and new hieroglpyh on the market today. If you don't have the time I understand, perhaps you could do one or two at the time.

The reason I underlined "the" is because it's in brackets,

Now, referencing the n. (#54):
Bobcat wrote: 3 weeks ago Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).”
This seems to be where we are all at in this season of time. (Satan's benchmark!)



Stranger, (Isa 14:13-14)

Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#37 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

Hi Stranger,

Let's see if I can answer you ...

The gist of the footnote is that the phrase, "it is the number of a man" (Rev 13:18 ESV) can also be rendered, "it is man's number." (Rev 13:18 NET)

The difference is significant. The ESV version is suggesting that the number 666 represents a particular person in some way. The NET rendering suggests that the number 666 represents something characteristic of humanity (and not a particular human). Understanding it this latter way, and seeing how the number 7 is used in Revelation to indicate perfection or completeness (note how the use of "7" proliferates in Revelation here), 666 might suggest something about humanity that is lacking. The triple repeating of the 6 might give the number some added emphasis, as if the lack was especially evident. (For example, see this post.)

The footnote is suggesting that the latter (the NET rendering) better represents the Greek text and the style of the writer of Revelation. Although, technically, either rendering is possible.

ExSyn 254 (where 254 is the page number) is a reference that is being quoted. I don't have the printed copy of NET so I haven't yet been able to track down exactly which reference is being quoted. "ExSyn" is an abbreviation. Usually quoted reference works (and their abbreviations) will be listed near the front of the book that is quoting them. But I'm not sure if the online version of NET has that. I haven't been able to find it so far.

The quote from "ExSyn 254" goes all the way down to the next to the last line of the footnote, just before where it mentions "See G. K. Beale."
"ἀνθρώπου is generic": ἀνθρώπου is the Greek word for "man." By saying that it is "generic," the reference is saying that "man" should be understood much like we would say "human" of "mankind," referring to humans in general, and not a particular person.

anarthrous (which has the same meaning as "indefinite"): this means "without the article." Often times in Greek, when a noun does not have the definite article it takes on a "generic" meaning. For example, if I were at the scene of a robbery, I might say that, "the man steals." I would be referring to a particular man. But if I said, "man steals," I would probably be describing a general tendency among humans. Having the article ("the") or not having it tends to change the connotation of the phrase. The word "articular" means having the article (also referred to as "definite").
NIGTC: this is the abbreviation for the New International Greek Testament Commentary. It is a series of academic commentaries. G. K. Beale is the author of the one in this series on Revelation.
Bobcat wrote: 3 weeks ago Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).”

I would point out that what is quoted above is from ExSyn 254. This is the opinion of that reference.

My opinion of the meaning of 666 is more in line with the last part of the NET footnote quote where it says,
sn The translation "man’s number" suggests that the beast’s number is symbolic of humanity in general ...

I take the beast that comes out of the see in Rev 13:1 to be representative of the whole of mankind's governmental efforts, with the 7 heads representing the major world powers that have had direct dealings with God's people (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and Anglo-America) and the "ten horns" representing the many individual governments that have existed over time alongside the major world powers.

The numbering of the beast (666) IMO stresses the fact that this beast has been very much lacking as far as being of benefit to mankind. From the time of the Tower of Babel until this beast is finally put out of existence (Rev 19:19-20), is one long stretch of failures. The "wisdom" involved in this is that to allow oneself to be figuratively "marked" by the number of this beast would represent the idea that one has become a servant of it or centered their life around it in some way. To do thusly is to destine oneself to come to an end when the beast does. (Rev 19:20-21)

Incidentally, I take the "he/it" in Rev 13:16 that causes the marking to be the two-horned beast of Rev 13:11 (which I understand to be the Anglo-American empire). That world power has a reputation of trying to enforce its preferred form of government (capitalism/democracy) upon the rest of the world. Its' preference for a human style of government (compare Dan 7:8) (as opposed to autocratic styles) makes the "man's number" and 666 most appropriate. The rise of democratic/republican styles of government during the enlightenment era (which parallels the industrial era) was supposed to be the apex in human governmental attainment. Current history has many questioning that now.

I hope that answers your questions.


Bobcat

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Stranger
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#38 Post by Stranger » 3 weeks ago

Bobcat wrote: 3 weeks ago I hope that answers your questions.
It did, thank you Bobcat for taking some time to do that. I also appreciate you spilling a "few harvested" beans about your understanding of this subject and look forward to more explanations as time marches on.
Bobcat wrote: 3 weeks ago I don't have the printed copy of NET so I haven't yet been able to track down exactly which reference is being quoted.
They use a lot of symbols and abbreviations in there notes which is understandable, and like you I don't have a printed copy and don't know if their legend is available online.

I agree with you about all of humanity possibly being the 666, "it's just the nature of the beast", we even have a phrase for it. One problem I see with that is, I don't see humanity worshipping "Humanity". On the other side of the coin, if it were just one man, what could he do without the rest of humanity? Could he be like Satan, and be granted a third of humanity for his cause perhaps? (Rev 13:17)

A chiasmus would be very informative for a better understanding. The only way I would begin to know how to start I guess, would be to only use the scriptures that mention anything about the mark of the beast. Maybe you have some ideas if there are any.


Stranger, (Rev 12:3-4)

Bobcat
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#39 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

Here you go Stranger, see this post. It's experimental, so be careful not to drive too fast with it. :D

For cross-reference, here is another thread on 666.


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Stranger
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Re: Chiastic Structure in the Bible

#40 Post by Stranger » 2 weeks ago

Bobcat wrote: 3 weeks ago ExSyn 254 (where 254 is the page number) is a reference that is being quoted. I don't have the printed copy of NET so I haven't yet been able to track down exactly which reference is being quoted. "ExSyn" is an abbreviation.
Hi Bobcat,

Doing a Google search with the abbreviation above, it would seem that all roads lead to D. Wallace, it appears he has quite a few books on the market today.
https://books.google.com/books?id=eld0v ... milarbooks

Let me know if that's not right please.


Stranger

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