Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Photos from Israel: Dead Sea Scroll Chiasm

Photograph of a Dead Sea Scroll containing a chiasm that is on display in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem. Used in ancient scripture, chiasms are a powerful, symmetric pattern of writing. This funneling structure focuses in and emphazises the main concept in the middle. Chiasms can be found all through our scriptures, but many of us are unaware of them. Looking for them is a good exercise to find the "tree from the forest".

Here is one that I recently found in D&C 133: 10

Awake and arise and
........go forth to meet the Bridegroom
..............behold and lo,
.......................the Bridegroom
........go ye out to meet him.
Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.

Seeing this new structure...we can then read the scripture this way: Awake, Arise, and Prepare yourselves for the Great Day… go out and go forth to meet the Bridegroom.. Behold and lo, He cometh…The bridegroom.

Sidenote: The Essenes were responsible for writing and preserving the Dead Sea Scrolls. (which included The book of Enoch, The Temple Scroll and the Isaiah Scrolls) They separated themselves from the other two major sects (the Pharisees and the Sadducees) and became sectarians. A Sectarian is one who has separated itself from the established church, or which holds tenets different from those of the prevailing denomination in a kingdom or state. The earliest Essenes member were likely Sadducees unwilling to accept the status quo establishment.


  1. What I love about seeing the chaism in Hebrew is you actually get to see the structure as a pyramid and inverted pyramid meeting physically, not just in meaning/words. Thus, it is a reminder to the eyes of heaven meeting earth, even if you cannot understand the meaning of the letters/words, you can see it. Lovely.

  2. This is way too cool! For more chiasms, check out chiasm.ad70.net

  3. This is an awesome picture, but it looks more like it came from an illuminated codex and not a scroll. Do you have the source for this photo or do you know what text it comes from?