Skip to content

Biblical studies pet peve

Okay, I know that chaisms are a major literary feature in Hebrew poetry and elsewhere throughout the Scriptures, and that’s all fine and good. However I really can’t stand the tendency to try to find them absolutely everywhere in Scripture. For example Wes Howard-Brook’s Becoming Children of God: Radical Discipleship in the Gospel of John divides up every single section of Scripture in the entire book into chiasms. Every single one. All of them.

Come on.

I’m all for literary analysis, but the ubiquity of chiasms seems way too forced to me, at least in many, many cases.

So what’s your biblical studies grumpkin?


  1. roger flyer wrote:

    What’s peve?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 6:08 am | Permalink
  2. Derek wrote:

    Actually, chiasm craziness is one of my top peeves too. To me the desire to find them at times almost seems paranoia driven, a beautiful mind-like obsession.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 7:29 am | Permalink
  3. Brad A. wrote:

    Are you saying he’s faking his chiasms?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 7:31 am | Permalink
  4. The tendency to write half-truths with full conviction. While I love biblical exegesis that can hit kerygmatic notes, sometimes biblical interpretation takes the road of “That’ll preach!” in a way that either refuses to do careful exegesis. Or, the writer does exegesis but then makes theological claims that ultimately do not pour out of the detailed attention to the text. Thus, it show the exegesis was superfluous, an necessary evil in the way of previously determined agenda.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  5. Steven D wrote:

    When an author claims a Gospel writer or Apostle as the proto-[insert particular theology here]. Gah!

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink
  6. Daniel wrote:

    Glenn Beck is my Biblical Studies pet peve:

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  7. Halden wrote:

    I don’t think he’s ever read the Bible. Book of Mormon, maybe.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink
  8. Aric Clark wrote:

    Rampant Chiasmic Obsession is a problem.

    I dislike excessively elaborate redactive schemes that show how each clause was written by a different author and then combined like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  9. Hill wrote:

    I totally agree with this. I also hate it when people misspell chiasm.

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  10. Halden wrote:


    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink
  11. grumpkin: Old Testament commentaries that read like Jewish history/archaeology books.

    Why not unashamedly read the OT like a Christian? Why do we instead have the predictable Jesus bit tacked on at the end of any given section of a commentary that basically says, “Of course, all of this is fulfilled in Jesus,” before quickly moving on to the next section (which is replete with chiasms)?

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  12. Byron Smith wrote:

    Am I going mad? In every passage, I see chiasms. You can’t miss them. Chiasms are everywhere. Why does this make you mad?

    Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink
  13. Deve wrote:

    It’s kind of like deve upsidedown…

    Monday, March 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

Switch to our mobile site