The Chiastic Structure of the Book of Daniel, Part 2 -- By: Nicholas Panos

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 09:26 (Mar 2005)
Article: The Chiastic Structure of the Book of Daniel, Part 2
Author: Nicholas Panos

The Chiastic Structure of the Book of Daniel, Part 2

Nicholas Panos

Professor Emeritus

San Diego State University


The book of Daniel is one of the most attacked books of the Old Testament, perhaps second only to Genesis. Critics contend it is not a sixth century prophecy but a second century conglomeration of historical tidbits. Dr. Panos utilizes chiastic structures to show the unity of Daniel which leads to the conclusion that it was composed by one author, namely Daniel.


In the December 2004 issue, Dr. Panos began an in-depth study of the two main chiastic structures of Daniel. He has already discussed level A-A’ (Chaps. 2 and 7:1–18) and level B-B’ (Chaps. 3 and 6) of the first main chiasm (reproduced below). He now picks up the discussion on level C-C. Some of the introduction has also been reproduced in order to present the definition of terms.

A World empires and the kingdom that will endure forever (Chap. 2)

B Persecution and deliverance (Chap. 3)

C God judges a Neo-Babylonian king (Chap. 4)

C’ God judges a Neo-Babylonian king (Chap. 5)

B’ Persecution and deliverance (Chap. 6)

A’ World empires and the everlasting kingdom (7:1–18)

Terminology and Methodology

The ancient literary device known as chiasm involves individual passages, varying in size from a fragment of a verse to several consecutive verses. Such chiasms are sometimes called micro-chiasms, but will be referred to in this paper as subchiasms. A subchiasm is a two-part contiguous passage that contains repetition of similar, identical and/or contrasting words and/or phrases, such that the second part parallels the first part, but in reverse order.

Often there is an encircled central portion of the passage that has no corresponding parallel, called a center or focus. This center usually represents a turning point or a highlight in the movement of the passage. Lines A and A’ (referred to as the A-A’ level) are also significant in that they represent the base, or home, of the subchiasm.

The concepts of matching verbiage and inversion embodied in these subchiasms can be generalized to a relationship among passages encompassing large portions of a work—or even an entire work. This paper deals exclusively with such structures, sometimes called extended chiasms or macro-chiasms. In this paper the term chiasm is ...

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