Death Meets Life @ the Gate of Nain

[Text: Luke 7:11-17]

There’s a literary feature called a chiasm (KYE-asm) that was sometimes used in ancient writing as a poetic way to arrange phrases and ideas.  Basically, some ideas are presented in a certain order, and then they are immediately presented again in the reverse order, creating a verbal mirror-image effect.  Recently I noticed this chiastic structure in the elements of the story of the “Widow of Nain,” whose son was raised by Jesus:  it’s not that Luke wrote the story as a chiasm, but that you can arrange the pieces chiastically:

(a) Jesus approaches the city of Nain
(b) with a great crowd,
(c) bringing life as God’s unique Son;

…He encounters…

(c’) a dead man, only son of his mother,
(b’) followed by a “considerable crowd,”
(a’) being carried out of the city of Nain.

Picture it!

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Filed under Luke, Synoptic Gospels

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