Source:Echoes:Ch7:4:Antithetic parallelism

Antithetic Parallelism

Antithetic Parallelism

This form is characterized by an opposition or contrast of thoughts, or an antithesis between two lines. A common feature that joins the two lines is the conjunction and or the disjunction but (both and and but are represented by a single character in the Hebrew, waw). Often the second line is introduced with one of these two words and immediately follows the contrasting element. 1 Nephi 17:45 is an example:

 :Ye are swift to do iniquity  :but slow to remember the Lord your God.

The contrast is apparent, the word swift standing opposite of slow and the phrase to do iniquity counterpointing to remember the Lord.

The following antithetic parallelism from Alma 5:40 contrasts good with evil and God with the devil. The expressions whatsoever is and cometh from are featured in both lines:

 :For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God,  :and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil.

Another example is found in Alma 22:6. When Aaron visits King Lamoni in the land of Nephi, the troubled king asks him what Ammon meant in saying

 :If ye will repent ye shall be saved,  :and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at thelast day.

The opposites in this simple summation of the gospel plan are evident: repent ye contrasts with ye will not repent, and saved stands opposite to cast off.[1]


  1. Donald W. Parry, "Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 7, references silently removed—consult original for citations.