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John W. Welch research on Babylonian chiasmus, 1967-2009

Identifier: MSS 3776 Series 7 Sub-Series 11

Scope and Contents

Contains documentation on John W. Welch's Babylonian chiasmus studies. Included in these documents are examples of chiasms and patterns in ancient Babylonian texts including Hammurabi's Code and flood stories as well as a paper documenting how many Biblical laws were based off of the laws found in Hammurabi's Code. Materials dated 1967-2009.


  • 1967-2009


Language of Materials

Materials in English and French

Conditions Governing Access

Donor restricted until 2017; permission to use materials must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the John W. Welch chiasmus papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

From the Collection:

John W. Welch (1946- ) discovered chiasmus in the Book of Mormon and founded the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS).

John W. Welch was born in 1946. In 1967, while serving in the LDS South German Mission, Welch and his companion attended a lecture in the Catholic Priesterseminar which talked about the use of chiasmus in the Gospel of Matthew. Two weeks later, he discovered chiasmus in the Book of Mormon and began to correspond with family members and scholars on the subject. In 1968, when he returned from his mission, he attended BYU for two years, earning a B.A. and M.A. in 1970. He attended Oxford as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow after that, and then attended Duke Law School from 1972 to 1975. He began working for the law firm O’Melveny and Meyers in Los Angeles in 1975 and worked until 1980, all the while corresponding with scholars about chiasmus studies. In 1979, he organized the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) in Los Angeles, and in July 1980 he accepted a job offer to teach at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. He continued to work with FARMS and BYU, furthering the historiography and knowledge of chiasmus. From 1988 to 1991, he served as an editor of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and from 1991 to 2007 he was the editor-in-chief of BYU Studies. Today, he still researches chiasmus and works on the Joseph Smith Papers project.

He is married to the former Jeannie Sutton, and they have four children and sixteen grandchildren.


5 folders

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed finding aid is available in the repository upon request.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States