Bullinger on “Correspondence”

(Thanks to BobK) Adapted from


Bullinger, E. W. (1898). Figures of speech used in the Bible. London; New York: Eyre & Spottiswoode; E. & J. B. Young & Co.

Correspondence – Page 362

It was reserved for Thomas Boys to extend and develop the study of Parallelism. What others before him had thought to be confined to lines, or only to short passages, he discerned to be true also of whole paragraphs; yea, of whole sections and even of books. He therefore discarded the term Parallelism as being altogether inadequate when used of paragraphs and subjects. He adopted the term Correspondence as applying to and covering all the Phenomena connected with the structure of the sacred text. In 1824 he gave the world his Tactica Sacra, and in the following year he gave his Key to the Book of Psalms, which opened out the whole subject, and gave some examples from the Psalms. In 1890, Dr. Bullinger edited from Mr. Boys’s Interleaved Hebrew Bible, and other of his papers, a complete edition of the whole 150 Psalms, which he called, “A Key to the Psalms,” thus connecting it with the work published in 1825.

This law of Correspondence is seen in the Repetition of Subjects, rather than of Lines, or Propositions.
These subjects may be repeated in three different ways, or rather in two, for the third is only a combination of the other two. They may be repeated alternately; or they may be introverted, when it is called Chiasmus (and sometimes Epanodos); or these two may be combined in innumerable ways.
Each of the subjects occupies a separate paragraph, and these we call members. These members may be of any length; one may be very short, the other quite long. A longer member may be again divided up and expanded, as each member possesses its own separate structure, and this again may be part of one still larger …

Examples of Correspondence Introverted
Gen 43:3-5
Lev 14:51,52
Deut 32:1-43
Ps 23
Psalm 103
Visions of Zechariah
MT 3:10-12
MK 5:2-6
John 5:8-11
John 5:21-29
Gal 2:16


II. Introverted Correspondence Page 374

This is where there are two series, and the first of the one series of members corresponds with the last of the second; the second of the first corresponds with the penultimate (or the last but one) of the second: and the third of the first corresponds with the antepenultimate of the second. That is to say, if there are six members, the first corresponds with the sixth, the second with the fifth, and the third with the fourth. And so on.
The Greeks called it CHIASMOS or CHIASTON from its likeness in form to the letter Chi (X.). For the same reason the Latins called it CHIASMUS, as well as DECUSSATA ORATIO from decusso, to divide cross-wise (i.e., in the shape of an X). The Greeks called it also ALLELOUCHIA (from ἀλλήλους (alleelous), together and ἕχειν (echein), to have or hold, a holding or hanging together.
This is by far the most stately and dignified presentation of a subject; and is always used in the most solemn and important portions of the Scriptures.
Bengel observes with regard to this form of the Figure, that “its employment is never without some use: viz., in perceiving the ornament and in observing the force of the language; in understanding the true and full sense; in making clear the sound Interpretation; in demonstrating the true and neat analysis of the sacred text.”

Gen. 43:3–5.—
A Judah’s words: “The man did solemnly protest unto us, etc.”
B Jacob’s act: “If thou wilt send.”
B Jacob’s act: “But if thou wilt not send him.”
A Joseph’s words: “For the man said unto us, etc.”

In A and A, we have Joseph’s words; and in B and B, Jacob’s action.

Lev. 14:51, 52.—
A “And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet,

B and the living bird,

 C and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running   water,

D and sprinkle the house seven times:
D And he shall cleanse the house

C with the blood of the bird, and with the running water,

B and with the living bird,

A and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet.”

Note also the figure of Polysyndeton (q.v) emphasizing each particular item in this ordinance.

Deut. 32:1–43 (the Song of Moses).—
A 1–6. Call to hear; and the reason. The publishing of Jehovah’s Name, His perfect work and righteous ways.
B 7–14. The goodness and bounty of Jehovah to Israel. (Period of the Pentateuch).
C 15–19. Israel’s evil return for the good. Their pride; forsaking of God: despising the Rock of their salvation. Moving Him to anger. (Period of past history).
D 20. Divine reflections on the period while Israel is “Lo-ammi.” God’s hiding from them (Hosea).
E 21. Jehovah’s provocation of Israel. (Period of Acts and present dispensation).
E 22–25. Jehovah’s threatening of judgment. (The great tribulation).
D 26–33. Divine reflections on the period while Israel is “Lo-ammi.” Their scattering from God (Hosea).
C 34–38. Israel’s evil return for Jehovah’s goodness. Their helpless condition moving Him to pity. He not forsaking them. Their rock useless. (Period of present history).
B 39–42. The vengeance of Jehovah. (The period of the Apocalypse).
A 43. Call to rejoice; and the reason. The publishing of Jehovah’s kingdom. Vengeance on Israel’s enemies. Mercy on His land and His people. (Fulfilment of the Prophets).

III. Complex Correspondence – page 379

This is where the members of a structure are arranged both in alternation (simple or extended) and in introversion, combined together in various ways, giving the greatest possible variety and beauty to the presentation.
Not only is this complex arrangement of a passage complete in itself; but very often there is a double arrangement, the one within the other, and consistent with it, though differing from it.
And further, the longer members of any particular structure generally contain and have their own special arrangement, and may be severally expanded.
In some of the following examples, we have given first the general structure of a whole book or passage and then the expansion of some of the larger members of which it is composed.

The Ten Commandments as a whole, as well as separately, are beautiful examples of complex structure. Take the fourth as a specimen (Ex. 20:8–11):—

A 8. The Sabbath-day to be kept in remembrance by man.

B a 9. The six days for man’s work.

b 10. The Seventh day for man’s rest.

B a 11–. The six days for Jehovah’s work.

b –11–. The seventh day for Jehovah’s rest.

A –11. The Sabbath-day blessed and hallowed by Jehovah.“

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