Even wonder what the probability is that a given chiasmus occurred by chance rather than design? A new publication applies careful statistical analysis to help resolve this issue. The work is Boyd F. Edwards and W. Farrell Edwards, “Does Chiasmus Appear in the Book of Mormon by Chance?,” BYU Studies, Vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 103-130 (2004). The entire article and many supplementary materials – including software for you to explore the statistics of chiasmus yourself – are also available online at http://byustudies.byu.edu/chiasmus/.
The authors find that some often-cited examples of chiasmus in the Book of Abraham and the Doctrine and Covenants are likely to be due to chance, but several well-known examples of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon appear to be intentional with a high level of confidence. They take into account factors that have been used to suggest that Book of Mormon chiasmus was accidental, and apply what appears to be a fair and reasonable approach. They also provide useful background information and other insights. Well worth reading!
Naturally, I have updated my page on chiasmus in the Book of Mormon to include links to the work of Edwards and Edwards.
A final note: by providing the software they used in their study, the authors imply that they aren’t afraid to have others check out their approach in detail. I would love to hear your results if you take up the challenge.