# gematria

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gematria
/geuh may"tree euh/, n.
a cabbalistic system of interpretation of the Scriptures by substituting for a particular word another word whose letters give the same numerical sum.
[1685-95; < Hebrew gematriya < Gk geometría GEOMETRY]

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the substitution of numbers for letters of the Hebrew alphabet, a favourite method of exegesis used by medieval Kabbalists to derive mystical insights into sacred writings or obtain new interpretations of the texts. Some condemned its use as mere toying with numbers, but others considered it a useful tool, especially when difficult or ambiguous texts otherwise failed to yield satisfactory analysis. Genesis 28:12, for example, relates that in a dream Jacob saw a ladder (Hebrew sullam) stretching from earth to heaven. Since the numerical value of the word sullam is 130 (60 + 30 + 40)—the same numerical value of Sinai (60 + 10 + 50 + 10)—exegetes concluded that the Law revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai is man's means of reaching heaven. Of the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, the first ten are given number values consecutively from one to ten, the next eight from 20 to 90 in intervals of ten, while the final four letters equal 100, 200, 300, and 400, respectively. More complicated methods have been used, such as employing the squares of numbers or making a letter equivalent to its basic value plus all numbers preceding it.

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Universalium. 2010.

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• GEMATRIA — (from Gr. γεωμετρία), one of the aggadic hermeneutical rules for interpreting the Torah ( , no. 29). It consists of explaining a word or group of words according to the numerical value of the letters, or of substituting other letters of the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

• Gematria — or gimatria (Rabbinic Hebrew he. גימטריה transl|sem|gēmaṭriyā ), is a system of assigning numerical value to an alphabet. The word Gematria is believed to have been formed from a metathesis of the Greek word grammateia ( play upon letters ), from …   Wikipedia

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• gematria — 1680s, from Heb. gematriya, from Gk. geometria (see GEOMETRY (Cf. geometry)). [E]xplanation of the sense of a word by substituting for it another word, so that the numerical value of the letters constituting either word is identical [Klein] …   Etymology dictionary

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• Gematria — Gematrie oder Gematria (von hebr. גימטריה, gimatr ja) ist die hermeneutische Technik der Interpretation von Worten mit Hilfe von Zahlen. Dabei werden Buchstaben nach unterschiedlichen Schlüsseln in ihre entsprechenden Zahlenwerte überführt, um… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

• Gematría — La Gematría es un método y una metátesis (alternación del orden de las letras en una palabra) que depende del hecho de que cada carácter hebreo tiene un valor numérico, cuando la suma de los números de los caracteres que componen una palabra daba …   Wikipedia Español

• gematria — noun /ɡɪˈmeɪ.tɹi.ə/ A Kabbalistic method of interpreting Hebrew words, based on numerical values of letters. Suppose a secret force of Jesuits, receives each Day a summary of Observations made at Greenwich, and transcalculates it according to a… …   Wiktionary

• gematria — /gəˈmeɪtriə/ (say guh maytreeuh) noun a mystical system which derives significance from numbers substituted for letters, as, for example, by interchanging words which, after this substitution, have the same numerical value. {from the Gematria in… …   Australian English dictionary

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