What is the Gematria?
The word 'Gematria' comes from the Hebrew word "guematria". It is a process used mainly by the kabbalists that consists in replacing the letters of a word or a sentence by their numerical value and then adding them in order to obtain a total value which will be associated with this word or to this sentence. The words of the same value possess a close sense that the kabbalists use in order to know the hidden deep meaning behind the word. The Cabal associates with 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet a particular number. But the gematria is not only used for the texts written in Hebrew: the Greeks, Arabs and Chinese had also the habit of this form of study. However only the Greek and Hebrew alphabets are listed here.
There are several schools of thought about the attribution of numbers to letters. Let us say simply that we distinguish the regular numeration (referred here to the gematria in "N") and the simple numeration (referred here to the gematria in "n").
For Hebrew letters, the range of numbers of the regular numeration spreads 1 to 400 for 22 first letters. Appear then five other letters which have a form and a different numerical value when they are located at the end of a word. They are the final "kaph" with 500, the final "mem" with 600, the final "nun" with 700, the final "phe" with 800 and the final "tzade" with 900. For the Greek alphabet, the range is 1 to 900, with 9 units, 9 tens and 9 hundreds.
The numeration simplified is more modest! The numerical values follow directly the order of each letter in the alphabet. Thus the letters in the Hebrew alphabet have each a value from 1 to 27, and the Greek alphabet, 1 to 24. This numeration is called here gematria in "n".
Last modification: December 19, 1998