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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Modern Hebrew Words


By Jeff A. Benner

In the Modern Hebrew language the word for "science" is מדע (mada, Strong's #4093). This word does appear in the Hebrew Bible where it is usually translated as "knowledge," but once as "science" in the King James Version.

Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. (KJV, Daniel 1:4)

As the Hebrews did not practice science, as we understand the term, I do not believe that "science" is a good translation for this word and I prefer "insight," This word is derived from the parent root דע (da, Strong's #1843) also meaning "knowledge."

Many of the Modern Hebrew words for the different branches of science are transliterations of their Greek names such as these examples.

  • Biology – ביולוגיה (biologi'ah)
  • Cosmology – קוסמולוגיה (qosmologi'ah)
  • Geology – גאולוגיה (geologi'ah)

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