Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Language and Literature, Hebrew

  • Yaffa Weisman
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1409

Related Terms


Hebrew is a Semitic language which developed in the Near East during the latter half of the second millennium B.C.E. in an area between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean known as Canaan. The language is named after Ever (Eber, Genesis 11:14), a biblical ancestor of Abraham, the patriarch who would become the father of the Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish nation.

Hebrew was defined and accepted as a sacred language by its earliest practitioners and scribes as it was viewed as the language spoken by the Biblical God when creating the world and when communicating with the people of Israel, their leaders, their prophets, and the occasional lay people who were chosen to carry forth a divine plan. As a sacred language, it was used in liturgy and for the expression of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Frances-Henry LibraryHebrew Union College, Jewish Institute of ReligionLos AngelesUSA