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Mammon

Original text from a 1911 encyclopedia

Mammon, a word of Aramaic origin, means "riches", but has an unclear etymology; scholars have suggested connections with a word meaning "entrusted", or with the Hebrew word "matmon", meaning "treasure".

The Greek word for "Mammon", mamonas, occurs in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew vi 24) and in the parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke xvi 9-13). The Authorised Version keeps the Syriac word. Wycliffe uses "richessis".

The New English Dictionary quotes Piers Plowman as containing the earliest personification of the name. Nicholaos de Lyra (commenting on the passage in Luke) says: "Mammon est nomen daemonis" (Mammon is the name of a demon). No trace, however, of any Syriac god of such a name exists, and the common identification of the name with a god of covetousness or avarice stems from Spenser (The Faerie Queene), Milton (Paradise Lost), and from the above-mentioned Piers Plowman.

In his Dictionnaire Infernal, De Plancy asserts that Mammon is Hell's ambassador to England, and Gregory of Nyssa asserted that Mammon was another name for Beelzebub.



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