Mammon /ˈmæmən/ in the New Testament of the Bible is commonly thought to mean money or material wealth and is associated with the greedy pursuit of gain. Jesus used the term mammon, “You cannot serve both God and mammon,” as a reference to Caesar, because it was Caesar who claimed on his tax coin he was a god. According to Jesus, Caesar was mammon, “god of money.” In the Middle Ages it was often personified as a deity and sometimes included in the seven princes of Hell.
The word Mammon comes into English from post-classical Latin mammona ‘wealth’, used most importantly in the Vulgate Bible (along with Tertullian’s mammonas and pseudo-Jerome’s mammon). This was in turn borrowed from Hellenistic Greek μαμωνᾶς, which appears in the New Testament, borrowed from Aramaic māmōnā, an emphatic form of the word māmōn ‘wealth, profit’, perhaps specifically from the Syriac dialect. However, it is not clear what the earlier history of the Aramaic form is. The word may have been present throughout the Canaanite languages: the word is unknown in Old Testament Hebrew, but has been found in the Qumran documents; post-biblical Hebrew attests to māmōn; and, according to St Augustine of Hippo, Punic included the word mammon ‘profit’. It has been suggested that the Aramaic word māmōn was a loanword from Mishnaic Hebrew ממון (mamôn) meaning money, wealth, or possessions; although it may also have meant “that in which one trusts”.
According to the Textus Receptus of the New Testament, the Greek word translated “Mammon” is spelled μαμμωνᾷ in the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 6:24, and μαμωνᾶ (from μαμωνᾶς) in the parable of the Unjust Steward at Luke 16:9,11,13. The 27th edition of the popular Critical Text of the New Testament has μαμωνᾶ in all four places with no indication of any textual variances, thereby ignoring the Textus Receptus reading at Matthew 6:24. The Liddell and Scott Lexicon has a listing for each spelling, indicating that each occurs only in the New Testament, nowhere else in ancient and Hellenistic Greek literature. The spelling μαμμωνᾷ refers to “a Syrian deity, god of riches; Hence riches, wealth” μαμωνᾶς is transliterated from Aramaic [ממון] and also means “wealth.” The Authorised Version uses “Mammon” for both Greek spellings; John Wycliffe uses richessis.
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Keywords: Mammon, Riches, Rich, Wealth, Money, Money possessions
Bible reference(s): Matthew 6:24, Luk 12:15, Luke 16:9, Luke 16:11, Luke 16:13, Luk 16:14, 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 6:17
Source: This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “Mammon,” which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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