mammon

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MAMMON

New Testament term for wealth, derived through the late-Latin mammona from the Greek μαμωνάς, a transliteration of the Aramaic māmônā, "emphatic state," corresponding to the late-Hebrew māmôn, "financial gain, riches," probably a contraction of hypothetical ma'ămōn, "thing entrusted, deposit, security." The Hebrew word māmôn occurs in the Old Testament only in Sir 31.8 ("gain"), but it is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the talmud, and modern Hebrew. In the New Testament the term occurs in Mt 6.24; Lk 16.9, 11, 13. In Lk 16.913 it serves as a catchword to connect three sayings of Jesus. Verse 9 serves to explain the preceding parable: the disciples too, are to exercise cleverness, but in their case, by giving in charity to the poor their wealth (called "wicked" because acquired so often unjustly) in order to provide an eternal home for themselves. In verses 10 through 12 earthly goods are called "a very little thing," "wicked mammon," and "what belongs to another." Those who rightly use them will be entrusted with heavenly goods, which, by way of contrast, are called "much," "true," and "what is your own." A different aspect is expressed in Lk 16.13 and Mt 6.24: riches are here personified and contrasted with God. This personification, however, is purely literary; there actually never was a pagan god or demon called "Mammon," as is sometimes wrongly supposed.

Bibliography: e. hauck, g. kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (Stuttgart 1935) 4:390392. j. schmid, Das Evangelium nach Lukas (4th ed. Regensburg 1960).

[c. bernas]

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mam·mon / ˈmamən/ (also Mam·mon) • n. wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. It was taken by medieval writers as the name of the devil of covetousness, and revived in this sense by Milton. DERIVATIVES: mam·mon·ism / -ˌizəm/ n. mam·mon·ist / -ˌist/ n.

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Mammon wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion (sometimes as the mammon of unrighteousness, from Luke 16:19). It was taken by medieval writers as the name of the devil of covetousness, and revived in this sense by Milton.

See also you cannot serve God and Mammon.

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Mammon (personification of) riches. XVI. Earlier Mammona as a proper name for ‘the devil of covetousness’ — late L. mam(m)ōna, mam(m)on — N.T. Gr. mam(m)ōnás (Matt. 6: 24, Luke 16: 9–13) — Aram. māmónā, māmôn riches, gain.

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mammon (măm´ən), Aramaic term, meaning worldly riches, retained in the New Testament Greek. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon" is one of the most noted biblical strictures.