1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mammon

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MAMMON, a word of Aramaic origin meaning “riches.” The etymology is doubtful; connexions with a word meaning “entrusted,” or with the Hebrew matmon, treasure, have been suggested. “Mammon,” Gr. μαμωνᾶς (see Professor Eb. Nestle in Ency. Bib. s.v.), occurs in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. vi. 24) and the parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke xvi. 9–13). The Authorized Version keeps the Syriac word. Wycliffe uses “richessis.” The New English Dictionary quotes Piers Plowman as containing the earliest personification of the name. Nicholaus de Lyra (commenting on the passage in Luke) says that Mammon est nomen daemonis. There is no trace, however, of any Syriac god of such a name, and the common identification of the name with a god of covetousness or avarice is chiefly due to Milton (Paradise Lost, i. 678).