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Masses, The
(913 words)

1. Term

“The masses” is a term deriving from Lat. massa and Gk. maza, meaning a kneaded lump. It has the sense of a heap or aggregation or unorganized assembly. Used first for things, from the Middle Ages onward it came to be used also for people.

In the modern period “the masses” tends to have a negative nuance, as in reference to plebeians, a crowd, or a mob. Between 1890 and World War II political sociology employed it for uncontrollable forces in society, not a class (Class and Social …

Cite this page
Bertels, Kees, “Masses, The”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 09 December 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_M280>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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