Sacramentum Mundi Online

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(921 words)

1. “Dispensation” is derived from the Latin pendere, because the “dispensator”, in the days before coinage was introduced, had to weigh the bronze used for making payments, as we are told by Varro (De lingua latina, V, 183): “ab eodem aere pendendo dispensator”, and Festus (De verborum significatione, s.v. “dispensator”): “Dispensatores dicti qui aes pensantes expendebant, non adnumerabant.” Dispensatio then came to mean the administration of a patrimony or the public treasury, and also, like the Greek οỉϰονομία, the prudent distribution of goods, even…

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Olis Robleda, “Dispensation”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 06 December 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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