Originally I thought of adding this to this thread. But the subject of the origin of the term Armageddon is itself wide enough to justify its own thread.
From the book, Crossing the Boundaries, Essays in Biblical Interpretation in Honour of Michael D. Goulder
The Origin of Armageddon
Revelation 16:16 as an Interpretation of Zechariah 12:11
by John Day
1. It is remarkable how far the notion of a final battle of Armageddon has entered into the popular consciousness, when we consider that there is only one allusion in the whole Bible to the name Armageddon, namely in Rev 16:16. This is part of the section in Rev 16:12-16 recounting the wrath of the sixth bowl, in which the unclean spirits like frogs, issuing from the mouth of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, assembled the kings of the whole world for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. Finally, verse 16 reads, "And they assembled them at the place which is called in Hebrew Armageddon." There is no consensus as to the origin and meaning of the name Armageddon, or, more precisely, Harmagedon (Ἁρμαγεδών). John does not bother to give a Greek translation as he does for the Hebrew word Abaddon in Rev 9:11. The most favoured view is that it means "mountain of Megiddo," but it still has many dissenters, and even for those who follow it there is disagreement about whence exactly the term was derived and why Megiddo should be called a mountain.
2. According to H. Gunkel (Schopfung und Chaos), the name Armageddon was derived from apocalyptic tradition, the meaning of which was probably unknown to the author of Revelation. He compared, for example, 1 Enoch 6:6, where the fallen angels of Genesis 6 gather on Mt. Hermon. Gunkel's view was followed by W. Bousset and I. T. Beckwith, and more recently by E. Lohse. That the name was derived from some apocalyptic tradition is indeed likely. That we do not know the meaning and are unable to deduce its source is a counsel of despair, however, and as we shall see later, unjustified.
Modern Views of Armageddon's Origin
3. In a note added to H. Gunkel's book (ibid, H Gunkel. p. 389, n. 2), H Zimmern put forward the view . . . that Armageddon derives from [Gesemigadon], a name sometimes encountered in magical spells of the early centuries of the Christian era. It is the name of the husband of [Ershkigal], the Babylonian goddess of the underworld. However, there is nothing in the book of Revelation to suggest any connection with him, and this view has long been forgotten. It was a product of the excesses of the pan-Babylonian period.
4. Another view, one still with some lingering support, claims that Armageddon reflects an underlying Hebrew har mo'ed "mount of Assembly," the site of the mythological mountain which was the object of the ambitions of Lucifer (symbolizing the king of Babylon) in Isa 14:13. This view was first proposed by F. Hommel followed by Johannes Jeremias, and popularized by C. C. Torrey, who equated the mount of Assembly with Jerusalem (cf. Ps 48:5), and has more recently gained the support of M. Rissi and E. Loasby. Joachim Jeremias seems to have been quite attracted to this view, but drew back from supporting it because he felt that the Greek y (gamma) was an inappropriate letter to represent the Hebrew ', when the underlying Semitic root (as we know from Arabic) had an ', not gh. This particular objection is invalid, however, since in the LXX Greek y can be equivalent to proto-Semitic ' as well as gh. Rather, the appropriate objection is that har mo'ed is too remote in form to be a credible source of the [word] Armageddon. For har mo'ed we should expect either Harmoed or Harmoged, not Harmagedon. Hommel and Torrey admittedly sought to overcome this difficulty by supposing that a redactor changed the original Greek transliteration to Harmagedon because he was unfamiliar with the original form and in order to bring it into line with "mountain of Megiddo." This, however, is speculative. Moreover, if, as I shall argue, sense can be made of the meaning "mountain of Megiddo," then it is unnecessary to seek some quite other form behind it.
5. A view first suggested by an anonymous writer in 1887 and followed more recently by J. W. Bowman, and viewed sympathetically by the editorial staff of Encyclopaedia Judaica, maintains that the underlying Hebrew is Har migdo "his fruitful mountain," with reference to Mt. Zion. But this particular phrase is never elsewhere employed of Mt. Zion or anywhere else. In any case, we expect to have here a proper place name and not simply an epithet.
6. Another alleged epithet for Jerusalem which has been held to lie behind Armageddon is har hemda "the desirable city," but this expression is never attested of Jerusalem or anywhere else, and as has already been mentioned, a place name seems required. Further, the possible occurrence of 'ar for 'ir "city" in Hebrew ('ar never being attested) is restricted to a Moabite place name Ar (cf. Num 21:15, 28; Deut 2:9, 18, 24; Isa 15:1).
7. Another minority view is that of A. van den Born, who has suggested that Armageddon means "mount of (the) Macedonian," i.e. Alexander the Great. However, this seems purely speculative with nothing to commend it, and indeed, it has gained no support.
8. The form of the word "Armageddon" most naturally suggests the underlying Hebrew har megiddon "mountain of Megiddo," and this still seems to be the majority position. Occasionally in the past it has been supposed that the meaning is rather "the city of Megiddo" ('ar [for 'ir) megiddon), but this is unlikely, since, as has already been noted, the possible occurrence of 'ar for 'ir in Hebrew is confined to the Moabite place named Ar. "The land of Megiddo" ('ara megiddon) was also once suggested, but there is even less reason to see why Megiddo should be called a land than a mountain, and the vocalization tells against it. Rather the vocalization more naturally suggests "the mountain of Megiddo" (har megiddon). One may compare, for example, 'Argarizin "Mt. Gerizim" in Psuedo-Eupolemos (reported in Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica 9.17.5).
Note from Bobcat: The writer of the essay points out in a footnote that he only sampled views from recent centuries, and not those of the patristic era.
Bobcat (Part 2 continued in next post)