By Serge Sauneron
The gods have been all over the place in old Egypt. Represented via statues, bas-reliefs, and funerary work, they even walked one of the Egyptians within the individual of Pharaoh, thought of to be a residing god, son of the divine Ra. What greater strategy to take into account that far-off tradition than by means of turning into conversant in the folk who served these gods? utilizing as his resources the Egyptian texts and the testimony of classical authors, Serge Sauneron illuminates the function of the priesthood in historic Egypt.
He recreates the procedure of considered one of many nice civilizations of antiquity, addressing such subject matters as priestly features, the realm of the temples, holy fairs, tombs, and pyramids. Sauneron describes the ceremonies of day-by-day worship, thought of important in combating the world's descent into chaos. he's taking us deep into the sacred precincts of the temples― domestic to the divine statues within which part of the god used to be believed to stay. one of many tasks of the monks was once to keep up those sacred effigies, to nourish, dress, and defend them from assaults by way of evil spirits. This variation of The clergymen of old Egypt, an augmented model of the 1957 vintage, used to be released in France in 1988, and has been translated authoritatively by means of David Lorton.
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Extra info for The priests of ancient Egypt
There is no misfortune nor evil for the one who lives on His benefits; there is no damnation for the one who serves Him; for His care reaches to heaven and His security to the earth: His protection is greater than that of all the gods. [Edfu V, 343i-»-344«, transl. M. ] The tone here is infinitely more serene - and the thought more elevated; there is no longer a question of reviewing prohibited offenses, but of exalting the virtues of an existence spent in the regular worship of the god, and the happiness that results from it.
These purifications were performed in the sacred lakes near the temples; before doing their service, in the morning, the priests went down to the water and sprinkled themselves copiously. When there was no lake, a stone basin or bowl took its place. To this 'rite' there the water which 36 life is, is already attached a certain symbolism; in religious thought, the primordial came - it is also where the dying sun, element from goes at sunset, to take new energy to rejuvenate it on the morrow. Thus certain reliefs show a purification scene in which the water which falls from the pitchers is replaced by a rain of little symbols of life: the morning ablution then endows the officials .
They were circumcised for cleanliness, for they put cleanliness above aesthetics. ] The candidates for the priesthood were not always circumcised, for one could enter the priestly apprenticeship at a very young age, but they probably submitted to this operation the moment they officially acceded to their charge. Under the emperor Hadrian, circumcision became a distinctive mark of the priests. In what measure had this practice previously been in current usage? Did it constitute, in the great epochs, one of the necessary conditions of the priesthood?