The Priests of Ancient Egypt

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Cornell University Press, 2000 - History - 215 pages

The gods were everywhere in Ancient Egypt. Represented by statues, bas-reliefs, and funerary paintings, they even walked among the Egyptians in the person of Pharaoh, considered to be a living god, son of the divine Ra. What better way to understand that distant culture than by becoming familiar with the people who served those gods? Using as his sources the Egyptian texts and the testimony of classical authors, Serge Sauneron illuminates the role of the priesthood in Ancient Egypt.

He recreates the system of thought of one of the great civilizations of antiquity, addressing such topics as priestly functions, the world of the temples, holy festivals, tombs, and pyramids. Sauneron describes the ceremonies of daily worship, considered vital in preventing the world's descent into chaos. He takes us deep into the sacred precincts of the temples-- home to the divine statues in which a part of the god was believed to dwell. One of the duties of the priests was to maintain these sacred effigies, to nourish, clothe, and protect them from attacks by evil spirits. This edition of The Priests of Ancient Egypt, an augmented version of the 1957 classic, was published in France in 1988, and has been translated authoritatively by David Lorton.


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This book provides the reader with an in-depth view of Ancient Egyptian priests. True to it's description, Sauneron does a wonderful job at shedding light onto this topic. Although, it could have been improved with greater insight on the impact priests had on Egypt's economy.
Would recommend to anyone doing a research on this topic, and even for avid historical reader's wishing to broaden their view on Ancient Egypt.
a high-school student undertaking Ancient History as a subject.

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The Priestly Office
The World of the Temples
The Sacred Services
Sacred Knowledge
The Changing Fortunes of the Egyptian Clergies

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About the author (2000)

The late David Lorton, an Egyptologist, was the translator of many books, including Ancient Egypt in 101 Questions and Answers, The Secret History of Hermes Trismegistus, The Secret Lore of Egypt, and Akhenaten and the Religion of Light, all from Cornell.

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