On priesthood, from “A companion to Ancient Egypt” – “Egyptian Temples and Priests: Graeco-Roman”, by Willy Clarysse

Public Egyptian religion was concentrated in the temples, which were called Hwt-nTr, ‘‘mansions of the god.’’ The temples were the earthly dwellings of divine forces, represented by their statue, usually in human form, in the holy of holies.
The ordered world (kosmos, Maat) created by the gods and continuously recreated by them, was like a fragile soap-bubble surrounded on all sides by chaos […].
Inside each town the temple was the only place were kosmos really ruled: the tidiness inside the temple walls contrasted with the dirt of the surrounding city like the whitewashed and quiet mosque in the messy and noisy street today. The gods renewed their creation every day after the chaos of the night, every month when the moon waned and was reborn, every year when the Nile rose from the waters of the Nun. They did so thanks to their presence on earth in a sacred place, where they received the service of humankind, represented by the Pharaoh. On the walls of the temple the Pharaoh acts as the intermediary between men and gods, presenting to the gods all kinds of offerings (food and drink, clothes and incense, fields and crowns, and finally Maat herself ) in a neverending ritual of do ut des. The daily cult service to the gods guaranteed the well-being of the country. When the service was stopped, the country fell into chaos (we, of course, see things rather the other way round). In this respect, the temples functioned more as nuclear power plants than as churches or mosques.

Quoted from “A companion to Ancient Egypt” – ch.15 – “Egyptian Temples and Priests: Graeco-Roman”, by Willy Clarysse

Leave a Comment