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Lector Priest or literally Carrier of the Book of Rituals (ancient Egyptian: ẖry-ḥb.t)[1] was an ancient Egyptian religious occupational title. A lector priest was a priest in ancient Egypt who recited spells and hymns during temple rituals and official ceremonies. Such priests also sold their services to laymen, reciting texts during private apotropaic rituals or at funerals.[2] As such, they were some of the most prominent practitioners of "magic" (heku) in ancient Egypt. In ancient Egyptian literature, lector priests are often portrayed as the keepers of secret knowledge and the performers of amazing magical feats.[3] Lector priests wore a sash across the chest that indicated their position.[3]

Lector Priest

Chief Lector Priest[]

The highest-ranking lector priest in a temple, the chief lector priest, managed the temple's archives of ritual texts.[3] The term for a chief lector priest (ẖry-ḥb.t ḥry-tp), was so closely associated with magic that, in Late Egyptian language, the shortened form hry-tp became a general term for "magician".[2]

See also[]


  1. Collier & Manley 1998, p. 33.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ritner 1993, p. 220-222.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Doxey 2001, p. 69-70.


  • Collier, M./Manley, B., 1998: How to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
  • Doxey, D., 2001: Priesthood. In: Donald B. Redford (ed), 2001: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Vol. III.
  • Ritner, R.K., 1993: The Mechanics of Ancient Egyptian Magical Practice.