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priest +‎ -craft.


priestcraft (usually uncountable, plural priestcrafts)

  1. The craft of performing the duties of a priest.
    • 1981, William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture, London: Rider/Hutchinson & Co., page 172:
      One of the most complex of all the poems in the mythological cycle is "Inanna's Descent into the Nether World." This work does not have the air of a dairymaid's song but rather seems to be an expression of priestcraft, astrology, and an investigation into the nature of time.
  2. (derogatory) Priestly policy directed towards worldly ends.
    • 1681, John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel:
      In pious times, ere priestcraft did begin, before polygamy was made a sin
    • 1831, The Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 26:29
      He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
    • 1891, Horace (Horatio) Smith, Address to a Mummy:
      Perhaps thou wert a priest,--if so, my struggles / Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.