Despite wizardly ways, Harry Potter is a good Christian, claims former Yale theologian

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In "God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy in an Ivy League Classroom" (Unlocking Press), ...[Danielle Tumminio] explores how readers often overlook Christianity in J.K. Rowling's work.

When Tumminio, who holds three degrees from Yale and is an ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church, taught Christian Theology and Harry Potter at the Ivy League university during 2008 and 2009, the course drew a religiously diverse group of students, including an Indian Christian, a Kenyan Episcopalian and a Chinese atheist.

The Harry Potter expert says she structured her forthcoming book the way she did her class: by exploring Christianity's influence on Rowling's themes of evil, sin and resurrection.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture

6 Comments
Posted November 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. InChristAlone wrote:

Are there Christian themes, of course there are, is it actually a good thing to espouse as Christian, that’s another question.  One of my biggest problems is that as a “Children’s novel” the ‘hero’ Harry is quite un-Christian in many ways which are often hyped as some of his better qualities.  Just to say a couple are that he is often selfish, and that he bucks legitimate authority for his own reasons.  Of course if all we really want is for kids to read, let them read, who cares what their model looks like.

November 27, 7:46 pm | [comment link]
2. Teatime2 wrote:

Hmmm, #1, from your description of Harry, he sounds like a typical Christian, lol. But from having read the books a few times each, I can say that he has FAR more admirable Christian qualities than he does faults. Heroes aren’t perfect; what makes them heroes is that they do wrestle against their faults to do that which is noble and unselfish and to fight against evil.

Only the Savior was sinless and J.K. Rowling does not endeavor to portray Harry as a metaphoric savior of the world. As Dumbledore tells Harry often in the books and a few times in the movies, it’s our choices that define us. And Harry is quick to acknowledge his faults and unworthiness. They are not glorified.

November 27, 9:11 pm | [comment link]
3. nwlayman wrote:

Almost every time an Ivy League university is mentioned I find another reason not to worry about missing that educational experience.  There’s a course that would be a waste of time at a community college, and much less expensive.

November 27, 11:21 pm | [comment link]
4. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Gosh #3, you mean that studying pop culture isn’t education?  I’m shocked! lol

November 28, 10:13 am | [comment link]
5. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Perhaps she has read John Granger, the hogwarts professor, in his publications or at his website: http://www.hogwartsprofessor.com/  ?
I might find and read her text to see if she cites him, as is most justly due.

LOOKING FOR GOD IN HARRY POTTER, 2004, was the first large publication nationally by a Christian publisher.  Mr. Granger’s work precedes that by some years.

November 28, 9:47 pm | [comment link]
6. Larry Morse wrote:

It reassures me that the trivial and irrelevant is still alive and well in Ivy education. L

November 29, 10:09 am | [comment link]
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