There is no denying that J.K. Rowling’s fantasy children’s series Harry Potter is a global phenomenon. The movies and books broke financial and translation records. The tales have encouraged people of all ages to read and use their imagination. As fantastical as the wizarding world is, the heroes are very human in how they struggle with their emotions and doing what is right. However, it isn’t just the very real people involved with the triumphs and tragedies which make the series so potent. J.K. Rowling tapped into deep human mythology and stories that have been retold throughout history. Stories of courage, friendship, and redemption.
IMAGE: Photo of the book Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek Murphy. Image of Harry Potter with Jesus Christ style beard and long hair wearing Catholic style robes and shining crown. He carries a glitter star wand.
For staunch Christians, I’m sure the cover art alone of Harry Potter with long hair wearing glasses, Catholic style robes , and lightening scar under a glorious crown, is controversial. The art sets up expectations of tongue in cheek rhetoric and argumentative prose scuffing at Christianity. Murphy’s style is quite the opposite and very intellectually respectful.
Derek Murphy points out, and sites sources quoting Rowling, that the story of Harry Potter was influenced by the story of Christ. Throughout the book he shows that the two popular figures have a lot in common including that they are both literary constructions. Murphy presents an in depth look at the religious history, astrological mythology, and esoteric symbolism from Egypt, Europe and the Middle Eastern which influenced the creation of the Christ mythos.
Jesus Potter Harry Christ is a culmination of the author’s decade of religious exploration and studies from Malta to Egypt and South America. Murphy is an ex-seminary student from Portland, Oregon. He is the recipient of a government grant to study comparative religion and he is currently working on his PhD. Murphy has an easy going writing style that takes the reader easily step by step through the historical evidence and ancient myths. For those who are all ready well versed in religion and mythology, such as Pagan Recons or other religion scholars, chapter four “Going Pagan: The Forgotten Prefigures of Christ”, may feel redundant. However, the well documented arguments among early Christians about Christ’s divine nature and even actual existence is fascinating. The most revealing section of the book is Murphy’s presentation of the early Church as a mystery religion with only initiates receiving divine knowledge much like the cults of Orpheus or Pythagoras.
In his conclusion Murphy writes, “Moreover, just because something is a myth does not make it meaningless – in fact myths can be much more powerful than historical reality.” That is true for every religion.
Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek Murphy
Paperback: 490 pages
Publisher: Holy Blasphemy (February 5, 2011)
FIRST PLACE WINNER: Best Religious Non-Fiction, 2011 —Next Generation Indie Book Awards