2011-03-18

Jesus Potter, Harry Christ

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

I regularly argue on this blog for an appreciation of the literary nature of the leading characters, episodes and narrative structures in the canonical gospels. So I am looking forward to reading and reviewing Derek Murphy’s Jesus Potter, Harry Christ. My initial response to reading the title was that this was a joke of some sort. But I encourage anyone interested in the gospels and Jesus as literature to read the content below and see that it  does seek to be a serious contribution to an understanding of the literary and mythical character of Jesus.

Neither is this a slur against Christianity. The author  rightly explains that the fictional nature of characters does not detract from the positive influence that character can have on those who love them. The author also answers pertinent questions about his rationale for writing such a book, the status, history and grounds of Jesus-mythicism. I will introduce some of this discussion from the author’s perspective in this post.

I particularly like the main idea of this book: Our question then is not whether Jesus Christ existed, but whether the literary character recorded in the New Testament was primarily inspired by a historical figure or previous literary traditions and characters.

Not having yet read the book I can only present here material from the author. It certainly sounds like a different approach to the question of the origins of the Christ-myth, and though some details sound a bit strange I am certainly interested in reading and evaluating the arguments.

This post offers

  1. an overview of the book,
  2. an author’s identity statement,
  3. an interview with the author,
  4. a press release,
  5. FAQs and links to online answers to FAQs about the book,
  6. the book’s concept, how the book came about and a letter from the author,
  7. and a link to several chapters that can be downloaded gratis.


About a dozen other books on the relationship between Jesus and Harry Potter have been published, mostly by Christian authors eager to help smooth the tension between the popularity of Harry and the conservative communities who denounce him. “Jesus Potter Harry Christ,” however, is a game-changing book, which argues that the similarities between Jesus and Harry – rather than making Harry more “holy” – simply make Jesus more obviously fictional. “The real question we need to ask,” the book argues, “is not whether Harry Potter is a ‘Christ Figure’ (similar to a historical religious savior), but rather whether Jesus Christ is a ‘Potter Figure’ (a composition of redemptive mythological symbols and philosophies).”

According to one early reviewer, the book is “Particularly absorbing and highly topical: namely, the idea that nothing substantially separates Jesus of Nazareth from Harry Potter except that most human beings believe in the historical reality of the former. Instead, both figures entertain astonishingly parallel personality traits that derive from universal myths. As part of the continuing debate over the nature of Christ, not only among Christians but between them and today’s wave of atheist thinkers, Jesus Potter, Harry Christ is timely. Linking this analysis, moreover, to J. K. Rowling’s globally popular character further heightens its relevancy.” (Jeff Crouse, Ph.D – Parmenides Publishing)

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Content Overview

The primary aim of this investigation is to increase awareness of the fact that a debate over the reliability of the historical Jesus exists, that the evidence for Jesus is insufficient to prove a historical founder, and that a strong case can be made in favor of a mythological, literary character that was mistakenly assumed to be historical by later Christian converts. To that end, Jesus Potter Harry Christ begins by comparing the similarities between Jesus and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and concludes that the only difference between the two is that Jesus has traditionally been regarded as historical. Rather than launching into dated arguments from Christ-Myth theory, Jesus Potter Harry Christ moves very slowly – establishing the historical basis and controversy surrounding the historical Jesus, analyzing the modern assumptions and pre-established beliefs, and re-examining critical evidence in the debate. Only after exploring and clearing away the history of the controversy, does it move into concrete parallels between Jesus Christ and earlier mythology and literature, which may have been assimilated into the Jesus tradition. Next, the book traces the universal source of many religious myths and symbols to astrology: the fact that Greeks and Romans identified all of the planets as gods, and believed that mythological figures and events were ‘placed in the heavens’ as constellations, gives this premise firm ground. Finally, Jesus Potter, Harry Christ concludes that the figure of Jesus Christ may have been a deliberate attempt to bridge Judaism and pagan thought, whose stories were embedded with historical details until a few believers actually began to think he was a real person.

These claims will be substantiated by a thorough examination of Pagan and Jewish sources, early Christian and Gnostic writings, biblical and apocryphal literature as well as corresponding religious art and sculpture. Moreover, I will demonstrate not only that the time was ripe for a deliberate creation of a Jewish national figure based on Pagan mystery gods, but also explore the astrological roots linking these pagan faiths and modern religious traditions. I will show how central symbolism from ancient spiritual mythologies continue to manifest themselves in popular fiction and literature. Finally, I will explore the exact process of how a pagan mystery cult assumed Jewish trappings and was eventually mistaken for a historical figure; a process that can be outlined entirely based on biblical texts.

Once we recognize that the stories, parables, deeds, words and stories told about Jesus in the gospel reflect older texts, we are faced with the very challenging task of trying to situate a historical founder of Christianity within or behind those tales associated with him. The most common approach, shared by both Christian and secular scholars, is that Jesus was a historical person upon which pagan tales and stories were naturally assimilated. I hope to demonstrate convincingly that this is a very weak position.

At the same time, I recognize that the idea of a historical Jesus Christ is so deeply ingrained in modern times that it is difficult to raise an alternative theory – one in which the savior figure of the gospels may not have been historical. To a large extent, this is due to the consequences of postmodernism and the dissolution of Objective Truth in favor of local narratives. The ‘failure’ of historical criticism, with the realization that each researcher projects their own meaning into the evidence, provides the illusion that any interpretation of history is possible, regardless of the corroborating evidence.

Unfortunately, this loose perception of history as immaterial and essentially meaningless has been applied to Christianity in order to safeguard its very insubstantial history from the voracious criticisms of rationalism. This, however, cannot be maintained, precisely because Christianity is a historical faith. More than any other religion, Christianity’s central tenets of faith are not supernatural, mystical creeds like “God is Love” or even “God Exists”. Christianity’s faith is fixed firmly upon its own historical foundation: that Jesus, the son of God, really and truly died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected.

This book is not meant as an attack on religion, on faith, on belief, or on God. It is simply an attempt to tell, perhaps for the first time ever, the actual history of the Christian Church – a history that is clearly discernible even after a millennium of misdirection and wishful thinking; a history that really happened, in one specific, concrete way, and can be reconstructed based on reliable evidence and testimony.

Incidentally, it should be pointed out that this book is not (unlike contemporary biblical scholars) concerned with trying to find some historical figure who was not named Jesus Christ but something else, and who did not do the things described in the gospels, but may have been somehow tenuously tied into the tradition that later became Christianity. Instead we are looking at the character of Jesus we know – the character fully proclaimed by the Bible, who has so much in common with Harry Potter – and asking whether the deeds and events ascribed to this Jesus really happened, and are thus distinct from other mythical/fictional characters like Harry Potter. Conversely, if it can be shown that the points of similarity are due to Christianity’s inclusion of literary symbolism from older spiritual traditions, then Jesus’ authenticity (and hence his separation from Harry Potter) dissolves. Our question then is not whether Jesus Christ existed, but whether the literary character recorded in the New Testament was primarily inspired by a historical figure or previous literary traditions and characters.

Key Features

Although some of the ideas in this book have been raised before, all of the evidence and arguments are new. Moreover, Jesus Potter, Harry Christ provides answers that no other book on the subject has been able to provide: exactly how this transformation from myth to history occurred, why anyone would want to combine Judaism and pagan mythology, how followers of Jesus could believe so fervently in his existence to become martyrs, and how a movement as powerful and long-lasting as Christianity could have begun around a myth.

The astronomical foundations for most religious symbolism

The history of biblical criticism that led to modern perceptions of Jesus Christ

The early church controversy about whether Jesus came “In the Flesh”

Biblical evidence that Christianity was originally an initiation cult

Why the martyrs were willing to die for Jesus Christ

Figures from mythology that prefigured Christian motifs and symbols

Pagan rituals, beliefs and customs that became entwined with Christian practice

Exactly how Jesus developed from a literary construct into a historical figure

Chapter Outline

This book has 10 chapters. The introduction focuses on the background research, motivations and objectives of this study. The conceptual outline is presented, providing the groundwork and information that will be covered in later chapters.

Chapter One: Sacrificial Half Breed Warlocks – Harry Potter as Christ Figure. Harry Potter and Jesus Christ are arguably the most famous icons of contemporary civilization. Their stories have been translated into dozens of languages and they each have found international support in many diverse cultures and communities. At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling’s young magician and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with one another – and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures argues otherwise. Just what is it about Harry Potter that Christians find so threatening? Moreover, how do Christians respond to the claim that Harry Potter and Jesus Christ actually share far more in common than is generally recognized?

Chapter Two: Doubting Jesus – Ancient and Modern Controversy. In order to explore the relationship between Jesus and Harry, it is crucial to identify whether the gospel stories of Jesus that appear similar to Rowling’s series are completely historical, or in part mythological. The claim that Jesus was mythological continues to be controversial and the debate is clouded by the pre-existing social assumptions surrounding the evidence for the historical Jesus. This chapter will explore the early church controversy challenging that Jesus appeared “in the flesh” and thoroughly trace the “three quests” for the historical Jesus.

Chapter Three: Where’s the Proof – An Overview of the Evidence and Arguments. Chapter Three investigates the reliability of the evidence used in defense of the historical figure of Jesus Christ. How much of the Jesus Christ of the gospels is a literary fiction – either created by Jewish scribes or adopted from pagan sources? How much of the text records historical testimony of the life and times of Jesus Christ, the man? Can archaeology or other sources prove the veracity of some parts of biblical narrative? Is there any historical evidence, either from within the Christian communities or without, that can support the idea of a historical Jesus? This chapter will seek to answer some of these questions.

Chapter Four: Going Pagan – The Forgotten Prefigures of Christ. After moving past the preconceptions about the historical Jesus, Chapter three will outline the ‘argument from similarity’, give descriptions of the major deities that have been compared to Jesus Christ, list Christian responses to the argument, and counter with ancient testimonies. Special attention will be paid to the timeline so that priority can be established. It will be proven that, contrary to general opinion, during this period there was a strong movement towards the synthesis and translation of religious expression, which even many Jews took part in.

Chapter Five: Jesus, the Lion King – Astrological Foundations and the Journey of the Sun God. Next we explore the astrological origins of the spiritual symbols that were preserved into pagan mythology and can be found also in Christian practice. It is demonstrated that astronomy has always been at the heart and root of religious experience, and that gods, heroes and mythical figures were blatantly and openly associated with constellations and planets in the classical world – so much so that our current names for those planets and constellations come from classical mythology. “Ascended into the heavens” meant, for most Greeks and Romans, that a hero had been transformed into a constellation after death. In Chapter Five, the claim is made that many of the biographical details of Jesus Christ actually come from various sun cult traditions, and that this was recognized by early Christians themselves. Moreover, many of our modern myths (Narnia, the Lion King, Peter Pan) preserve symbols from the same sun myth.

Chapter Six: Meeting Satan Again for the First Time – Draco and Creation Mythologies. Chapter Six will reconstruct a universal creation story, centering on the constellation Draco and its role in the development of afterlife theologies; it details the division of one singular divinity into individuals’ souls and, as such allows for the notion that souls may be reunited with divinity after death. (The link between the constellation Draco and spiritual symbols such as the yin-yang is completely unrecognized by scholars – but the connection can be established firmly.) This cosmology is found in 6th century BC Orphism and several other ancient sources; it is the Babylonian version of this creation myth which was persevered pretty much intact in the biblical story of the garden. Traces of this esoteric philosophy can even be found in very ancient Egyptian texts, and in the centuries just before the rise of Christianity, the belief was widespread and common to every spiritual school.

Chapter Seven: Jesus the Handsome Prince – Uniting with the Higher Self. Next, the various methods of ‘reunification’ or salvation are explored, strikingly similar in both Eastern and Western religions, and it is demonstrated that, although the interpretation of Christianity has evolved, the identical symbolism and language used place Christianity firmly within this universal spiritual tradition. This complex spiritual concept of salvation was taught using folklore and mythology; each culture adopted and updated the myth to make it accessible to its own community. It is preserved in many Greek myths, and also in modern re-tellings such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

Chapter Eight: Abracadabra – The Magical Name and the Creation of the Jewish Mysteries. The purpose of this chapter will be to demonstrate that Christianity was originally a mystery religion; that it had different layers of meaning, and that only the higher level initiates were given the full understanding of their faith. This understanding of early Christianity will be crucial in explaining the communicative decay which finally led to the uniquely Christian revolution of viewing the divine logos as a historical person. After exploring the spiritual traditions of the mysteries, we can more easily identify Christianity as a mystery religion itself with various stages of initiation. This claim is supported with ancient testimonies and biblical quotes. It is hypothesized that the Jesus story was a Jewish construction based on a common and popular mythology designed to give Jews access into the robust cosmopolitan spirituality of the Greco-Roman world.

Chapter Nine: ‘Stupid Galatians’ – The Resurrection of the Flesh. In this chapter, I will demonstrate that a select group of Christians who had not been initiated in the higher mysteries began to develop independent theology around the stories of Jesus, believing him to be a historical figure. We will analyze the biblical writings of the Apostle Paul, whose letters preserve the exact state of communicative decay that lead to the literalist misinterpretation of the Jesus myth, and the revolution that his communities fostered against him when he tried to reveal the higher mysteries. Using biblical evidence, we will witness how new converts and initiates began to preach a historical, newly crucified and resurrected Jewish savior – without having heard the full message of revelation. Finally, we will see how these communities, who believed in a historical Jesus, developed a doctrine of ‘resurrection of the flesh’ in defense of their beliefs which set them firmly against the spirituality of their times.

Chapter Ten: From Mystery to History – Conflict and Martyrdom. Christianity’s unique claims – the Logos as a real, historical person and the resurrection of his followers in the flesh – were almost universally mocked by their contemporaries. The fact that this new mystery cult grew from hated and persecuted to the official religion of the Roman Empire in just a few centuries seems miraculous. In order to dispel the notion that the rise of Christianity can only be explained as divine providence, we need to identify the inherent features, as well as the external conditions, which forged the foundations of Christianity as a universal movement. In this chapter I will identify the main features that secured Christianity’s historical victory.

The book will end with a conclusion, summary and further reflections.

Who is the author Derek Murphy?

Derek Murphy is a writer and artist from Portland, Oregon, whose interest in Christian history began as a theology student on the Mediterranean island of Malta. His passion for religious history and existential realization has led him to the ancient megaliths of Europe, the pyramids of Egypt, the glaciers of the southern tip of Argentina, the catacombs of Rome, and the ruins Jordan, Cambodia and Thailand. He’s now in Taiwan finishing his PhD in Comparative Literature and working on his second book.

Interview with Author Derek Murphy

Transcription of Radio Interview

Q: I’m here with Derek Murphy, author of Jesus Potter Harry Christ. Derek, briefly can you tell us what your book is about?

Well, mainly I’m trying to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is, like Harry a literary figure.

Q: You mean, not historical. So you think Jesus was purely mythical.

In a sense, yes – but I don’t mean myth as in “made up” or “lie”; the literature of Jesus Christ is very robust, full of powerful spiritual and astrological symbolism. People sometimes assume that if I think Jesus was mythical, it means I think he was worthless. That’s not true at all; in the same sense, nobody would argue that Harry Potter is worthless just because he’s a fictional character. People love Harry Potter – he’s had a profound, meaningful and inspiring affect on people’s lives. Literature can be very edifying and should be praised as such.

Q: But why use Harry Potter at all, what’s the connection between Jesus and Harry?

There are many precise similarities between Jesus Christ and Harry Potter – no really, I’m not just making them up or reading into the text. After the Deathly Hallows came out, not only J.K. Rowling but several religious experts and even priests began calling attention to the similarities between them.

Q: But I always thought Christians hated Harry Potter.

Not all of them do – but there has been, and continues to be a raging controversy over the series. Fundamentalists accuse Harry Potter of introducing Satanism and Witchcraft to children; there have even been book burnings. But at the same time, even before book 7 some readers were viewing Harry as a Christ-figure and guessed that he would die some kind of sacrificial death – which he does. But at the end of the series, he not only “dies” but comes back to life to vanquish Voldemort. Anyway, there’s a lot of shared symbolism between them. Not just the rising from the dead thing but lots of other symbols. The main point I’m making in my book is, if Harry Potter is obviously fictional and Jesus has so much in common with him, how do we separate Jesus from Harry? Why is Jesus considered to be historical, even his miraculous, supernatural feats, while Harry isn’t. This is the platform I start from.

Q: But hasn’t the idea that Jesus was mythical been put to rest? I mean doesn’t everyone agree that Jesus was historical?

Yes – they do. That’s part of the problem. Everybody agrees that Jesus was historical – but the historical figure at the center of Christian history, at least the one biblical scholars are looking for, has almost nothing to do with the figure of Christian worship. There is a very serious, fundamental incongruity between them that is completely ignored. And it’s not true that the theory has been “debunked” or disproved. Actually the theory that Jesus was mythical makes as much sense today as it ever did, and there’s just as much evidence to support it. The truth is it has just gone out of favor. For about a century academics everywhere universally proclaimed Christ a myth, and critical investigation into the historical Jesus was considered a complete failure. And in the last several decades, that’s all been forgotten – it’s in vogue right now to continue affirming a historical Jesus; maybe because biblical scholars are almost universally Christians these days, and anybody who didn’t believe in Jesus probably would be studying mythology or literature or history, rather than “Bible Studies”.

Q: So the reason you wrote the book is…

It’s frustrating to be told I have no case, no argument, that my research is outdated, that my claim is impossible, when all the evidence I come across keeps undermining, again and again, the historical Jesus. And it’s fascinating to me, really incredible, that this enormous wealth of relevant and exciting information is just unknown; that people have these really strong beliefs and opinions about Jesus Christ and they don’t know any of this information. I guess I just wanted to try- I’ve always been trying – to produce a logical, coherent, fully referenced and supported argument for the literary Jesus that is conclusive; that answers all the holes. Recently someone blogged in response to my book that everything important said about comparative literature has already been said by Joseph Campbell. That’s an incredible claim – it demonstrates the widespread belief that comparative literature or mythology studies is dead or outdated; despite the fact that we continue generating modern myths for ourselves based on classical examples. Not only did Campbell and other mythicists miss some very important issues (like the astrological symbolism in mythology), but to argue that their 50-year old concepts will be enough to cover the entire future of comparative mythology and literature is staggeringly imbecilic.

Q: Let’s talk about your background for a minute – how did you get into all of this?

Well I went to Malta after high school – Malta’s that little island under Sicily – to study art history and classical languages, but then I switched to a dual major in philosophy and theology. My mind was kind of blown the first couple years; everybody was teaching me completely different things about religion, faith, God, and Jesus. I started doing my own research, I even attended some prayer groups that were intended to bolster my faith, but I had these questions that nobody knew the answer to. And I had some very smart Christian friends who tried to support me but, well I guess I didn’t believe in the kind of God that wouldn’t be able to answer these questions. And these weren’t big, mysterious questions like “what’s the purpose of life”, these were specific, practical problems with Christianity. Why were the Europeans saved, and the Americans, and everybody else wasn’t? Why didn’t God send Jesus to Africa or Asia? That’s a huge, huge problem that cannot be resolved for Christianity. I still can’t get over it. Anyway, I moved to Taiwan and did my MA in Literature, my thesis was on Biblical Symbolism in the Harry Potter series. By this time I had a pretty clear plan of the book I wanted to write, and now I’m working on my PhD.

Q: Do you think studying literature gives you perspective in this field?

Well, in a sense it does; at least I can approach it a little differently and not produce just another one of the those “Jesus was a Myth” books. But research is tough; supporting everything you say and every claim you make is exhausting, and it’s difficult to be both a good writer and a good researcher. And organizing the material so that it flows and makes sense; it’s a huge challenge. But I’m definitely better at it than I was when I started, so I think I’ll get away from people claiming that I’m just an amateur or outsider.

Q: And you’re planning to write another book – but the title is really provocative ‘ Satan is my Hero’, right? What’s that about?

Well, ok the title is mostly for shock value. I’m not really a Satanist – well maybe I am in a sense. To me, Satanism is the same as humanism. Jesus-ism would be thinking about the afterlife, accepting suffering, turning the other cheek; and those are great, spiritual values. But I like this life, I think it’s fine to want to preserve my life, my freedom, my health and happiness, to defend myself against violence, manipulation or injustice. And that’s what Satan represents to me. So I start from Prometheus and relate him to Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, then Ahab in Moby Dick, the Romantic poets, and the American Revolution and modern super-heroes. It’s really an investigation into the politics and ethics of rebellion or revolution; I’m excited about it, I think it’s going to be brilliant.

Q: Ok, well we’re out of time – anything else you want to mention?

Mostly I hope people will read my book before they criticize it or dismiss it. Because I do think my argument is strong and I think everybody will be able to learn some truly astounding things that they didn’t know before, and even if they can’t accept my conclusions I think they’ll be impressed with the project as a whole, and especially with the cultural significance of the debate and relationship between Jesus and Harry.

Press Release

Press Release, Holy Blasphemy, 2010

The Fictional Jesus? Controversial New Book Compares Jesus Christ to Harry Potter and Claims Both are Literary Figures

Summary: Is Jesus Christ a Harry Potter figure? New book “Jesus Potter, Harry Christ” traces the religious controversy over the Harry Potter series, examines the Christian responses to J.K. Rowling’s character, and then explores the potential similarities themselves. It concludes by arguing the key variance between the two is that Harry Potter is obviously a fictional character, while Jesus Christ is almost universally accepted as a historical figure.

January 10, 2010 — At the beginning of J.K. Rowling’s internationally popular phenomenon, Harry Potter was first viewed with suspect, and then damned outright by religious conservatives claiming that Rowling’s stories encouraged children to embrace witchcraft. The fallout from this controversy has included law suits, worker strikes, book burnings, and several campaigns to educate Christian families against the evils of Harry Potter. The “boy who lived” became Jesus’ arch-nemesis: the icon or rallying point behind which infuriated Christians could gain support (and a much needed platform) against a society embracing vampires as boyfriends, witches as heroes, and monsters as merely misunderstood. None of this slowed the success of Harry Potter, whose books, and then the movie franchise produced by Warner Bros, have been both an unchallengeable model for marketing strategy and economic success, and also an integral part of the lives of millions of fans who have watched Harry grow up – and grown up with him.

As we reach the end of this journey, the final coming of Harry Potter is being treated as Messianic; blogs are calling the release of the first installment of Harry Potter 7 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I) “A historic event”. However, the tension between Jesus and Harry has not been forgotten. A few extremist groups continue to burn books or protest movie openings or mount the pulpit in frothy defense of Christianity against the madness of modern culture’s obsession with wizardry; but at the same time, the general Christian stance towards Harry Potter has taken a profound shift after the publication of the final book, in which Harry dies a sacrificial death, is tortured using the Cruciatus curse, and has an afterlife experience of sorts at “King’s Cross”. Potter then comes back to life and triumphs over his evil adversary, Voldemort. These motifs have guided many Christians to ask whether Rowling consciously crafted the Harry Potter story after the Passion of Jesus Christ. Is Harry Potter a Christ-Figure?

In fact this question had been asked by sharp-minded readers since the early days of Potterdom. Many bloggers correctly guessed that the details of Harry Potter’s life would mirror at least the sacrificial death of Jesus. In 2002 Beliefnet.com hosted an online debate between several scholars who had published books on the subject, called “Harry Potter, Christ Figure”?

Now that the 7th book has been released, these early musings have been justified; especially in light of several comments by Rowling herself to the effect that she knowingly copied parts of her story around the biblical story of Jesus Christ. Suddenly preachers are making headlines, not for burning Harry Potter, but for championing him. Harry Potter is claimed to be a Christian story, which parallels the story of Jesus Christ and thus can help open a dialogue between Christians and the broader public.

And yet according to the new book “Jesus Potter Harry Christ” the most fascinating question has so far been ignored: Why do these similarities exist at all? Although it is easy to accept that Rowling crafted the literary character of Harry Potter after the figure of Jesus, shouldn’t it pique our interest that Jesus – a monumental figure in modern world religion generally believed to have been historical – has so much in common with the obviously fictional fantasy world and character of Harry Potter?

“Jesus Potter, Harry Christ,” traces the religious controversy over the Harry Potter series, examines the Christian responses to J.K. Rowling’s character, and then explores the potential similarities themselves. It concludes by arguing the key variance between the two is that Harry Potter is obviously a fictional character, while Jesus Christ is almost universally accepted as a historical figure.

According to the publisher, the book is “not mainly about Harry Potter but about religious history, astrological mythology, esoteric symbolism, and the literary tradition of Jesus Christ. The title of this book merely refers to the central claim of this book, which is that Jesus Christ and Harry Potter have a lot in common; most exceptionally, the fact that they are both literary constructions, or in other words, fictional characters.”

Author Derek Murphy, who studied theology on the Mediterranean island of Malta and is now in Asia getting a PhD in Comparative Literature, says, “I’ve always been a huge Potter fan; I actually did my MA thesis on the mythical influences in both Harry Potter and biblical literature. What is fascinating, especially in light of the controversy surrounding the Harry Potter books (that Harry Potter promotes witchcraft and Satanism among children, etc.), is that these similarities mostly come from pre-Christian sources. People sometimes assume that by making the claim that Jesus was mythical it means I think he was worthless. That’s not true at all; in the same sense, nobody would argue that Harry Potter is worthless just because he’s a fictional character. People love Harry Potter – he’s had a profound, meaningful and inspiring affect on people’s lives. Literature can be very edifying and should be praised as such. The literature of Jesus Christ is very robust, full of powerful spiritual and astrological symbolism; which can be appreciated on many levels. The same, however, cannot be said of the “history” of Jesus Christ, which is an outdated concept that may need to be relinquished.”

About a dozen other books on the relationship between Jesus and Harry Potter have been published, mostly by Christian authors eager to help smooth the tension between the popularity of Harry and the conservative communities who denounce him. “Jesus Potter Harry Christ,” however, is a game-changing book, which argues that the similarities between Jesus and Harry – rather than making Harry more “holy” – simply make Jesus more obviously fictional. “The real question we need to ask,” the book argues, “is not whether Harry Potter is a ‘Christ Figure’ (similar to a historical religious savior), but rather whether Jesus Christ is a ‘Potter Figure’ (a composition of redemptive mythological symbols and philosophies).”

According to one early reviewer, the book is “Particularly absorbing and highly topical: namely, the idea that nothing substantially separates Jesus of Nazareth from Harry Potter except that most human beings believe in the historical reality of the former. Instead, both figures entertain astonishingly parallel personality traits that derive from universal myths. As part of the continuing debate over the nature of Christ, not only among Christians but between them and today’s wave of atheist thinkers, Jesus Potter, Harry Christ is timely. Linking this analysis, moreover, to J. K. Rowling’s globally popular character further heightens its relevancy.” (Jeff Crouse, Ph.D – Parmenides Publishing)

For more information, visit jesuspotterharrychrist[DOT]com — but the site has been hacked now, 11th Feb, 2013 — Neil

The book will be launched in January, 2011.

Jesus Potter, Harry Christ: 484 pages

Publishers: Holy Blasphemy

ISBN-13: 978-0615430935 (Custom Universal)

ISBN-10: 0615430937

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Frequently Asked Questions

Go to the FAQ page to find answers to:

1. Don’t you believe in God? How can people be good without God?

2. Aren’t you being intolerant? Isn’t it everybody’s right to worship as they see fit?

3. “Christ-Myth theory” has been disproven/debunked a long time ago, don’t you know that?

4. What’s the point of this book? Who cares about the historical Jesus anyway?

5. The evidence for the historical Jesus is inconclusive, why bother looking?

6. What’s Harry Potter got to do with all this?

7. There is a lot of evidence that Jesus was real. Everybody agrees that he was real.

8. If Jesus wasn’t real, how do you explain martyrs/the church?

9. Why does this book deal with astrology/paganism/mysticism?

10. You’re not a religious expert or biblical scholar – what gives you the right to say these things?

Other Links

The Concept of the Book

Background to the Book

How the book came about

Letter from the author

And of course the Jesus Potter, Harry Christ webpage where you can find a link to some free chapters to download.

I look forward to reading it and coming back with my thoughts in a review.

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  • Bob Carlson
    2011-03-18 15:04:13 UTC - 15:04 | Permalink

    Very interesting. The several short reviews that have appeared on Amazon.com are very favorable.

  • 2011-03-18 17:15:48 UTC - 17:15 | Permalink

    While McDuff’s friends may have ignored Earl Doherty looks like they are going to have some explaining to do as books like this become more and more popular. It’s only a matter of time before people start asking questions. Now that the Church can no longer kill people for asking questions I would expect questions like these will only become more and more of interest to people.

    Cheers! RichGriese.NET

  • 2011-03-18 18:05:02 UTC - 18:05 | Permalink

    Our question then is not whether Jesus Christ existed, but whether the literary character recorded in the New Testament was primarily inspired by a historical figure or previous literary traditions and characters.

    Thomas L. Thompson answered Yes in The Messiah Myth

    • 2011-12-07 12:05:14 UTC - 12:05 | Permalink

      Present historical methods and knowledge views Jesus Christ to be a mythical figure – the literary chaacter recorded in the New Testament – one not primarily inspired by a historical figure – rather inspired by previous traditions and characters.

      • 2011-12-07 16:36:58 UTC - 16:36 | Permalink

        There’s no doubt (except among “fundamentalist” believers and uninformed readers) that the Christ of faith, the Jesus in the Gospels, is a myth. The question to ask is what is the best explanation for that myth. HJ scholars begin with the assumption that there is only one answer to that question, effectively bypassing the question.

        • 2011-12-08 08:07:28 UTC - 08:07 | Permalink

          The best explanation for the myth is the best historical explanation:

          Post Easter Jesus traditions did not begin with Christianity. For the period 30-65 CE there were two dominations. The first, the Jerusalem Jesus Movement initally led by the key disciples Peter, James and John, developing collections of sayings. Soon followed by a group of Hellenist Jews. Talk of Jesus rising from the dead resonated with their traditions of dying and rising heroes or gods thgether with Jewish animal sacrificeal system, to suggest the idea that Jesus death was a sacrifice for mankind’s sins which abrogated the Torah. For temple authorities this sas treason. The Acts story of the stoning of Stephen seem to document an insurrection put down by temple authorities. Paul is named as a participant holding the garments of those casting the stones driving the group out of Palestine. They fled to Damascuc. It was this roup that Paul as persecutor was on the road to Damascus when he had his “vision” experience. It was from this group that Paul received his Christ myth gospel, which he proclaimed to the Gentiles with great success, to sever Jesus from his Jewish roots as well as from his message. Thus began Christianity with its Chrit myth. As winners in the struggle for dominance, very soon, they could name the Jesus Movement heresy to effectively remove it from the pages of history.

          I am but rewriting the reconstruction contained in the Hoffmann Letter which can be accessed at Neil Godfrey’s 23rd comment to Demystifying R. Joseph Hoffmann. Check it for further details.

          • 2011-12-08 13:02:17 UTC - 13:02 | Permalink

            The first, the Jerusalem Jesus Movement initally led by the key disciples Peter, James and John, developing collections of sayings.

            Evidence?

            Soon followed by a group of Hellenist Jews. Talk of Jesus rising from the dead resonated with their traditions of dying and rising heroes or gods thgether with Jewish animal sacrificeal system, to suggest the idea that Jesus death was a sacrifice for mankind’s sins which abrogated the Torah.

            Evidence? Further, what is meant exactly here by a “Hellenist Jew”?

            For temple authorities this sas treason.

            Why would they think of this as “treason”? They appear to have had no issue with some of their fellows believing something very similar about Isaac or the blood of the Maccabean martyrs.

            The Acts story of the stoning of Stephen seem to document an insurrection put down by temple authorities.

            Evidence? It’s just a story that does not cohere with what we know of the relationships among Jewish factions of the day, does not even cohere with what we read later in the Book of Acts, and looks suspiciously like a re-write of the martyrdom of Jesus.

            It was this roup that Paul as persecutor was on the road to Damascus when he had his “vision” experience.

            It’s just a story. Gods don’t really jump out of the sky and blind their targets and terrorize onlookers. Paul knows nothing of it in his letters. The story is a re-write of the conversion of Heliodorus in 2 Maccabees.

            It was from this group that Paul received his Christ myth gospel

            Not according to Paul — unless he was lying. But then there would have been plenty of witnesses to call him out for lying and we have no record of any such tension among the ranks. And “Luke’s” account is clearly a propagandist piece to subordinate Paul to the chain of authority that started at Jerusalem.

            As winners in the struggle for dominance, very soon, they could name the Jesus Movement heresy to effectively remove it from the pages of history.

            Then whence came the gospels?

  • TruthOverfaith
    2011-03-20 19:13:47 UTC - 19:13 | Permalink

    Sounds very intriguing. Looking forward to Neils review.

  • Bob Carlson
    2011-03-28 04:20:18 UTC - 04:20 | Permalink

    My wife wanted an Amazon Kindle, so I bought one, and the first thing I put on it was this book. The Kindle version is $2.99, which, alas, is now less than the price of one gallon of gasoline. Neither having read any Harry Potter books, nor having seen any of the movies, I found chapter 1 very interesting, although it would have been interesting if I had read the books, although I suppose for somewhat different reasons.

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