Book Jacket


rank 5940
word count 45510
date submitted 31.03.2011
date updated 31.03.2011
genres: Non-fiction, History, Popular Cultu...
classification: universal

Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Fascinating Parallels Between Two of the World's Most Popular Literary Characters

Derek Murphy

Jesus Potter Harry Christ uses the modern day hero Harry Potter to re-examine the controversy over the historical Jesus, and concludes that both are literary.


At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling's boy wizard and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with each other - and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures suggests otherwise. Harry has been banned, burned, and abused by religious fundamentalists for over a decade. However, at the release of Rowling's final book (Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows) many readers were surprised to discover parallels between Jesus and Harry that, in such apparently diverse world-views, had no right to be there. As a result, recent years have witnessed a revolution in Christian responses to Harry, with many groups, writers and religious leaders praising Rowling's young sorcerer as ultimately Christian and a clear metaphor for Jesus Christ. But where do these apparent similarities come from? Critics argue that Harry Potter is only borrowing from universal mythological symbols, but if this is true, can Jesus be accused of the same? Could the similarities between Harry Potter and Jesus Christ have resulted from Christianity's inclusion of mythological motifs, rather than Harry Potter's inclusion of biblical ones?

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christianity, church history, comparative religion, gnosticism, historical non-fiction, mythology, paganism, popular culture, spirituality

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briantodd wrote 1200 days ago

Your title and pitch caught my eye and I enjoyed this. I know much more about Harry now than I did. Could never get into the books myself and have generally fallen asleep as my children have watched the films again and again and again. My twopence worth on the fascinating debate you have created here is that the story of Jesus and Harry's both have something for everyone. They have Christopher Booker's 'seven basic plots.' 'Overcoming the monster', 'rags to riches','the quest', 'voyage and return', 'tragedy' and 'rebirth'. Struggling with 'comedy' in the story of Jesus but I guess there was some. We keep repeating these plots in all the stories we write. Every contribution on Authonomy has one or more (usually) of these. Harry and Jesus had them all. That's why they seem so similar. I guess a similar theory could be developed around many more of the great characters of literature and film.

Bandof1 wrote 1206 days ago

This is a really tangled web, and a very large mountain to climb. I only hope that nobody takes life or reading too seriously. That goes for everything in life. Life is a mystery to us all no matter how sure we are of our beliefs. You have presented a clear picture of the entanglement of Harry and Jesus. Jesus as a credible historical person is at the core and is the essence of your book. All very thought provoking. Let me know what you think of "Just Out of Sight". I hope to be on your bookshelf soon.
Best wishes,
Craig (Bandof1)

DerekMurphy wrote 1208 days ago

Yes Laura - the Harry Potter/Luke Skywalker link is interesting too - I didn't get into it in this book, maybe another time. :) All the best literature sticks with common themes and literary structures; which makes you wonder, is the story of Jesus the only historical event that accidental fit those literary themes? Or was it written as literature?

caughtintheact wrote 1208 days ago

Love the title, Derek, I may have to use that as a new curseword :) Throughout human history, our mythology has contained Christlike figures with a certain group of characteristics, Jesus and Harry Potter are two of them. I found it very interesting that you compared how these two stack up. I've read a number of similar correlations, including one involving Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter, that particular story that Rowling used is a part of humanity's story. Kudo's.

Laura Adams

DerekMurphy wrote 1208 days ago

Thanks for your comments, Neville and Jon. Evidence That Demands a Verdict sounds a little like "The Case for Christ". I think when you look only within the field of "historical Jesus research" and the evidence for the historical Jesus, it does seem like he existed. That's why I turn outside of the traditional evidence and go back to mystery cults, pagan religions, mythology and astrological symbolism. I was only able to upload a couple of chapters; the full book is 10 chapters and the stronger evidence I save until the end. You're right I could've mentioned the other religions that don't like Harry Potter - but this isn't exactly an investigation on the religious controversy over Harry Potter - it's an analysis and quest for the literary Jesus (where the literature of Christ came from). And interestingly, Rowling has admitted publicly that her Christian upbringing influenced her in writing Harry Potter, and that she was aware of it. At the same time she's pulling a great wealth of material from older traditions. Thanks for taking the time to read some of it and share your thoughts!

Jon Chain wrote 1208 days ago

So here’s the critique: I like the premise of your book. You seem to have a lot of great ideas and the courage to write about them. I see no (glaring) technical or grammatical errors in your writing at all.
However, that said, (put your steel toes boots on- I mean no harm and come in peace- take it all with a grain of salt, etc. etc.) I think you need to do more research in order to present an unbiased paper.
When reading things like this we tend to cue in fast on someone’s bias. If we sense a bias, the reader automatically stops listening to the author as a reliable source. That goes for journalism and for research pieces such as this.
Also, even in a non-fiction piece your narrative has to have a unique and distinct voice that differentiates it from the sources and quotes he uses. If it doesn’t it all seems to blur together and become one giant quote with no real authorship.
Below are just a few of the reasons I came to this conclusion. Stop reading now if you’re not interested in reasons. ;)
Christian’s do not believe that reading Harry Potter books is a sin. That’s kind of funny to think that they do. There is no commandment or allusion to this in the Bible.
However, Paul does say "everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. “
So, Christians struggle more with THAT question, rather than “is it sin?”
That is why watching movies with explicit sex scenes, gratuitous blood and violence, horror etc. is avoided. Not because it’s sin to do so; but because it’s not necessarily healthy.
Like, if you make grandma’s original recipe, totally awesome, chocolate fudge brownies and put it little poop in it.
We think, I can watch this or read that…. There’s only a little bit of poop in it ( only a few cuss words- murder, sex scenes, whatever). It’s not that bad! Don’t get all legalistic on me! The storyline is great and it has an awesome and inspiring ending……Well then…you just go ahead and eat those brownies! Lol! :)
Then again that would depend on the person I suppose. Since we have this freedom in Christ maybe there are some that have no problem with it. Why? Because adults can usually draw and comprehend that line between fact and fiction. Children can’t. The danger comes when a reader loses sight of that line between fiction and real life.
I have found nothing in the Bible that forbids us to read about magic, only verses that forbid its practice. Any time a young person is tempted to experiment to see if Harry Potter’s magic is real in real life and starts studying it to be able to do it for himself that is when that line is crossed.
Another aspect of your research may be to study how children’s brains decode fact from fiction. That sounds interesting. :)
For example, I work with Kindergartners and First grade. Last year I had a student that everyone thought was ADHD or OD. Not me. I’m ADHD and I didn’t sense that from him. (That’s another story- kinda’ goes along with the old saying “takes one to know one..” : )
The kid started viciously attacking walls and furniture fighting these monsters that only he can see. His eyes would be as wide as golf balls and his pupils just little pinpoints. Freaky! He kept threatening the other kids in the class that he was going to chop them up into little slivers and eat them! This kind of behavior and mental performance kept escalating at a frightening rate. All this from a five year old!
Anyway, come to find out that his parents would sit him in front of the TV everyday and let him watch whatever he wanted. He finds the movie CHUCKIE. Watches it a couple of times. Loves it! As the weeks and months progress-the only movie he ever watched or wanted to watch was CHUCKIE.
Okay, so? Right? Well they also never put him to bed. He would stay up until two or three in the morning and then just fall asleep in front of the TV.
SO- what was happening? According to the psychologist that they sent him to- he was being brainwashed. Sleep deprivation and watching for 6-7 hours straight the same movie over and over, that’s what was happening. Great torture/ brainwash technique these clueless parents performed.
When he started having a more scheduled life and restricted screen time and choices ( age appropriate) we started noticing huge changes. The kid is still not perfect. He’s just a kid. He still has along way to go. But he plays outside more. Reads books more. Doesn’t fight monsters only he can see anymore. And doesn’t threaten to torture and cannibalize his fellow students. :)
Also, speaking of further research, there are a number of religions other than “fundamental” Christian denominations that don’t like Harry Potter. I was surprised that this wasn’t given attention. It would show a well rounded objective research pattern.
For example, “A number of Islamic scholars have argued that the books' magical themes conflict with Islamic teachings.[58][59] A series of "online fatwās" have been logged by imams against Harry Potter, decrying it as un-Islamic.[60]”
Another thing is, you likened the crucifixion to what happened to Harry Potter in that last book. The problem is, the difference between Harry Potter and the torture of Christ is that Christ’s torture was viewed as sin. In Harry Potter, both sides use torture and murder. No problem. Kind of, like that whole dilemma of doing evil for the greater good to happen. That whole ethic of “a wrong means to an end, isn’t right.”
There was also factual misrepresentation or error in our research. For example, in your book you say that according to the Bible Jesus’ ministry lasted only a year. That is incorrect.
His ministry in the Bible is 3 years long based on dating and events that are recorded by secular historians. His public ministry began at age 30 and ended at age 33.
I think you would enjoy a book called ‘Evidence That Demands a Verdict”, written by Josh McDowell. It might help in some of your research.
As a young man, Josh McDowell considered himself an agnostic. He truly believed that Christianity was worthless.
The research and premise of his book BEGAN as a way to prove the stupidity and worthlessness of Christianity. He initially intended to pursue legal studies culminating in a political career.
According to McDowell, he decided to prepare a paper that would examine the historical evidence of the Christian faith in order to disprove it So using the legal/ historical method of research and proofs he set about to disprove the Bible, the lie of the Resurrection and Crucifixion, etc. It’s quite interesting.
Whew! I’m done. I know! FINALLY, right? :)
I enjoy the fact that your book made me think. Keep writing and keep working on it.
Jon Elliott Chain

Neville wrote 1208 days ago

Hi Derek,
The book that you have written, does give some rise to extra thoughts as to the comparison between Harry Potter and biblical references.
I personally don’t see it that way though. The success of the book has brought this into being...sad.
A young J.K.Rowlings with a child, trying to keep warm in a Cafe and living off benefits.
The connection would be far from her mind as she put pen to paper.
Maybe in later books after the monetary problems were put behind her, there could be a subconscious element added to the fantasy... more time to write with no pressure.
This is just how I see it...I may be wrong. It just seems to be a co-incidence that the books turned out that way.
I wish you well with your book. Your marketing efforts are to be commended.

Kind regards,


DerekMurphy wrote 1208 days ago

After relentlessly contacting agents about this book last year, I was finally forced to go indie. What I have as of now is a 160,000 word heavily cited research book aimed at the general public, which has been proofread, edited and formatted in indesign (professionally). I've also begun sending out review copies to relevant reviewers, bloggers, organizations, and having giveaways and contests. I've had positive reviews from well-known experts in the community (of this type of research), and the cover image and title is catchy enough to generate controversy (which should boost sales). I've also already sold the rights to a Russian publisher for the Russian translation. My marketing plan as of now is to get the book very popular on amazon and kindle, contact independent book stores and international agents for rights, and once the book is undeniably successful, hope to be picked up by a US publisher.

At this point I'm pretty happy with where I'm headed and it looks like the book will do well. I also have another non-fiction book and a novel series in the works; eventually I should be able to generate pretty good income from the combined sales.

However I'd love to see this book supported and promoted in the "real" publishing industry, and see it on bookshelves. I understand that it may be "untouchable" now that I've gone ahead and done it myself - still I think the project will prove itself on the open market and want to make sure it gets as much exposure as possible.

I was only able to upload the first two chapters; the full PDF review file - super clean and formatted, with proper citations, bibliography and index - is available on my website.
Thanks for looking!

Derek Murphy

(Ps. I'm currently in school for my PhD in comparative literature).