Jesus Potter, Harry Christ

ABOUT Derek Murphy

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 Egy More...



At the beginning of J.K. Rowling’s internationally popular phenomenon, Harry Potter was first viewed with suspicion, 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 not only an unchallengeable model for marketing strategy and economic success, but also an integral part of the lives of millions of fans who have watched Harry grow up – and grown up with him.

As we reached the end of this journey, the final coming of Harry Potter was being treated as Messianic; blogs were 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. 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” station. 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 the sacrificial death of Jesus. In 2002 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 comments by Rowling herself to the effect that she knowingly crafted 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 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? This book will trace the genesis of the story of Jesus Christ and examine the controversy concerning the historical founder of Christianity, to see if Jesus can be distinguished from Harry based on the claim of history.

The ground-breaking new book Jesus Potter Harry Christ explores the roots of the religious controversy surrounding the Harry Potter series, traces the intriguing similarities between Jesus and Harry, and reveals astonishing secrets of Christian history. How and why Jesus Christ, who is traditionally considered a historical figure, shares anything in common with the modern re-telling of ancient folklore that emerges in the character of Harry Potter, is the basis for this innovative investigation. Jesus Potter Harry Christ is a well-reasoned and meticulously referenced (but not overly academic) treatise on religious history, comparative mythology, astrological symbolism, and contemporary culture that establishes the critical relevancy and importance of the literary Jesus. Rather than another unsupported “Christ-myth” rehash of Zeitgeist material, Jesus Potter Harry Christ traces the roots of the controversy surrounding the historical Jesus and elaborates both sides of the argument, gives clear examples from original sources, refrains from sweeping generalities and conclusions, and focuses on simple, demonstrable truths. 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.

“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. In many ways, the real heart (of the book) seems to be the analysis of early Christianity as being a mystery religion, and, interestingly, one designed to include the Jewish religion within the surrounding Greco-Roman cults. Importantly, the author locates St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians as the site of “communicative decay that lead to the literalist misinterpretation of the Jesus myth.” 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

“Absolutely loved it! With so much misinformation being disseminated about Jesus Christ, this book was refreshing. Derek pulls from notable and reliable sources to frame his arguments in a way that is both intriguing and satisfying. His insights into the phenomena that captivate the fans of literary characters like Harry Potter and Jesus Christ are extraordinary. To anyone who enjoys a mystery being unraveled, Harry Potter Jesus Christ is a must read.” Andrea Giffith, The Social I.Q. Lady