Ems Dawson's Reviews > Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Astonishing Relationship Between Two of the World's Most Popular Literary Characters: A Historical Investigation Into the Mythology and Literature of Jesus Christ and the Religious Symbolism in Rowling's Magical Series.

Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek S. Murphy
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's review
Mar 06, 2011

it was amazing

Gosh where to start?... An impressively heavy tome, it reads like an academic paper. Its divided into three parts, then subdivided. The subdivisions work as part of a cohesive narrative, but also allow you to pick and choose the parts you're most interested in. As a result it is easy to follow Murphy's logic and makes for fuss free reading.

A lot of research and effort have obviously been expended in writing this book, but at no point does it feel laboured or like Murphy has an axe to grind (an impressive achievement considering the subject matter). In fact Murphy presents the evidence and leaves the conclusions to the reader. Having said this there are points at which you do hear Murphy's own voice, in little asides to the main narrative. I should add however that these are delivered with such brilliant sarcastic wit that they only add to the experience, rather than detracting from his academic credibility. For example:

In response to the Biblical story of Genesis (1:1-31) "Everything was made perfectly in accordance to [God's] plan, and he announced that it was all very good. In the world He created, there was no death and no suffering, which suggests that the time and the basic laws of physics hadn't yet been installed" (226)

This was not the book I was expecting. From the title I thought there would be more about the similarities between Jesus and Harry, with some interesting facts about both thrown in for good measure. It is not, although the first chapter Sacrificial Half Breed Warlocks: Harry Potter as a Christ Figure does (obviously) focus on the two characters similarities, the rest of the book is a fairly detailed look at the roots, and development, of Christianity.

There are some fascinating tit-bits to be gleaned, and Murphy makes much of the pre christian ear and its belief systems, in particular Sun-myths which, is Murphy is to be believed, forms the basis of all alter religions, not to mention literature. He makes a very persuasive argument.

The titles of each chapter allude to popular culture enough that you can join the dots up yourself, without having to have things spelled out (Jesus, the Lion King: Astrological Foundations). This also allows you to muse on things uninterrupted, and go off in your own direction of thought. Conversely the subject matter of some, Meeting Satan Again: Draco and Creation Myth, appear predictable and yet will totally surprise you (although there are some familiar names that Potter fans will pick up on).

An understanding of classical culture helps whilst reading some of the more academically meaty bits, or maybe its just that those who have an understanding of Classics clearly have an interest in the subject, and will get more enjoyment from these bits... who knows?! Either way I thought it was a brilliant book, and highly recommend it.

If nothing else it makes for interesting dinner table debating, and is most certainly thought provoking.
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Reading Progress

March 6, 2011 – Shelved
Started Reading
April 24, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-12)

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message 12: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Bell So you're not a Christian :O ?! Aren't you afraid of hell?!

message 11: by Ems (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ems Dawson No I'm not a Christian, and I don't really believe in hell.

message 10: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Bell Why not a christian? Please tell me?

message 9: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Bell I would really like to hear your story please?

message 8: by Ems (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ems Dawson I'm just not, in the same way that I am not a Muslim or a Buddhist, or a Hindu or Jewish or a follower of any other particular religious doctrine. I don't feel the need to be part of a religious following.

I couldn't put my finger on any specific reason I am not Christian, but as yet I haven't felt the need to join a religious community, or encountered a religion whose belief system seems right to me.

message 7: by Ems (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ems Dawson I'm not sure I have a story per se, well not one that relates to religion at any rate.

My personal philosophy is to live a life that makes me feel happy and contented. So far so good!

message 6: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Bell Well you're one of the lucky ones! So you never grew up in a Christian home? I know that's the general consensus for 81% of Americans today.

message 5: by Ems (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ems Dawson Perhaps. No my upbringing wasn't particularly Christian. We read the bible at school and I studied the emergence of Christianity at university, which was very interesting but purely academic.I am aware that parts of the US are staunchly religious and particularly fond of Christianity.

message 4: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Bell But can you explain to me why you are not a Christian in a long response?

message 3: by Ems (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ems Dawson I may be wrong, but it sounds to me like you are searching for something - a particular justification for not being Christian perhaps?

I'm afraid that I cannot give you this. Deciding to follow a religion is a very personal choice. As I said previously I try to live a life that makes me feel happy and contented, and I don't need Christianity for this. My moral code is based on my knowledge base and life experience. Arguably what I consider to be moral has been shaped by Christianity (as a result of living in a Western, traditionally Christian country) but I don't believe in god.

Nothing I have read or experienced so far has convinced me that I need to become a Christian. I have never had some sort of religious epiphany where I made a conscious decision not to be a Christian. For me its a choice like any other. If you feel that you get positive things from following a religion go for it, if not don't.

Finally, and this is purely my own opinion, there are many things in Christianity that I don't agree with. For example There seems to be a lot of negativity and self depreciation. Another example would be the fear of hell that you mentioned at the start of this discussion- personally I don't think you should believe in something based on fear- that seems ludicrous, draconian and plain old fashioned to me.

I hope you find what you are looking for, but for me Christianity, religion and god are not major players in life, it is simply not something that I think about or that affects me. Perhaps it is something I will come to later (religion/spirituality that is, not necessarily Christianity) perhaps not... For now it has nothing to do with my life.

message 2: by Kenny (new)

Kenny Bell So beautifully put.Thank you for your response.

message 1: by Ems (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ems Dawson No worries. I hope you find what you're looking for.

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