God, The Devil, and Harry Potter: A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels

God, The Devil, and Harry Potter: A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels

4.5 11
by John Killinger
     
 

The popularity of the "Harry Potter" books and movies has unsurprisingly caused many Christian fundamentalists to condemn the series as an agent of the Devil. Ordained Christian minister Killinger, trained in theology and literature, argues that not only have these individuals misstated the case, they have missed the fact that Harry Potter is actually an allegorical… See more details below

Overview

The popularity of the "Harry Potter" books and movies has unsurprisingly caused many Christian fundamentalists to condemn the series as an agent of the Devil. Ordained Christian minister Killinger, trained in theology and literature, argues that not only have these individuals misstated the case, they have missed the fact that Harry Potter is actually an allegorical support of the most important lessons of the Christian church. He points to a number of characters and events as being reflections of the resurrection of Jesus, points out how deeply woven thinking about magic is woven in with the Judeao- Christian tradition (think of the three wise Magi), and argues that the "Potter" books promote Christian hope in life after death. Distributed by St. Martin's Press. Annotation ©2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Some Christians find fault with Harry Potter's magical world of witches and wizards. Presbyterian minister Killinger comes to the aid of "the boy who lived," arguing that he is an "often unwitting Christ figure" whose story draws on Christian themes and teaches useful lessons. Killinger finds many parallels in the history of Christian storytelling, both inside and outside of the Bible, to J.K. Rowling's grab bag of characters, motifs and creatures. But his interpretations are strained, often well beyond the breaking point. One can imagine that Rowling is alluding to the philosophical concept of "quiddity" with the name "Quidditch"-though why exactly that should matter Killinger never makes clear. But when he suggests that the lightning-bolt-shaped scar on Harry's forehead recalls a few Old Testament scholars' belief that the divine name YHWH originally meant "lightning," he is simply indulging in etymological conspiracy theories. Potter fanatics will be alarmed that Killinger gets the composition of Voldemort 's wand wrong (it is made of yew, not oak), but most everyone else will have stopped reading by then anyway. Killinger's fellow mainline Protestants are not troubled by Harry Potter, and conservative Christians will hardly be reassured by Killinger's fondness for Jungian archetypes and parapsychology. Francis Bridger's A Charmed Life has already covered this territory, with far greater success. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
With the release of the second Harry Potter movie, Rowling-consciousness is once again in full flood, and the time is right for this book. A clergyman and author, Killinger (The Things I Learned Wrong from a Conservative Church) has written an engaging and spirited exposition of the Christian archetypes behind Rowling's hero, Harry. Few of his conclusions should surprise the observant or thoughtful reader, yet they may come as news to religious conservatives around the country who have condemned Rowling's books without stooping to read them. Killinger is not only an effective religious thinker but a keenly sensitive literary critic: an unlooked-for bonus of his book may be that readers learn not only why they may read but how to read intelligently. There are now several books on the topic of Harry Potter and Christianity, but most collections will benefit from adding this one. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312308698
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/23/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 9.92(h) x 0.85(d)

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