Praise for Jesus Potter Harry Christ
This is EXACTLY what I needed as I continue my journey toward self-actualization and spiritual enlightenment.”
In the newly-released (and blasphemously-titled) Jesus Potter Harry Christ, Derek Murphy makes the case that J. K. Rowling — the author of the Harry Potter series — achieved her success by tapping into some of the deepest and most ancient longings of the human heart. These same longings, Murphy argues, compelled first-century pagans to construct what he calls “the Jesus myth.” Murphy points to similarities between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ virgin birth, His passion and His return from the grave with the myths of pagan idols like Isis, Sarapis, Horus and Apollo, Murphy hopes to convince his readers that Jesus — just like the gods of mythology — is fiction. In fact, he believes that Jesus is just an amalgam of history’s best myths.” Chuck Colson – Christian leader, cultural commentator, and former Special Counsel for President Richard Nixon. www.breakpoint.org
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
This is probably the first time a book encapsulates the works of contemporary mythicists such as G.A. Wells, Timothy Freke, Tom Harpur, Acharya S., Earl Doherty, and Robert Price. Whether one has a basic inkling or a profound knowledge of the syncretic casserole that spawned the world’s largest religion, Jesus Potter Harry Christ is a valuable compendium. Murphy bares a scalpel intellect in his first scholarly venture, dissecting the figure of Jesus Christ while peeling open the wonderful tales the other rising-dying godmen that once upon a time captivated pagan audiences across western civilization. Murphy never explicitly denies the historicity of Jesus Christ, but indicates that he has been basically swallowed whole by imagination and legendry. Miguel Conner, Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio
The first chapters offer a rather fascinating look at J.K. Rowling’s creation of her hit book series along with the success and repercussions that followed. The book continues from there with an in depth history of the figure Jesus Christ, including his origins and the various fan bases over the centuries. And despite the title, Jesus is not just compared to Harry Potter. The parallel between Jesus and various other gods, not just the ones we have all heard of a million times, is what really makes this book an addicting read. Jesus Potter Harry Christ is not just about the history of Jesus or Potter, it is about the history of mainstream pop culture over the ages. The big question though is what can you gain from reading this book? Why should you read this book? There is no simple answer since this book has a lot to offer for a wide range of people. Jesus Potter Harry Christ is absolutely packed with information and wisdom. You are pretty much guaranteed to learn something new. Joseph Richard Hanson, Truth Saves
A readable literary analysis of the bible starting with today’s Harry Potter stories and bracketed in the past with ancient myths and literature. As a strict literary analysis, it is very good. It tracks a variety of myths and religions and shows how concepts, thought lines and stories became interlinked with the bible. Any biblical scholar, historian and want-to-be theologian can have fun looking into this text. S. A. Gorden – Midwest Book Reviews
I have been reading and annotating this book daily, and have to say that it is simply amazing! Bart Ehrman is a former professor of mine as well as a mentor who covers the historical Jesus issue quite thoroughly, and Derek Murphy is lock step with all of the research that I have done and have been privy to… I have been singing the praises of Jesus Potter Harry Christ to all of my colleagues. The author has indeed done his homework and does a fine job of presenting the facts and sides of the arguments. I am not paying false flattery when I say that this book is easily one of the best that I have read on the subject of the historical Jesus. ”
Pastor Chris, Pacific Haven Liberation Ministries
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 Griffith, The Social I.Q. Lady
This is a truly grand expose of the Christ mythology, and done in such a refreshing and unique manner. Who would’ve thought to come up with the idea of comparing the two characters, first of all, then execute the narrative so perfectly, so that it clearly demonstrates the similarities of these not so ‘historical’ characters? Well, Derek Murphy did! And that’s why I have no hesitation in recommending this scholarly, yet entertaining, book.”
CJ Werleman, author of “God Hates You. Hate Him Back” and “Koran Curious”
The initial discussion of Jesus Potter Harry Christ – focusing on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, the commonalities between Jesus and Harry Potter as literary figures, ancient and current controversies, and pagan gods and goddesses in mythological traditions – sets the stage for Murphy’s comprehensive, fluid and riveting history of how and why Christianity rose and continued to develop through to the second Council of Nicaea (787 AD). From Heraclitus to Plato, pagan and Jewish mythologies, readers are finally directed straight to the Apostle Paul and the instruction of his mysteries to congregations that laid the foundations of the early Christian world. Murphy’s book is too broad to capture in a single review, but suffice it to say that a changed worldview can be effected for laypeople and biblical commentators who are interested in deepening their awareness of the connections between pagan, Jewish, and Christian history.”
Clarice O’Callaghan – The Jesus Mysteries Yahoo forum.
If you’re a fan of Harry or a fan of Jesus, Derek Murphy’s book will open your eyes to the startling similarities between these two characters and why those similarities exist. Murphy takes us on an in depth journey through the land of epic hero tales, their ancient origins and how (and why) they developed. By the end of the journey, Murphy pulls it all together and dares to ask who is perhaps the greater role model; Harry or Jesus? I found this book eye opening and impossible to put down.”
Derek Murphy’s, “Jesus Potter Harry Christ” –the title alone had me hooked—is a veritable encyclopedia of the history of Christian conspiracy theories, the Christian media’s depiction of the Harry Potter controversy, and so much more. As a long-time Potter fan, I’m always game for a conspiracy theory or two. I remember J.K. Rowling’s famous interview with Oprah, when she spoke of the backlash she had received from the Christian community regarding her depiction of Harry as a “Christ figure”. This interview is mentioned in the book, but Murphy, an incredibly enigmatic writer, goes much further than that. Murphy doesn’t really care that Potter obviously exhibits the traits of a Christ figure (as do so many famous literary characters-see one John Steinbeck or C.S. Lewis). He’s more concerned with why Jesus Christ himself is so often seen as an absolutely historical figure. Murphy dives into topics that others would shy away from—the mythology of the gospels, the idea that Christianity began as an initiation cult, etc.—and writes about them with confidence and extensive evidence. Although he can be long-winded at times (the book is a healthy 490 pages), for the most part Jesus Potter Harry Christ was riveting and extremely enjoyable.” Reviewed by Francesca Federico at IndieReader.com
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The Jesus that traditional Christians worship did not exist. He does exist today in the astral plane, but he is just a mental image brought to life by millions and millions of faithful people in their thoughts and feelings over many centuries. Imagine the power such a mental image would have! Yet at some time in the future this image will lose strength and die, as a new religion captures the hearts of millions. Maybe it will be Harry Potter, who knows! Nor did Jesus exist in the sense that he was anything like the person in the Gospels. The wonderful value of books like Jesus Potter Harry Christ is that they point out that the Gospels are symbolic, and were not written by the four Gospel writers but are ancient writings adapted to the needs of the people and the time.” Hans Andréa – Harry Potter for Seekers
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 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.”
Neil Godfrey – Vridar
I’m impressed. A lot. I figured that “Jesus Potter, Harry Christ” would focus on the commonalities between Jesus Christ and Harry Potter, but Murphy’s aims are a lot more ambitious. And interesting. In a highly readable yet semi-scholarly style, he sets out to examine the origins and evolution of Christianity, seeking evidence for a historical Jesus who is akin to the mythical figure revered by believers today. Just as the character of Harry Potter is imagined, so is that of Jesus Christ. Thus this narrows drastically, and perhaps even eliminates, the variance mentioned above: the supposed historicity of Jesus, as contrasted with the obvious fictional nature of Harry. The two are seen to be even more alike when each is recognized as being a reflection of our human longing to find meaning in the midst of death, pain, suffering, and malevolent forces. While unreal in an objective sense, Murphy demonstrates that the myths told in the New Testament and the Harry Potter series can point to personal truths that offer comfort, solace, and courage to anyone (which, really, is everyone) seeking to live life more fully, happily, and boldly. There is nothing wrong with religion — so long as faith isn’t taken as the Way Things Really Are. We all need a shoulder to lean on, and visions of Heaven can help support us, just as tales of Hogwarts can. “Jesus Potter, Harry Christ” demolishes part of the foundation of Christianity, Jesus’ purported uniqueness and godly heritage, but leaves the most important part: our capacity as humans to become more and better than we are now.”
Brian Hines, author of best-selling book on Plotinus, “Return to the One”
Controversial, but far from outrageous, and full of fascinating, insufficiently disseminated information. Edward Gibbon wrote, with typical irony, that “By the wise dispensation of Providence a mysterious veil was cast over the infancy of the church”. That’s putting it politely. The fact is that we know nothing whatever about either Jesus himself or about how the religion we all recognise as Christianity emerged from out the seething cauldron of myth, history and ideas. There is only guesswork. Jesus is not a historical figure like Julius Caesar, about whom some things are indeed known and others can be plausibly surmised; or even like Paul, whose personality and voice survive powerfully in the New Testament epistles. I’ll repeat. When it comes to Jesus WE KNOW NOTHING.
That’s not to say that a huge amount of evidence hasn’t survived that appears to cast light on Christian origins, though in reality the light it casts is fragmented as though refracted through a myriad prisms. There are the canonical writings of the New Testament, of course, which at least look like historical documents of some recognisable kind, even though there aren’t. There are brief, not terribly enlightening allusions in Josephus and Tacitus that seem to anchor Jesus in history. There are Gnostic and other apocryphal writings that were never accepted by what became orthodox Christianity, but which reflect other ways of interpreting who and what Jesus was. There are rumours and traditions, referred to in the writings of early church fathers. There is some highly disputed archaeology. But there is nothing which can be pointed to with certainty as proving either the existence or the actual teaching of Jesus Christ.
Instead, what all this wealth of contradictory material provides is an opportunity for endless discussion and debate. We may know nothing, but we can imagine anything, and can quote chapter and verse to make that anything sound plausible. The current tendency is to locate the historical Jesus in the context 1st century Palestine, emphasizing his Judaism and the continuity between his teaching and earlier Jewish thought. It’s possible to create thereby a plausible account of an itinerant preacher such as an original Jesus must have been. But – as Murphy points out in one of the strongest passages of the book – this can only be done by jettisoning most of the theology and mythology in which the figure Jesus comes wrapped, already in the earliest stratum of Christian literature. In other words, it requires a backwards logic: the starting point is the assumption of the very thing which the historian sets out to prove, which is that there is a plausible human Jesus to be found underneath all the theological accretions. But what if there isn’t?
The point is not that there was no original Jesus “behind” the myth. (Murphy’s case that there might not have been is ultimately rather weak, I think, but his thesis does not in fact depend on the non-existence of Jesus the man.) The point is rather that the original Jesus is irrecoverable, and in any case is not the Jesus that Christians actually worship. Who (if anyone) inspired the paradoxical teacher of the Synoptic Gospels, the incarnate Logos of St John and the personal saviour of St Paul is a fascinating but ultimately unanswerable question. The Jesus of faith is a figure of literature and myth, who answers powerful human needs, but who has no existence outside of the Christian tradition that reveres him.” Heresy Corner (read the full article here).
My own story begins in the year 2000 when I first started working in a bookstore. I had never heard of JK Rowling or Harry Potter, but I knew where to find them. We had a huge center aisle display that housed all the books and merchandise. I remember even thinking Rowling was a man for a few weeks until our children’s department manager corrected me. When the fourth book came out, I lucked out and didn’t have to work the midnight release. I didn’t even go near the store that night. But all week long, I got to listen to tons of complaints from “Christians” who were peeved that the entire back cashwrap display was promoting Harry Potter, wizards, and witchcraft. It was perfectly okay though when we did a Tim LeHaye Left Behind display, and guess what? Not one HP fan complained about that. To this day, I have never read one single Harry Potter book. I don’t have to be reminded about how good they are and that I should read them. I tend not to read what’s popular. And with a franchise that spans eight movies and millions of dollars in merchandise, I’d say Harry is quite popular. But public ridicule given to books that opened a whole new door for interest in reading amongst a young generation (and old) does have my attention. And that’s why I definitely wanted to read Derek Murphy’s Jesus Potter Harry Christ. Murphy takes the great debate between Christians and Muggles to a whole new level and parallels the lives and storylines of their two great leaders: Harry Potter and Jesus Christ.
At a lengthy 478 pages, with a 20 page Index and another 20 pages devoted to Notes, Murphy has done his homework. Just check out the Bibliography which is another 12 pages. The book is divided into three distinct parts covering a wide range of information based on the beginning, the middle, and the end of both of our lead character’s stories and their many followers, citing the likes and differences. This debate is not new. And Murphy does a brilliant job of keeping his facts and his own opinions separate. He acts as a proctor between the debaters, presenting a wealth of quotes and citations from numerous scholars, reporters, Christians, readers, priests, and more. We get equal opinions from those who support either side and many who support both. Murphy presents a healthy and spiritual look into the lives of two of the world’s most popular literary characters and in the end, still leaves you to decide on your own whose right and whose wrong – or is there a truce to be met somewhere in the middle between fans and followers. And to be such a large book, you can’t beat the hard copy or Kindle price. If you approach this topic with an open mind and consider the facts (and the myths), which Murphy has presented here in a magnificent well-researched volume of information, then you will come away informed and enlightened. In the end, what YOU believe, is all that really matters. LLBook Reviews (read the full article here)
The research in this book is very impressive. Murphy covers so much material. He spends more time promoting the facts of Jesus as a literary figure than discussing Harry Potter, but he clearly makes his point of the similarities of the two figures. Both Jesus Christ and Harry Potter had miraculous births, childhood miracles, and miraculous powers; battled with evil; were sacrificed in death with a rebirth or resurrection; and dealt with the symbolism of seven, Jesus in the Seven Seals of the Book of Revelation and Harry with his seven magical tasks in Books 6 and 7. Why the comparison to Harry Potter? Many other literary figures, such as Moby Dick, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, also endured suffering ending in a sacrificial death with a perceived rebirth and resurrection. I like Murphy’s choice, however, since Harry Potter, has become popular with a major influence on our youth. Murphy’s premise presents a new twist on an old story. J.K. Rowling used the same myths that preceded Jesus in creating her characters. A fresh look at the story of Jesus Christ is timely. A comparison to Mr. Potter is a unique way to do that. Murphy’s implied sense of humor and perspective add to a much needed discussion that often becomes much too austere and heavy.
He establishes that there is no historical proof that Jesus Christ existed. He acknowledges that there is no proof that Jesus Christ didn’t exist. Individuals are left to believe or not. Murphy states that he just wants to establish some historical record. The main stories of the Old and New Testament are restated pagan myths, referring to such figures as Osiris, Gilgamesh, Orpheus, Mithras and many others, some of which existed over a thousand years before Christ. The birth date, the death time, the suffering and the resurrection are not unique to Jesus. I read much of this research years ago and came to the conclusion that Jesus may have lived, although that evidence is sketchy, but that he was not a divine being born on December 25 and resurrected on the date we celebrate as Easter. I am amazed at the amount of historical fact gathered by Murphy and reminded that so little of this information is widely known today. How could people ignore all of this evidence? And the myth continues with such a blind side to the facts. Murphy stresses that all he is doing is presenting the information; it is up to the readers to make a decision.
The Nottingham Institute (http://nottinstitute.org/)
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. 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.
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… Either way I thought it was a brilliant book, and highly recommend it.” Goodreads Review (read the full article here)
Derek Murphy’s Jesus Potter Harry Christ opened my eyes. Murphy begins his adventure by noting that the first Harry Potter novels drew scorn from some Christians for seeming to endorse witchcraft and magic. And since those books appeared to be written for children, they were especially malign. Murphy further notes, though, that the later Harry Potter novels silenced some of the criticism when it became alleged that J. K. Rowling was writing an allegory of the Jesus Christ story in the manner of The Chronicles of Narnia of C. S. Lewis. Murphy then asks the huge question that his book answers, in this reader’s opinion: Is the story of Jesus Christ any more “real” than that of Harry Potter?
Although raised as a Christian, I began doubting in my early teens that the virginal birth, miracles, raising of the dead, fulfilling of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and resurrection were true. I assumed that 2,000 years ago the Romans had indeed crucified or otherwise executed a Jewish rebel whom the ordinary, non-ruling people of the time loved. I also assumed that the supernatural aspects of the story were later add-ons, meant to persuade credulous believers that Jesus Christ was more than just an appealing renegade, by introducing the claim that he was also divine. For example, the loaves-and-fishes story could’ve depended upon nothing more than the miracle of Adam Smith’s capitalism. Jesus Christ drew crowds—who drew entrepreneurs who could profitably cater to a hungry market when they saw one.
Jesus Potter Harry Christ, however, convinced me that there probably was no historical Jesus Christ. He was undoubtedly a cleverly wrought amalgam of pagan gods, especially the sun gods. His birth to a human mother and a god father at the winter solstice, as well as his death and return at the spring equinox, are clearly religious stories revised and retold in the centuries before the establishment of Christianity.
The early Christians, though, needed to insist that there had been a historical, in-the-flesh Jesus who lived, died, and rose to heaven. Otherwise, he was nothing more than yet another pagan myth or allegory. Murphy explains something else. Why did the Christians succeed while their competing cults, notably the Gnostics, failed? Because the Christian message was simplicity itself. In order to gain immortality, one had only to state one’s belief in a historical Christ who died and rose to heaven. The intolerance, based upon the idea that there was no other worthy idea, began then. The wars and genocides would come later. Would a mythical, allegorical Jesus Christ have served the world and his followers better? Murphy implies yes – asserting that a non-historical Jesus could still be “profoundly meaningful.” Regardless of your opinions on this matter, Jesus Potter Harry Christ is a thoroughly enjoyable read.” Ron Fritsch, author of “Promised Valley Rebellion”