Reviewed by Laurie Gray for Readers' Favorite
Jesus Potter Harry Christ by Derek Murphy is a scholarly journey through ancient mythology, cosmology, astrology, early church history and modern metaphor to demonstrate how our spiritual beliefs spring from the stories we tell ourselves—and have always told ourselves-about life, the physical world we observe, and the nature of humankind. Murphy posits that Jesus of Nazareth, like Harry Potter, is a purely literary character. He examines Harry Potter as a Christ figure and then goes on to examine Christ as an assimilation of Gilgamesh, Dionysus, Pythagoras, Orpheus, Asclepius, Osiris, Adonis, Attis, and Mithras into an incoherent story of a supposedly real person. Murphy finds insufficient historical evidence to either prove or disprove his theory conclusively. Instead, he calls modern Christianity to task for its unwillingness to consider the supposition that Jesus is the only purported savior to have truly lived in human form. The book includes an extensive bibliography, index and end-notes.
The emphasis on Christian theology may disappoint the average Harry Potter fan, and the premise itself is enough to offend most Christians. Nevertheless, those who enjoy the writing of Joseph Campbell, Richard Dawkins and Robert Pirsig will find the book fascinating. Murphy writes clearly and objectively, summarizing extensive materials from western civilization. In a postscript entitled “Spread the Word,” Murphy explicitly states, “This book is meant to generate discussion.” There is certainly ample substance to discuss and debate for those willing to question some of our culture’s underlying assumptions. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in exploring the role of mythology in modern literature and belief.