Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What Would Harry Potter Do?

"Holy Scripture certainly instructs against dabbling in witchcraft. But it doesn't prohibit using imagination in writing, reading and enjoying great fantasy tales."

This quote if from an article by Raymond J. Keating, 'Harry Potter and the Christian allegory', which can be read here.

But an allegory that uses witches? I think of Jesus' use of the Samaritan in his story in answer to the lawyers question 'Who is my neighbour?'. Far from the positive connotations the word has today, Jesus' usage was deeply subversive.

Boy I've got a stinking headache, so I'll stop typing. 'Accio Aspirin'

6 Comments:

At 8/15/2007 2:04 AM, Anonymous Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I think that the Potter books have a strong moral message. Like many works of fantasy, from Lewis to Tolkien magic plays an important role.

The key to Harry is that the books do stir the imagination and they remind us of many excellent virtues -- or at least that is what I read in them (and Harry isn't near as difficult to follow as Lord of the Rings!)

 
At 8/15/2007 3:12 AM, Anonymous byron smith said...

Here's the best thing I've read on this topic. Really worth a read.

 
At 8/15/2007 1:48 PM, Anonymous Steve Hayes said...

Nine out of ten people who use the word "allegory" don't know what it means.

 
At 8/15/2007 6:21 PM, Anonymous steph said...

What would he do? I reckon he'd stick with good old aspirin too.

 
At 8/15/2007 8:29 PM, Anonymous Ed Gentry said...

I like many (most) of Chris's sympathetic blog readers find the fundamentalist types Christians deeply problematic. I find myself agreeing with so much of what Chris writes.

I find it very odd that in all our critical thinking we don't seem to have time for a nuanced position on HP. I wonder if we have got caught in the liberal/conservative either/or trap that polarizes the Church and the Academy and which so much of Chris's writings helpfully avoids.

I've only seen two positions on HP. Rowlings work should be read and embraced by all, or they are the expressed work of Satan himself.
Surely we can be more critical and nuanced than this.

If demons and witchcraft are very real, then the expression of caution that HP seems to lean into this realm at many points could hardly be criticized.

Also, as most of you would argue, HP does embody many laudable values, and does much to engender a helpful sense of wonder. Then it would likewise be unwise reject it completely.

I'm very very troubled that we are too easily pushed to the extremes where we can't tolerate due caution and we can't recognize good literature.

 
At 8/15/2007 8:38 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

"Harry isn't near as difficult to follow as Lord of the Rings!"
Bob, I totally agree!

Ed, you speak from my heart. Well put.

Steve, am I one of the nine?!

 

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