She sent me an email this morning, shared with her permission:
while i was watching harry potter i got fixated on the biblical imagery presented in relation to dumbledore. i don’t remember if you ever read the harry potter books but dumbledore is the man in charge of the school and the “good” wizard to the “evil” wizard trying to take over the wizarding world.
at one point, dumbledore is standing on a rocky precipice creating fire with his wand over this big lake and i thought to myself, “wow if this isn’t god/moses i don’t know what is.” the irony that wizardry which is stereotypically pagan still manages to have christian undertones in today’s society or something like that.
When I read this, my first thought is, “wow, that’s my daughter.”
The second is how challenging this comparison would be to those who have criticized J. K. Rowling’s popular books for promoting dangerous anti-Christian ideas. I remember vividly a conversation with a seminary student several years ago who adamantly protested the inclusion of the Harry Potter books in the local school library.
The third is to reflect again on how biblical imagery has become a set of signs that can be used in multiple ways. Moses on a mountain top becomes archetypal, a way of communicating a power that transcends ordinary existence, even in non-religious contexts. In that regard, it doesn’t matter if the imagery comes straight from the Bible or via Charlton Heston’s portrayal of Moses.
Harry Potter fans out there: what biblical themes do you see in these books/films?