Revelio! Revealing Truth in Harry Potter
Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio
One of the greatest challenges for Harry Potter characters is discerning truth: Is Severus Snape trustworthy? Does Dumbledore have a reliable grand plan to save the wizarding world? Is the Half-Blood Prince's textbook reliable? Is Rita Skeeter and the Daily Prophet an asset or a liability? Can the Ministry of Magic be trusted? These are all questions that characters must confront in their quest to live in a way that will liberate the wizarding world from Voldemort's grip. Christian theologians must also consider what is a reliable source of truth: does the Bible reveal God's truth? Is it infallible? Does the Church speak reliably about how God wants us to live? Does our experience of prayer or personal revelation say something truthful about God?
This presentation will consider the way that Harry Potter characters search for truth and the way that Christian theologians seek truth. It will argue that just as Christian theologians search for truth by looking at Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience, so Harry Potter characters do likewise. They look to authoritative books (i.e. Hogwarts: A History), authoritative traditions (i.e. the Sorting Hat ritual), reason (i.e. Ron and the chess game) and experience (i.e. Harry's experience with the Half-Blood Prince's textbook). The talk will close by showing that this is just one more way in which the books reinforce Christian belief rather than running contrary to it. Thus, Christians should embrace, rather than denounce, the Harry Potter series.
Danielle Tumminio is a lecturer at Yale University and teaches the Christian Theology and Harry Potter seminar that was publicized by CNN in 2008. Her teaching has been praised by John Granger on his Hogwarts Professor website, and her forthcoming book on theology and the Harry Potter series, entitled God and Harry at Yale will be released this summer.