‘Harry Potter’ religion class seeks to enlighten students on ‘God, sin, and theodicy’

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A private liberal arts college in Kentucky has started offering a religion course based on the “Theology of Harry Potter,” which seeks to help students “develop an understanding of theological concepts such as God, sin, and theodicy.”

Students at Centre College in Danville who take the class will be required to read J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the course description says.

“The series has been labeled anti‐religious, anti‐Christian, and Harry himself has been called everything from a witch to the devil for his pervasive influence on young children,” the description reads. “But are audiences reading too much religion into the Potter series? Is the series pure entertainment or does it draw upon existing archetypes of the hero, or existing Christian archetypes? Is God in Harry Potter? Is the concept of sin? Or salvation?”

The course will also allow students to “develop an understanding of theological concepts such as God, sin, and theodicy (the problem of evil), and also to study the literary epic genre through the lens of the Harry Potter series.”

The course began in January and was lead by Professor Lee Jefferson, who has taught a course before on comic-book heroes and religion, The College Fix reported.

“The Potter series is a phenomenon that crosses generations and actually contains some deeply religious themes,” the professor told Centre College’s news website. “As a reader, I enjoyed them, and as a scholar, I can see their pedagogical value.”

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