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God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom Paperback – December 1, 2010

5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Unlocking Press (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982963319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982963319
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I never had a strong interest in theology, but I LOVE the Harry Potter series, so I thought I'd give this book a shot, and I loved it! Rev. Tumminio does an incredible job of making theological topics feel relevant and intriguing, and she does so in a way that's really accessible to anyone. I learned a lot about theology, but that doesn't mean that she deprives the Harry Potter fan! The book is chock full of ways that themes from theology relate to the series. I wound up with a much deeper understanding of the series than I had before. I especially loved the chapters on revelation, sacrifice, and the apocalypse--it was really fascinating to learn about how Christians view these ideas and then how the ideas play out in the series.. There are also discussion questions at the end of each chapter that helped me focus my own ideas about what I was reading. I imagine these would be especially useful to church or academic groups that were discussing the series.

The book is a total must own, whether you're a rabid Harry Potter fan, a Christian theologian, or a parent curious about whether the books are appropriate for your children. It goes so far beyond the current Christian discussion that just says the books are all about witchcraft, and really adds a new perspective. This book is a must own!
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Format: Paperback
This book is great for Harry Potter fans looking for deeper meaning in the series, as well as members of the religious community seeking to draw connections between the fantasy world and their own. Rev. Tumminio can hold her own with both theologians and HP devotees, and neither group will come away disappointed. The book opens with the story of how Rev. Tumminio came to teach her course (which almost didn't happen!), then dives into a detailed yet accessible discussion of how these beloved characters struggle with complex theological concepts through the course of the books. Much like Rev. Tumminio's young students, the reader need not be versed in Christianity to understand the discussion, but by the end of the book he or she will have gained a much deeper appreciation for J.K. Rowling's storytelling, as well as another lens for interpreting the everyday events and themes of his or her own life.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with the other reviews by HPFan29 and Muggle13 that this book does a great job of blending together an introduction to some fairly weighty theological concepts with the fantastical world of Harry Potter.

The short version of this review: I'd definitely recommend the book.

The longer version: Exactly what you get out of it may depend a bit on the perspective you're entering from, whether you're a big HP fan with a passing interest in religion, or vice versa. (I'm assuming here that if you're hugely into both, you have already bought this book, and if you have no interest whatsoever in either, you would not have stumbled onto this page in the first place.)

The most obvious target audience would be students (or just curious individuals) who want to get an introduction to theological scholarship, but may be discouraged by the thought of having to pore over thick volumes full of literally millennia of dense philosophical arguments. For those folks, here's some good news: Even if you took out all the Harry Potter bits, this book would still be a great introduction to many of the core concepts of Christian theology (evil, sin, salvation, grace, etc.). The style is a bit more conversational and far easier to read than most textbooks, without being too cursory to be a useful academic reference.

The framework of examining these concepts in the context of the Harry Potter universe makes them even easier to digest; the typical structure is to spend a few pages introducing and discussing some theological concept, and then a few pages relating it to HP and his pals. This alternation of vegetables and dessert, as it were, is great for keeping you going if you're not too familiar with theology to start.
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Format: Paperback
Most college students, most people, in fact, seem to view theology in the same way they view flossing or eating Brussells sprouts: as something that they know is important but which isn't fun, engaging, or very easy to understand. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, beloved by millions of readers, appear to be at the opposite end of the spectrum, as they are fun, engaging, and easy to read and since they are often (incorrectly) thought to be more entertainment than edification. Who would have thought that theology and Harry Potter could have been combined to create a class that changed lives at Yale? The answer to that question is Rev. Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, who created an incredibly popular seminar at Yale, tackling the sometimes daunting subject of theology by studying it in the context of the Harry Potter universe. The class took on subjects such as sacrifice, Christology, grace, and the problem of evil, as portrayed in Rowling's novels. The incredibly popular course garnered international attention, and now, Rev. Tummino takes readers where she has taken students, to a study of theology unlike any other. Follow me after the jump for the full review.

God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction in an Ivy League Classroom (Unlocking Press 2010) is a delightful read, covering the creation and implementation of the first semester of her beloved course of Harry Potter and Christian thought, as well as visiting the major themes covered in the class. Rev. Tumminio's writing is engaging and approachable, making the reader often wish for the opportunity to be in an actual class with her.
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