God and Harry Potter at Yale: Teaching Faith and Fantasy Fiction In An Ivy League Classroom

[21 December 2010 Interview on NBC-TV with Rev. Tumminio about her class and new book]

God and Harry Potter at Yale, the Rev. Dr. Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio’s book about her controversial Yale class, ‘Harry Potter and Christian Theology,’ is now available for purchase via Amazon.com. I was invited to speak to this class two of the years the course was offered so I can say as an eye-witness and participant that it was anything but a basket-weaving seminar or transcript filler. The small class of students was chosen from hundreds of Elis who applied, all of whom were Harry Potter wonks in addition to being as intelligent and earnest as you’d expect in this Ivy clad bastion. Rev. Tumminio kept the class loose but the topics they discussed while pouring through all seven Potter novels, everything from ‘The Problem of Evil’ to ‘The End Times,’ were heavy and examined with all seriousness.

Highly recommended! I’ll be interviewing the author here soon; write out any questions you want me to be sure to ask in the comment boxes below.


  1. I don’t have any questions off the top of my head but I am highly interested to read the interview when it comes out because, as I have said in past comments on other threads, I use Potter for comparison and outside examples to teach textual criticism and themes in my Introduction to Old Testament/Hebrew Bible course for college sophomores, and I am dying to hear what other academics have done with it in the classroom. It will probably also give me some ideas for what to do with it if I have to teach our systematic theology class for freshmen, called “Faith and Critical Reason,” as it sounds like Dr Tumminio covers a more standardly systematic theology approach (problem of evil etc).

    So, I am dying to read the interview and really grateful for it when it comes out.

    And as far as the seriousness of students and the subject and their interaction, I had a student this semester who is a Potter “wonk” (went to the wizard rock festival in Brooklyn put on by The-Group-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named, and told me she was headed to Boston the weekend before the final for another one), and she might be the only A in that class … not because she likes Harry Potter, but independent of that she gave me the best papers with the most insight (in one she discovered a chiasm between Exodus and Joshua that I had not noticed before, and which fit perfectly as a chiasm … she picked up on doing it from the chiasm I noted in the Abrarham cycle). One of my A students from last semester is involved in the theater and was in on doing “A Very Potter Musical” this semester on campus. They’re serious, but they’re fun, and they’re very bright students.

  2. I started this book this morning and am so vastly impressed that I now intend to finish it. Hurray for systematic, logical approaches to theological issues however thorny. Thank you, John Granger, for sharing this fab book with us.

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