Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

United States

What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? What would we learn? How might they change us? Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast reading Harry Potter, the best-selling series of all time, as if it was a sacred text. Just as Christians read the Bible, Jews the Torah and Muslims read the Quran, we will embark on a 199-episode journey (one chapter an episode, to be released weekly) to glean what wisdom and meaning J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels have for us today. We will read Harry Potter, not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives.

Episodes

Special Edition: Owl Post and Sejal Patel  

In our final episode of Season 3, we have a chance to sit down with lawyer and fellow divinity school graduate, Sejal Patel. She chats with us about justice, Hinduism, and the Niebuhr brothers. We also do a last round of owl posts for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, hearing your thoughts about friendship, trauma, isolation, and spiritual practices. 

Our sponsor this week is Blue Apron. Check out this week’s menu and get your first three meals free —with free shipping—by going to blueapron.com/harrypotter.

The incredible choir is: Ann Phelps, Suzanne Daniel, John-Wesley Hodges, Robert Totten.




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Wrap-Up: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  

In the final episode of season three, Vanessa and Casper pull out a few key insights from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They take some time to talk about Harry Potter himself, reflect on Voldemort's absence, and compare Draco to a young white supremacist. Throughout the episode they come back to ideas about purity, justice, and identity formation. 

This episode is sponsored by Audible. Audible has the best audiobook performances, the largest library and the most exclusive content. We recommend you go listen to Harry Potter! We are also sponsored this week by BarkBox, which was very appreciated by Vanessa's dog, Rory. 

Next week, we're rounding out the season with a final Owl Post and a conversation about justice with lawyer Sejal Patel.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Love: Owl Post Again (Book 3, Chapter 22)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of love in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is our third time discussing love of the podcast, but we still have so many questions: Where does overwhelming love come from? Should we try to be selfless in our love? Is the tooth fairy a fraud?

Our voicemail this week is thanks to Colin Holden. Next week we're doing a full book review of Prisoner of Azkaban!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Crisis: Hermione's Secret (Book 3, Chapter 21)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of crisis in chapter twenty-one of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Snape's existential crisis, Dumbledore's rebellious streak, and Madame Pomfrey's delicious boulder of chocolate. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we find meaning in this time-turner business? 

Our sponsor this week is Away and our voicemail was thanks to Ameenah Wallace. Next week we're reading chapter twenty-two (the last chapter of Prisoner of Azkaban!), Owl Post Again, through the theme of love.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Charlottesville: Call it what it is  

Today was our first day back in the studio after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend. We wanted to share a few thoughts from the team. 

You can access the Charlottesville Syllabus that Casper mentions here. We've also put it as a button on the top of our website: harrypottersacredtext.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Justice: The Dementors' Kiss (Book 3, Chapter 20)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of Justice in chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss justice in all its forms: poetic, divine, restorative and insufficient. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Can an injustice ever be rectified? 

This week's voicemail was thanks to Peighton Whaley. Next week we're reading chapter twenty-one, Hermione's Secret, through the theme of crisis.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Forgiveness: Owl Post with Professor Stephanie Paulsell  

This week, Casper's out of town so Vanessa sits down with Stephanie Paulsell, Professor of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School, to talk forgiveness and answer some owl post. Our regular scheduled programing will be back next week with Chapter 20, The Dementors' Kiss through the theme of Justice. 

Much thanks to Bri, Elizabeth, Abby, and Seth for their voicemails.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Mercy: The Servant of Lord Voldemort (Book 3, Chapter 19)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of mercy in chapter nineteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Snape's dual identity, Pettigrew's shrewd manipulations, and the legacy of Lily and James Potter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: What's the differing between mercy and forgiveness? 

This week's voicemail was thanks to Blair Boudreaux. Next week we're reading chapter twenty, The Dementors' Kiss, through the theme of justice.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Isolation: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs (Book 3, Chapter 18)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of isolation in chapter eighteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they pity Peter Pettigrew, wonder about The Whomping Willow and solve the problem of suffering. (Just kidding on that last one.) Throughout the episode they consider the question: What stories do the buildings and objects around us have to tell? 

This week's voicemail was thanks to Keeley Harris. Next week we're reading chapter nineteen, The Servant of Lord Voldemort, through the theme of Mercy. Don't forget to tweet us your best Dumbledore drag names: @hpsacredtext. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Innocence: Cat, Rat and Dog (Book 3, Chapter 17)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of innocence in chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They bemoan how the criminal justice system has betrayed Sirius Black, discuss Ron's prejudice again werewolves, and try and come up with a good metaphor for the chaos of this chapter. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Who do we normally suspect of guilt?

This week's story was told by Kathy Tu, the brilliant host of the Nancy Podcast from WNYC Studios. This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron. Next week we're reading chapter eighteen, Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, through the theme of isolation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

A Note from the Road  

Sorry folks, the episode's coming out on Thursday. Here's a quick voicemail from Vanessa and Casper. You can check out our new video on youtube and facebook! Much love.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Wonder: Professor Trelawney's Prediction (Book 3, Chapter 16)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of wonder in chapter sixteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss flobberworms, how Divination class is like divinity school, and why Professor Trelawney doesn't believe in her own prediction. Throughout the episode they consider the question: Should we try to answer unanswerable questions?

Next week we're reading chapter seventeen, Cat, Rat and Dog, through the theme of innocence. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Laurie Benson. Don't forget to buy tickets for the east coast leg of live tour (which starts this weekend!): harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Pain: The Quidditch Final (Book 3, Chapter 15)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of pain in chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Casper's beautiful teeth, Vanessa's dislike of Hogwarts houses, and why Professor Trelawney is a better teacher than we once thought. Throughout the episode they consider the question: When is it okay to knowingly cause someone else’s pain?

Next week we're reading chapter sixteen, Professor Trelawney's Prediction, through the theme of wonder. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Lauren Lo Bue. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Imagination: Snape's Grudge (Book 3, Chapter 14)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of imagination in chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, in some major reversals, Vanessa expresses concern for Snape and Casper blesses Hermione. They also discuss babies, puppies, and our criminal justice system. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How can we use imagination to do the most good in the world? 

Next week we're reading chapter fifteen, The Quidditch Final, through the theme of pain. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Tyler Reeves. Don't forget to buy tickets for the east coast leg of our live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Rivalry: Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw — With Hank Green (Book 3, Chapter 13)  

Vanessa and Casper and special guest, Hank Green, explore the theme of Rivalry in chapter thirteen of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. They discuss the difference between bullies and rivals, the delight of new babies, and why Cho Chang is a great model for competition. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How does power work within rivalry?

If you want to see and hear more of Hank, you can watch him on his many youtube channels, listen to him on his podcast Dear Hank and John, and catch him at PodCon, which is on December 9th and 10th in Seattle.

Next week we're reading chapter fourteen, Snape's Grudge, through the theme of imagination. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Kathy Kavanaugh. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show







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Optimism: The Patronus (Book 3, Chapter 12)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of optimism in chapter twelve of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, Casper tells a story about climate activism, Vanessa tries to puzzle out how boggarts work, and together they take a close look at what exactly happens during a Dementor's Kiss. Throughout the episode they consider the question: why do we need permission to be optimistic? 

Next week we're reading chapter thirteen, Gryffindor Versus Ravenclaw, through the theme of rivalry. Tune in for a special guest story by Hank Green! Our voicemail this week is thanks to Dave Lawson. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Duty: The Firebolt — With Father Jim Martin (Book 3, Chapter 11)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of duty in chapter eleven of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss Hermione's selflessness, Hagrid's traumatic experience in Azkaban, and McGonagall's harsh take-down of Trelawney at christmas dinner. Throughout the episode they consider the question: How do we differentiate between obedience and duty?

We are delighted to be joined this week by Father Jim Martin to discuss Jesuit spirituality and sacred imagination. He's the editor-at-large of America Magazine and author of such books as Jesus: A Pilgrimage, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Seven Last Words?

This episode is sponsored by Verizon go90. Next week we're reading chapter twelve, The Patronus, through the theme of optimism. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Sophia Charan. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show





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Escape: The Marauder's Map (Book 3, Chapter 10)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of escape in chapter ten of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss whether we can have sympathy for dementors, Casper's college crush, and the toxic ideas that haunt us. Throughout the episode they consider the question: After we escape something awful, what allows us to go back and help others do so as well?

This episode is sponsored by Spotify Showstopper and Warby Parker. Next week we're reading chapter eleven, The Firebolt, through the theme of duty. Our voicemail this week is thanks to Katie Stickles-Wynen. Don't forget to buy tickets for the live tour: harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Frustration: Grim Defeat (Book 3, Chapter 9)  

Vanessa and Casper explore the theme of frustration in chapter nine of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This week, they discuss latin etymology, quote Macbeth, and critique Snape's class design. They also talk about fun things like Sir Cadogan (who is rapidly becoming our favorite portrait). Throughout the episode they consider the question: When does frustration indicate injustice?

This episode is sponsored by Blue Apron and Spotify Showstopper. Next week we're reading chapter ten, The Marauder's Map, through the theme of escape. Our donor of the week is Crookshanks and our voicemail this week is thanks to Camryn Kessler. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

[Explicit] Extra! Extra!: Blooper Reel  

This is not a real episode! It's a reel episode. (Groan.) 

Ariana made this little blooper reel for some of the Crowdfunder backers, but we thought it would be nice to share it with everyone.  It's Ariana's mom's birthday today, and it's a beautiful Friday here in Boston, so it's a good day for something a little special. Thanks go, of course, to those who ordered it from the Crowdfunder - without you, it wouldn't exist! 

Today we're also releasing posters for our live tour. Go check them out on social media and share them with your friends. We can't wait to see ya'll in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. If you haven't yet bought your tickets, you can do so at: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/live-show/

P.S. Despite how it might sound in these bloopers, we love all of our sponsors and are very grateful for their support. The explicit warning is for swearing. See you on Tuesday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

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