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Defense Against the Dark Arts

Course Semester:

Course Description: 

With the 1998 publication of The Sorcerer’s Stone J. K. Rowling began creating a universe that continues to house the imagination of millions of readers around the globe. Although not a religious work, the series is a portal into a world that is. Both the world of faith and the world of fiction depend on imagination, and the Harry Potter series provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on what makes these worlds alike and what makes them different. The faith-world brings us to questions about ultimate meaning and value; so does the HP series. The faith-world has to do with self-discovery, personal growth and transformation; so does the series. The faith-world works from a sense of enchantment and divine providence; the HP series is predicated on the possibility of magic, although the ultimate source of that magic (and the possibility of dark magic) is left unexplained. The faith-world has to do with moral choices and their consequences, and so does the series. Why does imagination give permission to miracles but dismiss magic as fantasy? How and why are faith and fantasy different? How does the mind distinguish what is “real” from what is not? And how does the mind defend itself against dementors, chaos, and spiritual darkness? Religious imagination is one such defense. One unit.

Course Number: 
215