There are many markings noted in the Harry Potter series such as Harry’s famous mark on his forehead, Harry’s hand marked by a quill in the fifth book, and Dumbledore’s blood on a cave entrance in the sixth book. The three types of markings – head, hand, and on an entrance reminded me of the Shema in the Bible, one of the most important passages in the Old Testament with great meaning for both Jews and Christians. Besides the Shema, there are other references to markings in the Bible worth exploring, especially those marks associated with sacrifice.
Some very conservative Christians find Bible verses and Harry Potter quotes and lay them side-by-side. Then they claim Rowling’s work unholy. I am lifting up Bible verses and Harry Potter quotes, laying them side-by-side, and saying that the Potter series, although certainly not holy writ, is not all that secular. Harry is all about loving with all your heart, soul, and might.
First, we will review what the Shema means overall to the Jewish and Christian faiths and why there is emphasis on three places: hand, forehead, and entrance. Secondly, we will look for places where similar markings occur in Harry Potter. Thirdly, we will consider other types of markings noted in the Bible and look for instances in the Harry Potter series that can relate. Finally, heart, soul, might, and being chosen will be addressed. As I compare and contrast biblical markings to the markings in Harry Potter, along the way I will venture forth with a few speculations as to the final outcome of Rowling’s series.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart [Lebab], and with all your soul [Nephesh], and with all your might [Meod]. Keep [Shamar] these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite [Shanan] them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign [Owth] on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deut. 6:4-9)1
The above passage is the primary faith statement for Jews to be recited every day. These words are to be taught to the children. The goal of the emphasis on the Shema (Called Shema after the first word in the passage “hear”) is to keep God present in your life all the time, to make God your focus. Christians recognize a portion of the Shema as the Great Commandment per Jesus.2
The black boxes worn by Jews on their heads and arms are in remembrance of God. The black boxes, called tefillin, are worn on the head (near the mind) and on the left arm (near the heart). The words of the Shema are written on little scrolls in the tefillin. This practice, “symbolizes obligation to serve God with one’s mind and with one’s emotions.” 3
On the doorways of most Jewish homes is a mezuzah, a small container for the words of the Shema that are also written on a little scroll. This marks the home as Jewish and is “symbolic of the Jewish values and behavior espoused inside...crossing the threshold...is thus a ritual act, a movement inward, from the world to the distinctly Jewish domain...a good-luck charm and loose badge of social identity.” 4
Choosing these practices indicate a person’s choice to be in a relationship with God. God also chooses to be in relationship with them. The one God is their choice and they are a chosen people. It is a covenant, a promise, between two parties. Although our human weakness leads us to break the covenant again and again, our steadfast God has made the ultimate Unbreakable Vow and will not let us down. We are God’s treasured possession.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (Deut. 7:6)5
Having established that markings on heads, hands/arms, and markings on buildings is symbolically and spiritually important, I will now relate all this to Harry Potter. The Potter series has references to many markings, some of which appear to be in complete opposition to the Shema.
“Anti-Shema” – Markings on Buildings
I just made up the term “anti-Shema” so don’t go looking for it elsewhere! I needed a term to summarize everything Voldemort stands for because Voldemort is evil’s man through and through. Voldemort does not love anything with heart, soul, and might. Voldemort’s “anti-Shema” stance has many markings on buildings, hands/arms, and on at least one famous forehead.
Mr. Weasley, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the World Quidditch campsite, explains that Voldemort’s followers put the Dark Mark up over places where they have attacked people.6 Thus, the Dark Mark appears in the sky whenever Voldemort’s minions create terror and destruction such as when they attacked the World Quidditch game and when they infiltrated Hogwarts in book six, an act which ended with Dumbledore’s death.7 So this mark is an evil counterpart to the Jewish mezuzah.
Many Christian Harry Potter fans have noted that the Dark Mark in the sky, a skull image, may be symbolic of Golgotha, a word that means “place of the skull.” 8 Golgotha is the name of the place where Christ was crucified. The geography on that hill in Jerusalem looked a lot like a skull and there were a lot of people killed and buried in this location.9
Voldemort provides a “to-your-door” Golgotha experience.
“Anti-Shema” – Marking on Hands/Arms
The Death-Eaters, Voldemort’s inner circle, are marked with a tattoo on their arms. So far, we have no evidence that one can be so branded without one’s consent; they evidently willingly choose to submit to this procedure. However, some, like Peter Pettigrew, submitted out of fear. Pettigrew gets a silver hand from Voldemort, a reward for fear.
It appears that Draco accepted the Death-Eater tattoo. If so, then he is very proud to have the Death-Eater mark as evidenced by his bragging at Borgin and Burkes and on the Hogwarts Express at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.10 By the end of that book, Draco even holds aloft a glowing Hand of Glory, a grisly relic made from a murderer’s hand,11 as he leads Death-Eaters into Hogwarts. Thus the Death-Eater mark is a mark of covenant, but quite opposite to the Shema. You see, Voldemort is no steadfast partner worthy of being served. A covenant with Voldemort certainly does not lead you to a flourishing soul.
Movie goers shudder at the sight of Pettigrew cutting into Harry’s arm during the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire graveyard scene.12 This wound is close to the location where tefillins are worn. This cruel assault upon a boy is very evil and horribly against the Shema.
Harry’s hand is inscribed with his own blood repeatedly due to Umbridge’s detention in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.13 “Recite [Shanan] them” says the Shema referring to the words of the passage. The Hebrew word “Shanan“ means, “to point, to inculcate, prick, sharp, teach diligently, whet.” 14 This is a mighty interesting word in light of Umbridge’s use of the quill that etched a teaching onto Harry’s hand through repetition. Umbridge may not be an official Death-Eater, but she certainly has fallen into the “Anti-Shema” ditch. She is so far gone, that her grasping hand is seen raking through fire.15
“Anti-Shema” - Foreheads
Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked [Charagma] on the right hand or the forehead (Rev. 13:16)16
This passage refers to the “Mark of the Beast”, the sign of the “anti-Christ”. The Greek word here for “mark” is “Charagma.” 17 This word means, “A scratch or etching stamp as in badge of servitude or sculptured figure (statue) graven, mark”. The Mark of Beast is the opposite of the Shema because it is a mark of ownership. The Beast owns you. In contrast, you choose the signs of head and hand in the Shema because you love God with all your heart, soul, and might. The signs of head and hand in the Shema also show that you are chosen by God. You are loved in return. When you choose the “Mark of the Beast”, love has nothing to do with it.
We have similarities between the Mark of the Beast from the book of Revelation and the Death-Eater tattoo. The Death-Eater tattoo is an arm marking and the Mark of the Beast is a forehead or hand marking. The Death-Eaters know that when Voldemort calls them to his side and when he gives them assignments, they had better come running and they had better not fail the tasks he sets for them. Voldemort is a cruel master, indeed. If one is going to make a choice to serve, at least avoid cruel masters.
Among the various persons that the term “anti-Christ” has been applied to, Nero is right up on top of most scholarly lists. Many scholars agree that the number “666” is the Mark of the Beast and numerically this signifies the name of Nero. This is because the book of Revelation was written at about the time frame that Nero’s reign and the burning of Rome occurred. On July 14, 64 A.D, a huge fire began and much of Rome burned. Nero then made scapegoats of the Christians for this tragedy. There were terrifying persecutions throughout the Roman Empire and many Christians were murdered in the Roman Colosseum.18
“Mark of the Beast” also refers to Roman commerce per many scholars19 and Nero’s image was on Roman coinage. The Imperial Roman seal was mandatory for conducting business in the Empire. Relating this to Harry Potter, Hermione uses markings on coins for communication purposes within the Dumbledore’s Army.20 So it is an interesting contrast that Hermione uses coins to combat Umbridge’s Beastly “anti-Shema” ways.
Speculations: Will there be a “graven image” of Voldemort’s Dark Mark skull on Galleons as he takes over the wizarding world? Will it get to the point that the wizards won’t be able to buy even a thin bottom cauldron in Diagon Alley without a Death-Eater mark? Will the Dumbledore’s Army members be persecuted again? Will they be scapegoated? Will the Quidditch pitch become a Colosseum if Voldemort/Nero takes over Hogwarts in his quest to complete the Great Work of Salazaar Slytherin by murdering the mudbloods and blood traitors? Knowledge is a form of power and Salazaar was an educator, idolized by Voldemort. So for the wizarding community, Hogwarts is a place of power, a place to teach the children.
Scar on the Famous Forehead – Shema or “Anti-Shema?”
We have one marking that can be interpreted as either good or bad - Harry’s famous emblem on his forehead. In the first book of Rowling’s series, McGonagall doesn’t like Harry’s scar,21 yet Dumbledore says that the scar may come in handy. To quote Ron in the first movie, Harry’s scar is, “Wicked!” As readers and movie-watchers, we have concern as to whether the lightning bolt scar is “wicked” as in “Cool!” or “wicked” as in evil. The scar is “Cool!” in that Harry has abilities that make him a prodigy in the wizarding world. However, one of the abilities, snake language, is not well favored by the wizards as it indicates dark wizardry. We are certain that there’s a great mystery to be solved regarding the scar. Most fans of Harry Potter will even tell you that the last word of the entire series is supposed to be “scar”.
In the Shema, we have the Hebrew word “Owth”. It means, “a signal as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, mark, miracle, sign, token.” 22 From this definition, I would like to point out the words “omen” and “miracle.”
Here is another incidence where the word “Owth” appears in the Bible:
Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance”. And the Lord put a mark [Owth] on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. (Gen. 4:15)23
The Mark of Cain seems to match Harry’s scar quite well. Cain was a murderer of his own brother. Yet, God, who certainly has a ‘saving-people-thing’, put a mark on Cain to protect him. Harry was marked by Voldemort to be murdered, but Lily’s sacrificial death provided some kind of protective marking for Harry because it is a miracle he survived Voldemort’s Avada Kadavra curse. If the Voldemort horcrux lies hidden within Harry, as claimed by some fans, certainly a murderer lurks, parasitically, within our hero.
Also, one can’t help but notice that Voldemort and the term “sevenfold vengeance” seem very appropriate together.
Here is another example of the word “Owth” in the very first chapter of the Bible:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs [Owth], and for seasons and for days and years.” (Gen. 1:14)24
And in the beginning, we have Harry marked mysteriously and deposited at the Dursley doorstep.
Throughout the series, we see the Ministry of Magic and the student population of Hogwarts pivot back and forth between celebrating Harry as a savior and dismissing him as a joke or a threat. We also see Harry debating within himself whether he is the heir of Slytherin in the second book, fearing himself to be a death-dealing snake in the fifth book, and considering the role of “Chosen One” that has been applied to him in the sixth book. There is a duality to Harry and to his forehead mark.
In current Christian practice, there is a forehead mark that also deals in duality. Christians have a worship service every year that involves emblems on heads. On Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshippers as we are called to repent our sins. We are also to remember that we were created out of the dust of the earth and to dust we shall return. We are marked by our mortal and sinful nature.
The duality is that the ashes also represent Christ’s triumph over sin and death. Traditionally, branches of palms used on Palm Sunday the previous year, are burned and the ashes used for Ash Wednesday. The Palm is considered a symbol of victory. Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem was heralded with palm branches and he then triumphed at the cross for us. The palm ashes are symbolic of this linkage to Christ. Our sins will not win and death will have no victory.
Sinless Christ gained marks on his forehead from the crown of thorns at the crucifixion. Stags, with their crowns of antlers, were often used as images to suggest Christ.
So we have Harry with a mark on his forehead, a Patronus stag in tow, and romping about while some people call him the “Chosen One”. This all sounds very much like Harry will be the savior for the wizarding world.
Yet, we have scar duality. In Order of the Phoenix, Harry finds himself looking at the world from inside a snake at one point and sinking his fangs into poor Arthur Weasley. At times, he feels Voldemort’s maniacal glee when others are in pain.
Messiah, “mashach”, means Anointed One. Mashach is defined as: “to rub with oil, i.e. to anoint, by implication to consecrate; also to paint.” 25 Examples of anointed ones in the Bible include prophets, priests, and kings. Also, Christ is a word from Greek, “Christos”, for anointed one.
Speculation: There will be some sort of anointing of Harry if he is the true chosen one.
Speculation: Voldemort, for theological purposes, is the devil. He is the one that chose Harry and “[marked] him as his equal.” 26 This is why I sometimes question whether Harry is the true chosen one. Why should unworthy Voldemort be the guy doing the most important choosing?
Back to the Shema - Marks on Buildings
Having reviewed the “anti-Shema” markings, let’s return to markings that indicate goodness. “Write them on the doorposts of your house” say the Shema.
To examine markings as shields, barriers that keep people safe, the best example in the Bible is in the story of Passover in the book of Exodus. To avoid the plague that killed the first-born Egyptian sons, the Hebrews were told to sacrifice a lamb, and mark its blood on the entrance of their houses. When the Angel of Death saw the blood of the lamb marking their doors, he passed over those houses. So the blood mark protected them.
But not a dog shall growl at any of the Israelites – not at people, not at animals – so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. (Ex. 11:7)27
Dumbledore had to mark the cave entrance, the “doorway” with his own blood in the quest to defeat evil in Half-Blood Prince. For all we know, Dumbledore may have obtained a sample of Lily’s blood and made a shielding mark on the entrance of Privet Drive. “Whatever you say, blood is important.” 28
Slughorn splashed dragon blood on his own walls to tell a story.29 The story was to make it look as if Slughorn had died so the Death-Eaters would go away. So this blood marking was protective in its way.
The blood writing on the wall in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets tells a story about the Heir of Slytherin and gives a warning.30 The famous writing on the wall described in the book of Daniel is prophetic, a warning of doom for evil Belshazzar. A disembodied human hand appears and writes four words on the wall of the royal palace, indicating that Belshazzar has been weighed on the scales and found wanting and that the days of his kingdom are coming to an end.31
Speculation: This makes me want to see a withered disembodied hand write, “Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak” 32 on some wall and let Voldemort be the one to have disturbing dreams for a change. After all, Voldemort’s kingdom will come to and end and Voldemort has been weighed on the scales (blubber) and found wanting. Voldy, you nitwit!
Another speculation: We know that there are twelve uses of dragon’s blood. Could dragon’s blood be put on the doors of houses and prevent dogs (were-wolves) from attacking the innocent? For that matter, would dragons attack a place where they scent dragon blood?
Back to the Shema – Marks on Hands/Arms
In the Bible, arms and hands are often metaphors about strength. There are many quotes about arms/hands in the Bible. In Hebrew the word for arm is “Zeroah” defined as “the arm as stretched out, force, arm, help, mighty, power, shoulder, strength.” 33 Here are examples:
Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. (Deut. 5:15a)34
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power – your right hand, O Lord shattered the enemy. (Ex. 15:6)35
Harry, as seeker of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, has a specialty in outstretched arms. Even when sometimes his arms get broken (or even boneless), Harry still wields a mighty force.
There are also many metaphors in the Bible about dealing with enemies: you “break the arms” or “cut off the arms”.
Light is withheld form the wicked, and their uplifted arm is broken. (Job 38:15)36
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers… (Ps. 10:15a)37
Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house… (1 Sam. 2:31a)38
A humorous Harry Potter example of “arms” is Ron “disarming” his rival by tearing off the arm of the Viktor action figure.39
A more serious example is Dumbledore, by destroying an evil horcrux, has his arm withered.40 When you look at this injury metaphorically, Dumbledore’s might has been diminished forever. Dumbledore sacrificed his own hand. Dumbledore fought his own fight with his own power.
Voldemort, in contrast to Dumbledore, used Pettigrew’s hand, Harry’s blood, and his father’s bones to return to power. Voldemort did not have enough of his own personal power to physically return. Just like Diary!Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did not have enough of his own soul to return and resorted to stealing Ginny’s soul.41
Harry endured Umbridge’s quill which etched words on his hand. But what he wrote is, “I will not tell lies”. He did not tell a lie about Voldemort. “ ‘The truth.’ Dumbledore sighed. ‘It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.’ ” 42 By not lying about Voldemort’s return, by learning about the truth of Voldemort via Dumbledore’s Pensieve lessons, by teaching Dumbledore’s Army and thus empowering others, and by his steadfast resolve to find the horcruxes and destroy Voldemort, Harry will vanquish and disarm his enemies because he is mightily armed with truth, heart, soul, and love.
‘Can I not do with you, O house of Israel. Just as the potter has done?’ says the Lord, ‘Just like the clay in the potter’s hand.’ (Jer. 18:6a)43
The Hand of the Potter: In pottery, you shape and create ceramics. Harry begins his process of shaping the wizarding world into a world without evil Voldemort. Harry put his hands on Quirrell at the end of the first book:
Quirrell couldn’t touch his bare skin…Harry jumped to his feet, caught Quirrell by the arm and hung on as tight as he could. Quirrell screamed.44
Harry is mighty because he is armed with so much love from his mother Lily.
Speculation: It seems highly likely that at least one of Harry’s enemies will have a serious arm injury. Also, Pettigrew will switch allegiance to Harry, and use his hand against Voldemort.
Back to the Shema – Keeping
Keep [Shamar] these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. (Deut. 6:6)54
Cain murdered his brother Abel, who was a keeper of sheep. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” says Cain to God.46 The Hebrew word for keeper in this sentence is the word “Shamar” which means, “to hedge about, guard, take heed, keep, mark, observe, preserve, regard, save, sure, wait for, watch.” 47 In Rowling’s world we have several types of keepers: keeper of keys, secret-keepers, and Quidditch keepers.
The Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep [Shamar] it. (Gen. 2:15)48
“Privet” is a type of hedge often used in landscaping as a privacy barrier. Dumbledore put up a barrier connected to Lily’s blood to shield them from Voldemort. The protective spell that keeps Harry safe from Voldemort is located at Privet Drive, although the Dursleys are the worst kind of keepers for Harry. His life there is no Garden of Eden! The Dursleys treat Harry like a Cain, a person who has done great wrong.
In contrast, the Weasleys are loving keepers of Harry whenever they get the chance. Harry even likes their garden! “The garden was large and in Harry’s eyes, exactly what a garden should be.” 49
Back to the Shema – Chosen People
The Hebrew word for “holiness”, “Qodesh”, means “apartness, sacredness, holiness, and separateness.” 50 The wizards have set themselves apart from the Muggles. The separation for the Malfoys, for example, is a rigid boundary. They are boxed in by their prejudices. The Malfoys and other pure-blood supremacists, see the separateness as a firm boundary protecting themselves and their purity from the vastly inferior Muggles. They bring new meaning to the phrase, “Holier than thou”!
Dumbledore and the Weasleys support the separateness to the extent that it keeps everyone, wizards and Muggles, safe. In contrast to the Malfoys, the Weasleys are able to think “outside the box” as evidenced by their hospitality to Harry, Hermione and her parents, and Arthur’s work at the Ministry of Magic. The Weasleys, see the separateness as a protective necessity because they want to protect the Muggles from dangerous magical items, creatures, and dark wizards. But their barrier is permeable; the Weasleys live amongst the Muggles of Ottery St. Catchpole.
An essay about biblical markings is not complete without delving into the topic of blood sacrifice. So too an essay about the final book of Harry Potter would not be complete without delving into the topic of sacrifice. Lily has blood that Dumbledore trusts and her sacrificial death gave Harry life when he should have died.
A sacrificial lamb’s blood was marked on doors at Passover. Markings made a difference between whether an animal was chosen for sacrificial purposes or not in the Bible. The sacrificial lamb or goat should not be marked.
...that same day Laban removed all the male goats that were striped or spotted... (Gen. 30:35a)51
And Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the Azazel. Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin offering but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel. (Lev. 16:8-10)52
Azazel is a demonic figure. This name pops up in the Bible in relationship to the scapegoat, the goat that escapes.53 The Hebrew priest would confess the sins of the people over a scapegoat. The goat was then allowed to escape out of the wrongful barrier constructed by sin between God and us.
We put up wrongful barriers by our bad choices and need to tear these down to get back into closeness to God. Wrongful barriers keep in the bad things and keep out things that would help us flourish. “The Old Testament viewed a number of offerings and sacrifices as atoning ... Atonement removed the sinful barrier.” 54 The blood sacrifices, as described in the Old Testament era, were considered necessary to tearing down the wrongful barriers.
Over the years, current Jewish practices do not require ritual sacrifice of living animals. However, God is still honored by careful application of kosher food laws. These laws indicate that certain animals are good for consumption and these should be slaughtered in a proper manner causing the least amount of pain to the animal. The handling of the blood must be handled respectfully.
Christians believe that the crucifixion of Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate atonement. Christ died for our sins, and he breaks down all wrongful barriers of our own creation on our behalf.
Speculation: We have a Dark Lord who experienced rebirth. Why is unworthy Voldemort the only character to be revived? Doesn’t it seem logical to consider that we will see a Lord of Light? A Golgotha image leads the theologically intrigued Harry Potter fans, such as me, to wonder if we will have a character sacrificed and be brought back triumphantly.
In today’s world, we use the term, scapegoat, for a person, group, or thing held responsible for problems. The scapegoat bears the blame, yet had absolutely nothing to do with the problems. In the wizard world, we have ‘speckled’ Stan Shunpike locked up as a scapegoat. Stan, in a moment of false bravado, claims to be a Death-Eater.55 He is no more a Death-Eater than Crouch-Moody was a fairy princess! The Minister of Magic needs to show the wizarding world that his government is finding and locking up Death-Eaters, hence Stan is in the slammer. There isn’t a more classic example of a scapegoat than Stan Shunpike.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Marietta Edgecombe started her school year unspotted. When she did something quite wrong by turning traitor on Harry and his Dumbledore’s Army friends, Hermione saw to it that Marietta came down with a bad case of speckles.56 She had a chance at worthiness and she blew it.
The goat is a source of bezoars, which provides a protective barrier from poisoned death. In Sorcerer’s Stone, in the very first potion class, Snape asks Harry how to find a bezoar. Ron fans are thankful that Harry figured out to find a bezoar in Slughorn’s potion lab because it saved Ron from poisoning.57 However, before the bezoar ended up in Slughorn’s possession, it was found in the intestinal track of a goat.58,59
Speculation: Does Aberforth and his inappropriate goat charm problem as noted by Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,60 relate to acquiring bezoars?
A more speckled speculation: It also makes one wonder if a well-”bezoared” and well-spotted Weasley is going to become a scapegoat?
Back to the Shema – Heart, Soul, and Might
I believe it is with heart, soul, and might that Harry and the good wizards will prevail.
The word “Meod” used in the Shema for “might” also means, “vehemence, wholly, speedily, diligently, exceeding, far, louder and louder, fast, good, might, much, quickly, utterly, well.”61 This brings us back to the might of the Potter’s hand.
The word “Nepheth” is in the Shema meaning “soul”. Defined as, “A breathing creature, vitality, bodily or mental, any appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, desire, contented, lust, man, mortally, one, own person, self.” 62 The Dementor’s kiss is on the mouth, taking away the soul, the nepheth of the victim. This brings us back to foreheads because the pineal gland, the seat of the soul per Egyptian beliefs, is right behind the forehead.63
The word for “Heart” in the Shema is “Lebab” and is defined as, “the most interior organ, breast, courage, midst, mind, understanding.” 64 “Lebab” means all the things the English word “heart” means but with extras. All wrapped up in that one Hebrew word is heart, intelligence, and courage.
It is interesting that another word shares the same root. “Labab” means, “to be enclosed, to transport with love.” 65 This brings us back to enclosed protection and keeping. Love is the quality that Harry has that Voldemort knows not. Quirrell and Voldemort think, “There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” 66 Voldemort and his minions are wrong; “might” alone isn’t the answer. Loving with all your heart, soul, and might is the answer.
On a hunch, I looked up the Hebrew word for lion. It is “Lebaowth” which has the root word for heart “Leb” plus “Owth.” 67 Harry - Heart of a lion – that one!
Mark of 7/07/07
We will have to wait until the calendar mark of 7/07/07 (or later) when the final book is published to find out the answers to all our Harry Potter mysteries and just how thoroughly connected is Rowling’s work to spirituality.
All things considered, it is fortunate the final book does not come out on 6/06/06!
1. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Deuteronomy 6:4-9” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
2. Ibid. “Matt. 22:36-40, Mark 12:29-34, Luke 10:27-28” See also “Leviticus 19:18.”
3. Fishbane, Michael. Judaism. HarperSanFrancisco, 1987. p147.
4. Ibid. p109.
5. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Deuteronomy 7:6” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
6. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p142.
7. Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005.
8. Bassler, Jouette. “Calvary.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary, New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985. p150.
9. Wikipedia. “ Calvary” Wikipedia Encyclopedia. 2005-6. Wikimedia. 27 April 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golgotha.
10. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p125.
11. Ashliman, D L. “The Hand of Glory.” Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts. 1997. University of Pittsburgh. 27 April 2006. http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/hand.html.
12. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p641.
13. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p267.
14. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #8150.
15. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. pgs372-373.
16. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Revelations 13:16” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
17. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Greek #5480.
18. The Mysteries of the Bible. Ed. Reader’s Digest Association. Pleasantville, New York: 1997. p360.
19. Benko, Stephen. “Mark.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985. p605.
20. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p398.
21. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p15.
22. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #226.
23. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Genesis 2:15” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
24. Ibid. “Genesis 1:14”.
25. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. #4886.
26. Rowling. J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p841.
27. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Exodus 11:7” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
28. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p564.
29. Rowling. J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p65.
30. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, 1999. p138.
31. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Daniel 5:24” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
32. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p123.
33. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. #2220.
34. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Deuteronomy 5:15a” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
35. Ibid. “Exodus 15:6”.
36. Ibid. “Job 38:15”.
37. Ibid. “Psalm 10:15a”.
38. The Holy Bible, King James Version. “1 Samuel 2:31a” American Bible Society: New York. Reference Edition.
39. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p44.
40. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p58.
41. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, 1999. p310.
42. Rowling J.K, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p298.
43. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Jeremiah 18:6a” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
44. Rowling. J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p295.
45. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Deuteronomy 6:6” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
46. Ibid. “Gen. 4:9”.
47. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #8104.
48. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Gen. 2:15” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
49. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, 1999. p36.
50. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #6944.
51. The Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version. “Gen. 30:35a” Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
52. Ibid. “Leviticus 16:8-10”.
53. Kohler-Rollefson, Ilse “Goat.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985. p350.
54. Saldarini, Anthony. “Day of Atonement.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985. p80.
55. Rowling. J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p211.
56. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p612.
57. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p398.
58. The Alchemy Lab. Alchemy Electronic Dictionary. 2005 Alchemy Lab. 27 April 2006. http://www.alchemylab.com/dictionary.htm#sectB
59. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p138.
60. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p454.
61. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #3966.
62. Ibid. Hebrew #5316.
63. The Alchemy Lab. Alchemy Electronic Dictionary. 2005 Alchemy Lab. 27 April 2006. http://www.alchemylab.com/dictionary.htm#sectB.
64. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #3824.
65. Ibid. Hebrew #3823.
66. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p291.
67. Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Iowa Falls: Riverside Book and Bible House. Hebrew #3823.Bibliography
Alchemy Lab. “Alchemy Electronic Dictionary.” 2006. The Alchemy Lab. 26 April 2006. http://www.alchemylab.com/dictionary.htm#sectB
Bassler, Jouette. “Calvary.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary Ed. Paul Achtemeier HarperSanFrancisco:1985.
Benko, Stephen. “Mark.” Harper’s Bible Dictionary Ed. Paul Achtemeier HarperSanFrancisco:1985.
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