Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

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Title: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text
Created by: Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile
Date(s): June 2016 -
Focus: read-through
Fandom: Harry Potter
External Links: http://www.harrypottersacredtext.com/

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Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a Harry Potter podcast created and hosted by Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile, two Potter fans who were grad students at Harvard Divinity School. Their first episode was in summer 2016, and they finished the first read-through of the books in March 2021. The podcast began a second read-through of the books with Matt Potts, who studied at Harvard Divinity School and is now on the faculty there, joining Zoltan.

In each episode they read a chapter from one of the books, in sequential order, and discuss it by applying the same methods for reading a sacred text. These include structured reading practices from monastic Christianity and Jewish religious schools, as well as other monastic (Christian) or Jewish practices from the middle ages.

On this podcast, we ask: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? Each week, we explore a central theme through which to explore the characters and context, always grounding ourselves in the text. We’ll engage in traditional forms of sacred reading to unearth the hidden gifts within even the most mundane sentences.


There have been at least two episodes regarding J.K. Rowling and Transphobia, one with voicemails from listeners, and one with a journalist on race and trans issues, Imara Jones.

The podcast has done a number of live shows, events during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, and yearly fundraising and contributions.