Fact Check

Was J.K. Rowling Hired to Rewrite the Bible?

Rumor: Pope Francis has hired 'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling to rewrite the Bible.

Published Apr 21, 2015

Claim:   Pope Francis has hired Harry Potter author JK Rowling to rewrite the Bible.


Example: [Collected via e-mail, March 2015]

Can you please investigate the following rumour:

The current Pope (Francis) has hired J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series) to rewrite the Bible to make it more accessible and believable to the next generation of catholics and christians. According to the rumour, J.K.Rowling has agreed to do it and the Vatican is eagerly awaiting the 1st draft.

Origins:   On 21 January 2014, the Irish web site Waterford Whispers News published an article positing that Pope Francis had hired Harry Potter author JK Rowling to rewrite the bible:

It is hoped the author, most famous for her Harry Potter series, can make it more accessible and believable for a new generation of Catholics and Christians.

While the specifics of the rewrite are not yet known, it is believed Rowling is tasked with producing a compelling tale that young Catholics and Christians can engage with. Figures such as dementors and other popular creations may take the place of less realistic Biblical creatures such as unicorns and the leviathon.

"We are very happy Miss Rowling has agreed to the rewrite, we keenly await the first draft," a Vatican insider told WWN.

The article was shared thousands of times on social media, and on 1 February 2015 it was picked up by WTF Facts, a website that claims to spread unbelievable yet true stories:

WTF Facts is THE MOST popular facts/science page on Facebook with currently over 5.3m fans. We bring our followers a lot of interesting facts and stories daily since 2011.

While WTF Facts did express some skepticism when they reported that JK Rowling would be rewriting the Bible, many readers remained convinced that the author of Harry Potter really had been hired to make the Good Book more appealing to young readers. As exciting as that may sound, however, there is no truth to the rumor. A disclaimer on Waterford Whispers News notes that the publication "is a fabricated satirical newspaper and comedy website."

Last updated:   13 March 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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