By Chris Post
Easter is just around the corner, raising the perennial question: was Jesus a zombie?
A quick search of the web uncovers any number of illustrations and memes that support this argument. However, aside from a good joke, does the theory hold up to what we know about zombies?
In the old tradition, a zombie is someone under the influence of drugs and hypnotic suggestion doing the bidding of a “master.” While Jesus did serve a master, there is little evidence that he did so as a result of drugs or hypnosis.
As established by writer-director George Romero, these kind of zombies are mindless reanimated corpses, bent on consuming the flesh of the living. While Jesus rose from the dead, biblical accounts show that he was still in possession of his faculties, conversing with those who saw him.
These kind of zombies are like those seen in 28 Days Later and many modern zombie films. They are infected humans whose higher brain functions have failed, leaving them as angry, feral cannibals. Once again, this description runs counter to those in Bible’s testaments.
Like the Norse draugr or the Nazi zombies of Dead Snow, these undead walk again, keeping their mental abilities. However, these undead are usually being punished for some sin or crime they committed in life. Alternatively, the return to exact revenge against someone who wronged them. Neither of these scenarios apply to Jesus.
So, while Jesus may have risen from the dead, his similarities with the “living dead” are few and, given all the differences, one would be very hard pressed to call him a zombie.