Jesus, the Resurrection, and Zombies

Last week in class, we were discussing 1 Corinthians. When we got to the discussion of the resurrection in chapter 15, the students seemed to be converging on an understanding of the resurrection as a primarily spiritual reality — in fact, they seemed to think Paul was envisioning us “becoming” a soul in the resurrection, as opposed to having an immortal soul that was freed from the body — and I attempted to steer them in a different direction by pointing out that Paul talks about a spiritual body. “In fact,” I said, “in the resurrection accounts in the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as having a body. He can eat in some accounts, and in one he still bears the scars of the crucifixion.”

One student without any religious background was utterly outraged by the idea. “He comes back to life and has a body!? That’s insane! So we’re all going to come back and be zombies?!”

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4 Responses to “Jesus, the Resurrection, and Zombies”

  1. myles Says:

    Yeah, Paul would have been grossed out by that as well.

  2. tripp fuller Says:

    that seems to be the response when you collapse the different affirmations of the resurrection into details about the body rather than a multiplicity of testimonies about an event.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I don’t think the distinction you’re making does the work you think it does.

  4. tripp fuller Says:

    most NT scholars would put the account of eating and the scars and such as having been developments in the tradition in response to different accounts – things proto-orthodoxy saw as divergent. like jesus eating is an attack on gnostic renderings gathering popularity in syria. to then take the different accounts serving different theological purposes in different communities, collapse them, and apply the accounts to Jesus to make him zombie like distracts from what seems to me the point of 1cor 15, namely the eschatological nature of the resurrection.


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