This is an edited version of a post from two Easters ago. I couldn’t resist giving it another go!
I know that you lot are used to getting scintillating, intellectually challenging, and delightfully witty posts from me here at the Tea Cosy. Which is why, today, I’m dealing with one of the most pressing issues of our time. One of the major misunderstandings of the (Western) world. Something that affects us all.
I’m referring, of course, to what is traditionally referred to as Zombie Jesus Day. In recent years a large body of literature has grown up asserting that Jesus, a reasonably historically-relevant Palestinian from the latter-day Roman era, suffered beyond the end of his life from infection with a zombie virus. The evidence given for this hypothesis is based on several sources from the (almost) contemporary literature which describe Jesus as having become reanimated after his demise. This is, of course, a major feature of zombie infection. However, a more in-depth look into the symptoms of zombification leads me to doubt that this was, in fact, the condition which Jesus suffered from. I contend, instead, that he was infected with the relatively more benign vampirism strain of the undead family of viruses.
Zombies and Vampires have several characteristics in common. Both are undead– that is to say, symptoms of their conditions develop posthumously. The posthumous condition in the undead is characterised not by the more common symptoms of rigor mortis, but by varying degrees of reanimation. Dietary requirements and preferences are also altered, with sufferers reporting an increased appreciation for consumption of human flesh, brains or blood, depending on the precise strain with which they are infected.
Aside from these two defining characteristics, however, Zombification and Vampirism diverge sharply. Zombies report an overwhelmingly compulsive desire to consume human cerebral tissue. When questioned on other topics, surviving researchers report an unwillingness on the part of zombies to engage in either interviews, focus groups or questionnaires, and an insistence on returning to the topic of their newfound preoccupation. Researchers who offered to engage in participatory forms of research proved subsequently unable to comment.
Despite their culinary enthusiasms, however, Zombies indicate no desire to critically engage with the theoretical and practical implications and details of consuming human cerebral tissue. Learning and intellect are also profoundly impacted by Zombification, as are personal hygiene and bodily integrity- although Zombies do not share our cultural preferences in these regards. Zombies do, however, show an interest in certain forms of exercise- in particular, ambling and stumbling- and show a remarkable ability to unsurvive even while lacking most or all previously-vital organs.
Literature referring to Jesus (generally referred to as ‘The Gospels’) does not report him as suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms or engaging in any popular Zombie cultural practices. While Zombies are considered highly uninteresting conversationalists even among neuroscientists who share some of their interests, Jesus was reported to have engaged in several posthumous social activities with many of his previous companions. These companions did not report any difficulty in socially engaging with Jesus due to the overwhelming stench of rotting flesh, and were, in fact, able to converse with him indoors. At no point did he attempt to consume their cerebral tissue.
From this evidence, it appears that while likely infected with some form of undead, Jesus was highly unlikely to have been a sufferer of Zombie. As I shall now contend, it is far more likely that he unlived with Vampirism, a significantly different strain of undead. When referring to Vampirism, I use the term ‘unlived with’ in preference to ‘suffered from’. Many of those infected with Vampirism contend that, while there are certain unfortunate side-effects to the virus, these are overwhelmingly outweighed by the benefits, and they do not consider Vampirism a serious impairment to their quality of unlife.
Vampires, as discussed above, experience several symptoms in common with Zombies- most notably posthumous vitality and overwhelming desires to alter their diets in favour of foods of human, as opposed to plant or animal, origin. While there are a large number of sub-strains of the Vampire virus, they share certain characteristics in common. These characteristics most notably include a diet consisting mainly of human blood, a high degree of charisma and magnetism, and the ability to transmit the Vampire virus voluntarily, through oral blood donations. They are also frequently described as particularly pale in appearance- a startling fact, when one observes the numerous visual depictions of Jesus as pale-skinned, unlike the overwhelming majority of his fellow Palestinians at the time.
Postmortal Bodily Integrity
While Jesus was not described as having posthumously followed a hematophagous diet, many vampires choose to conceal their dietary preferences from friends and acquaintances, citing a fear of discrimination if this is discovered. Social consequences for revealing hematophagy can be dire, ranging from social exclusion to cardiac staking and decapitation. His social circle, however, described in detail their delight at his posthumous vitality, and found him a persuasive and charming companion after his demise. Additionally, while he did not suffer any of the signs of decomposition, his display of his postmortal wounds was noted as an engaging party trick, providing immense amusement to his friends and acquaintances. Unlike Zombies, whose bodies decay at the same rates as those unexperiencing the more common Dead strain of postmortal existence, Vampires frequently retain injuries inflicted upon them at the time of their initial death, with their bodies remaining otherwise intact.
Most notable, however, is the primary method of transmission of the vampire virus. One of the primary characteristics of vampirism is what is known as immortality– vampires do not suffer from old age or disease, and only (permanently) die from accident or injury. This sharply contrasts with the unlife-expectancy of Zombies, whose unlifespans are limited by the ability of their bodies to resist putrefaction. The primary way in which this virus is transmitted is through oral blood donations- the vampire allows a human to consume his/her blood, possibly at the same time as consuming the blood of the human. Following this donation/exchange, the human may experience an immediate or delayed temporary demise, and then continue their unlife as a vampire. Prior to Jesus’s initial death, he shared his blood with several of his companions, indicating that if they participated in this they would share in his immortality.
As indicated above, the fact that Jesus did not openly follow a hematophagous postmortal diet is likely to be indicative of his awareness of the negative social consequences of ‘coming out of the coffin’, or disclosing his Vampire status. Contemporary texts suggest that forty days into his postlife, Jesus left his previous social circles through a process of levitation- an ability granted to carriers of numerous strains of vampire. He is said to have claimed to be leaving for a place called ‘heaven’, to meet with his ‘Father’.
Jesus’ use of ‘heaven‘ in this instance is both telling and, to the sympathetic ear, tragic. Living in a strongly vitalcentric culture, he likely faced severe marginalisation and oppression during the brief period of his postlife spent with his previous family and friends. This is a feature commonly reported of the immediate postmortal experience among Vampires, where attempts to continue dearly-held relationships are faced with ostracism at best, and outright attempts to end their unlives at an all-too-common worst. The prospect of a place free of such discrimination must have truly felt like a heaven for this son of Nazareth.
Equally telling is Jesus’ use of the term “Father”. As many Vampires are ostracised by their previous family and friends, they create new families among other Vampires, based on transmission of the vampire virus. Excluded by his previous family, Jesus would have turned to the person- a man, in this case- who saved his unlife through his hematophagous gift. In Vampire cultures, transmission of the virus becomes as transmission of one’s genes are in Vital society- the means by which families are created. This moment, known as Jesus’ Ascension, was the time when he finally accepted that his previous community would no longer allow him to be a part of them, and left to begin his new life with his Vampire family and community.
Given the above evidence, I contend that the historical figure ‘Jesus’ was highly unlikely, as many have argued, to have suffered from Zombification. What sources remain from this shadowy figure indicate overwhelmingly that he lived posthumously with Vampirism, and that, as with many members of the Vampire community, he likely found this to be a positive and unlife-enhancing experience.
However, those of us currently experiencing Vital life would do well to take note of the negative aspects of Jesus’ experience. While many of us may experience vampiphobic and vitalcentric leanings, we must remember that, unlike Vampirism, the Vital state is always a temporary one. If you found yourself a Vampire tomorrow, how would you want to be treated?
Additional Recommended Reading
- Zombie or Vampire? (modsmusings.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Vampire (jesusvampire.tumblr.com/)
- Why I Love Zombie Jesus Weekend (atheistrev.com)
- Easter…The day the very first Zombie came to life (draconiusgrey.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Resurrections in Pop Culture (houseofgeekery.com)