Archive for the NWT Category

The nature of Zombies, scripturally speaking

Posted in Ecclesiastes, NWT on 03/09/2011 by caspianrex

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

5 For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they anymore have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion anymore to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun.  (NWT)

Although it specifically mentions “the dead,” this brief passage may give us a bit of insight into the nature of the undead as well.  “The living are conscious that they will die…”  Of course, most people hope that they will not be the unlucky ones who end up undead, rather than dead.  But what can a person expect if he or she becomes one of the living dead?  This scripture addresses that subject, albeit somewhat obliquely.  “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all…”  We see this situation clearly modeled in the traditional zombie literature.  Unlike the myths about vampires, who seem to be conscious of a great deal, zombies do not display anything we would normally describe as consciousness.  The passage goes on to explain that the dead (and by extension, the undead) do not have wages, which makes sense.  “Their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished,” which may sound good to some.  But, as zombie films have clearly shown, such an existence is bleak at best.

The NWT’s rendering is a bit confusing in the next line: “…they have no portion anymore to time indefinite…”  The NKJV reads a little more sensibly, “Nevermore will they have a share in anything…”  However, those wacky JWs may have stumbled onto something that touches zombie existence.  Time, of course, continues to march on after death.  Is it not curious that the NWT rendering discusses the dead’s share “to time indefinite”?  It seems somewhat odd to speak of the dead experiencing time in any way, and yet, unlike more traditional translations, the NWT’s version could possibly imply time continuing for the dead after death, but with the dead (spiritually dead or undead) having no ability to receive any enjoyment from the passage of time.  Admittedly this is a bit of a stretch, but one must admit, considering the wording of the NWT, it is at least plausible.  So, looking at the passage as a whole, we see a bleak existence for the zombie: he or she continues to experience time, in a sense, but without any of the conscious appreciation of the passage of time, or the emotional complexity that makes time have a personal impact, as it does for the living.  A living hell, in a very real sense.  (I suppose it depends on your definition of “real” in that sentence.)

Just a brief word about my own choice of Bible translations, as it relates to other posts here on the Zombie Bible Commentary.  The creator of the ZBC has favored the Lamsa translation of the Syriac Peshitta for his posts.  However, I have chosen the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as it is at least as bizarre as the Lamsa (if not more so), and some of the clumsy or oddly worded translation choices seem to lend themselves quite well to “zombie-centric” interpretations.  At least, that has been my impression thus far.  It is also readily available online at www.watchtower.org.  You can hardly find a more heretical translation available in today’s Bible market!