The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(977 words)


1. The word zombi(e), or zumbi, comes from the Bantu languages (→ Africa), and means ‘enslaved spirit.’ Zombies are ‘un-dead’ or ‘living corpses,’ of whom it is supposed that they can be awakened to life for purposes of black magic. ‘Zombie’ can denote either: the spirit (of someone dead), as the soul separated from the body, or a ‘living corpse,’ a body without a soul. The zombie concept originated in the → Voodoo religion, but is also familiar in other parts of the Caribbean, and in Brazil.

In order to understand the phenomenon, it…

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Mattes, Claudio, “Zombie”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 26 February 2020 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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