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Zombie hunters

Students at Central Michigan University students are learning about the undead this year, thanks to a religion course that's exploring apocalyptic themes in the Bible and how they relate to popular culture.

The course tutor Kelly Murphy says she always wanted to teach a course on apocalyptic literature, and she is a fan of the zombie TV show The Walking Dead. Her class title is 'From Revelation to The Walking Dead.'

'Thinking about the end and imagining life in a different way is something that humans have always done,' Murphy said in a university press release.

Zombies are typically depicted in fiction as reanimated but unthinking corpses with a hunger for human flesh. Although they share their name and some superficial similarities with the figure of the zombie in Vodun - popularly known as Voodoo - their links to such folklore are unclear and often resented by practitioners in Haiti or Africa.

The class will also discuss popular novels and British movies such as Shaun of the Dead and 28 Days Later. Murphy's students will go on to discuss hypothetical ethical and theological problems that people could encounter in a post-apocalyptic world.

'The prevalence of apocalyptic stories in various media gives us a window into what people are worrying about, what they hope for and how they imagine they would react in the face of a cataclysmic event,' Murphy went on. 'In the same way, we can read the Book of Revelation ... and learn what ancient Jewish and Christian groups were concerned about.'

Kevin White, a student who is looking forward to the course material, said it is important to incorporate popular culture into classroom settings because it helps to give students a way to connect with subjects of study.

'Studying ancient biblical texts isn't most people's cup of tea,' he said. 'But, when you add zombies, it instantly becomes everyone's cup of tea.'