Christina Grobmeier

Religious Studies
Graduate Student
Research Interests: Christian Origins, Aramaic Incantation Bowls, Near Eastern Archaeology, Jewish magic, Religion and science fiction/popular culture

Christy is currently an M.A. candidate, Graduate Teaching Assistant, and officer in the Religious Studies Graduate Student organization.

Her current research explores two distinct eras and the links between them. She came to Religious Studies via her fascination with Second Temple period Israel which dates from approximately 530 B.C.E. to 70 C.E., when it was razed by the Roman Empire. She studies the revolts leading up to the common era that set the stage for the various Messianic movements which led to Roman destruction of the province of Judea. Judaism continued despite the tragic loss of its fundamental fixture – that is, the Temple – but out of this devastation also arose numerous faith traditions wherein Christianity, ultimately, triumphed. Her original course of study focused on Christian Origins and these mysterious apocryphal sects, curious how and why Christianity flourished and the others did not.

She chose to attend UNC Charlotte and study under the expertise of Drs. John Reeves and James Tabor after discovering the world of Jewish magic and its seeming incongruity with canonical Judaism. She became captivated by Aramaic incantation bowls, used in Mesopotamia from the fifth to eighth centuries C.E. Spells were written on bowls designed for everyday use, transforming them into magical objects which wielded real power and possessed the ability to alter the outcomes of nearly any situation. The spells are primarily apotropaic, meaning they offered a prophylactic protection or aimed to cure an illness. However, a relatively small number of them curse individuals, which is her primary focus in this field.

In addition to reading and studying ancient texts, she employs archaeology in her research as a staff member on the Mount Zion archaeological excavation sponsored by UNC Charlotte. Just outside the current walls of Jerusalem is biblical Mount Zion, home to priests and the elite during the first century C.E. This dig is exceptional in a number of ways: not only is it the only American excavation in Jerusalem, we have also found the highest amount of murex shells (used to dye priestly garments), a golden Nero coin (only one other has been found in the city), and a large mansion which the team is set to excavate in summer 2019.

Because every hobby morphs into an academic endeavor, she reads and writes papers on religion and science fiction/pop culture for fun. She has written or presented on topics like religion and Doctor Who, and the podcasts Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead