Tel Aviv University
Albert J. Wood Fellowship

Research Topic

Kabbalah and American Pi: James Ralston Skinner and the Modernization of American Religion 


Julie Chajes is a cultural historian with a special interest in the construction of modern religion. She is currently preparing a monograph on the reincarnation theory of Madame Blavatsky—the “great-grandmother” of the New Age movement—which grows from past research projects that have examined modern forms of Kabbalah, occult movements, and Victorian Christian Zionists. Her scholarship focuses on syncretism in the construction of doctrines, sexuality and gender, Orientalism, and the relationship between religion and science in the Victorian period.

Chajes earned her PhD at the University of Exeter and has conducted research at the Goldstein-Goren Department of Jewish Thought, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Haifa.

Selected publications

  • “Alice and Laurence Oliphants ‘Divine Androgyne’ and the Woman Question” (Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2015)



Posing new questions about the theories, institutions, and paradigms shaping the study of nature, and about the cultural and religious consequences that emerge from such study.