I was born in 1958 in Gangkofen, (West) Germany. After receiving a degree in computer science, I spent a number of years working in the IT sector. Since my talent for languages was greater than my programming skills, my principal task concerned documentation. Increasingly, I drifted toward technical translation, a field in which I set up my own business and was self-employed from 1987 to 1997.
After having completed a Ph.D. in history of religions at Lund University (Sweden) in 2000, I was for three years employed as assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam. In 2004 I was offered a position as associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark in the Danish city of Odense. In 2005 I became full professor at the same university.
Since 2005 I have continued to publish extensively in my main research areas, in particular contemporary ‘alternative’ religion in Europe, and issues of rhetorical legitimation in the history of various religious traditions. I have also been involved in a number of international projects dealing with these themes. Furthermore, I am active in several editorial boards. Notably, I have since January 2009 been one of the two editors of the journal Numen (together with Gregory Alles).