'I was born in Woking, Surrey, UK, of Irish parents and was educated in Manchester and the Lake District at a Catholic boarding school.'
'I read history at Oxford and then went to London University where I obtained an M.A. (history), M.Phil (history and philosophy) and Ph.D (sociology of religion). Both my M.Phil dissertation and Ph.D thesis were on Islamic sectarian movements.'
'From 1974-8, I taught in the Department of History at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and later worked as a producer in the BBC World Service. From 1978-2003 I was lecturer and professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies with special reference to the social sciences and religion and new religions at King's College, University of London. Since 2004 I've been going to Ghana and Tanzania to teach at Spiritan University College and Spiritan Missinary Seminary respectively.'
'At present I am a common room member of Wolfson College, Oxford University, and a professorial member of the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, where I teach the Anthropology of Religion.'