Although born in Britain, I received my later secondary education and did my initial university studies in history (BA and MA) in Auckland, New Zealand. Subsequently, I did doctoral study at the University of Oxford, UK, followed by five years (1980-1985) teaching British civilisation at the Universite de Paris III, while pursuing my own studies in medieval thought (focusing on Peter Abelard) in connection with Jean Jolivet, at the Ecole pratique des hautes etudes en sciences religieuses. This was followed as two years as a Leverhulme research fellow at the University of Sheffield, UK, working with Prof. David Luscombe, on editing the writings of Peter Abelard.

I came to Australia in July 1987, when I took up a position at Monash University as Lecturer in the Dept of History. Since then I have become involved in developing the Centre for Religious Studies and in promoting studies in religion more generally, with a strong interest in interfaith work. I have had spells of study at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, in 1990 and 2000, and have also taught in Paris, at the Ecole pratique des hautes etudes (Ve section) and in the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales.

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