After studying philosophy and theology in Berlin and Tübingen, he graduated in 1961, received his doctorate in 1968 and in 1971 was made associate professor in church history at the Evangelisch-Theologischen Fakultät of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, before becoming emeritus professor in 1995.
Professor church history University Ruhr, Bochum, Federal Republic of Germany, since 1971.
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He is a member of the Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Künste and since 2002 honorary professor of the Humboldt-Universität Berlin.
Married Ingeborg Posselt, May 14, 1964 (deceased 1996). Children: Georg, Ursula. Married Dorothea Wendebourg, January 28, 1999.