He was born in a Catholic family from south-western France. In 1970, he was doctor of Letters, then research director of the CNRS. Influenced by the work of Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch, he was particularly interested in cults, religious conflicts and Christianity (especially Protestantism and its nonconformist sects, Seventh-day Adventism). He was the author of a notable thesis on the Anabaptists and Mennonites. He was also member of the École des hautes études en sciences sociales. He died in Liancourt, Oise, aged 82.
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