It is with great sadness that scholars of religion throughout the world learned of the death, after a short illness, of Jim Beckford, one of the foremost of contemporary sociologists of religion. His writings have been influential, not merely in academia, but also in informing international policy in a number of practical areas, particularly on issues relating to new religious movements and the prison service.

Having obtained a First Class BA in French Studies at the University of Reading in 1965, Jim moved over to the sociology department where he both taught and researched for a PhD, later published as his widely acclaimed monograph, The Trumpet of Prophecy: A Sociological Study of Jehovah's Witnesses (Blackwell, 1975). In 1973 he moved to Durham University, then, in 1988, took up a one-year appointment at Loyola University in Chicago, returning to England in 1989 to become Professor of Sociology at the University of...

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