He studied theology at the universities of Leipzig, Tübingen and Göttingen, and received his doctorate from Leipzig in 1881. As a student, Adolf von Harnack (Leipzig) and Albrecht Ritschl (Göttingen) were important influences to his career. From 1888 to 1926 he was a professor of church history at the University of Halle, where in 1907/08 he served as rector. Concurrent with his work at the university, from 1890 to 1925, he held title of Consistorialrat in the city of Magdeburg.
In 1886 he was co-founder of the journal Die Christliche Welt ("The Christian World").
- Leontius von Byzanz und die gleichnamigen Schriftsteller der griechischen Kirche, 1887 – Leontius of Byzantium and the writer of the same name from the Greek Church.
- Leitfaden zum studium der dogmengeschichte, 1890 – Guide to studying the history of dogma.
- Anti-Haeckel : eine Replik nebst Beilagen, 1900 – Anti-Haeckel: a replica with supplements.
- Grundlinien der Kirchengeschichte in der Form von Dispositionen für seine Vorlesungen, 1901 – Elements of the Church's history in the form of disposition of lectures.
- Lessings stellung zum Christentum, 1910 – Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's position on Christianity.
- "Nestorius and his place in the history of Christian doctrine"; Cambridge : University Press, 1914.
- Paulus von Samosata, eine Untersuchung zur altkirchlichen Literatur- und Dogmengeschichte, 1924 – Paul of Samosata, a study of Early Christian church literature and history of dogma.