Thomas Oden

Thomas Clark Oden (born October 21, 1931) is an American United Methodist theologian and religious author. He is the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology and Ethics at Drew University in New Jersey. He was born in Altus, Oklahoma. He has a B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma (1953), a B.D from Southern Methodist University (1956), an M.A. from Yale University (1958), and a Ph.D. from Yale University (1960).[1]

Oden is best known as a proponent of paleo-orthodoxy, an approach to theology that often relies on patristic sources. He has published a series of books that he says are tools for promoting "classical Christianity." Oden suggests that Christians need to rely upon the wisdom of the historical Church, particularly the early Church, rather than on modern scholarship and theology, which is often, in his view, tainted by political agendas.

He has written, "The term paleo-orthodoxy is employed to make clear that we are not talking about neo-orthodoxy. Paleo- becomes a necessary prefix only because the term orthodoxy has been preempted and to some degree tarnished by the modern tradition of neo-orthodoxy" (Requiem, p. 130).

Oden says his mission is "to begin to prepare the postmodern Christian community for its third millennium by returning again to the careful study and respectful following of the central tradition of classical Christianity" (After Modernity...What?, p. 34). Oden is also active in the Confessing Movement in America, particularly within the United Methodist Church. He serves on the board of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.


  • Agenda for Theology, later re-published as After Modernity...What? (ISBN 0-310-75391-0)
  • Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series, which pieces together Biblical commentary from the Church's first millennium
  • Care of Souls in the Classic Tradition
  • Classical Pastoral Care series
Vol. 1: Becoming A Minister (ISBN 0-8010-6763-4)
Vol. 2: Ministry through Word and Sacrament (ISBN 0-8010-6764-2)
Vol. 3: Pastoral Counsel (ISBN 0-8010-6765-0)
Vol. 4: Crisis Ministries (ISBN 0-8010-6766-9)
  • The Transforming Power of Grace (ISBN 0-687-42260-4)
  • Ancient & Postmodern Christianity: Paleo-Orthodoxy in the 21st Century (Essays In Honor of Thomas C. Oden), edited by Christopher Hall and Kenneth Tanner (ISBN 0-8308-2654-8)
  • John Wesley's Teachings

Volume 1: God and Providence, 2012 (ISBN 978-0310328155)

Volume 2: Christ and Salvation, 2012 (ISBN 978-0310492672)

Volume 3: Pastoral Theology, 2013 (ISBN 978-0310587095)

Volume 4: Ethics and Society, forthcoming in 2014 (ISBN 978-0310587187)