Thomas Oden was born October 21, 1931 in Altus, Oklahoma, the son of an attorney and music teacher. He married Edrita Pokorny on August 10, 1952. They had three children: Thomas, Edward, and Laura. Oden was the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology and Ethics in the Theological School and Graduate School of Drew University from 1980-2004.
Oden received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma in 1953, a Bachelor of Divinity from Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology in 1956, a Master of Arts from Yale University in 1958, a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1960, and a Doctor of Letters from Asbury College in 1990.
Oden had a long teaching career, which included positions at Yale University, Southern Methodist University, Phillips University, Texas Medical School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, the School of Theology at Claremont, the General Theological Seminary, and Drew University. He also held positions at Ruprecht-Karl Universitaet in Heidelberg, Germany, the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, and Moscow State University.
A prolific writer, Oden wrote and edited books, articles, essays, and speeches on such topics as church and the world, church controversies, evangelicalism, Kierkegaard, the Methodist church, church discipline, John Wesley, postmodernism, and numerous others.
Throughout his career, Oden also served in many professional and political organizations, including the American Theological Society, American Academy of Religion, Phi Beta Kappa, American Society for Christian Ethics, Rotary Club, Americans for Democratic Action, World Federalist Movement, National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples. He observed the Vatican Council II (1965), participated in the White House Conference on Urban Initiatives (1985), peace walks, demonstrations, and many other religious and political conferences.
Oden retired from Drew University in 2004, and is now Faculty Emeritus.
Courtesy of the Drew University Archives