Obery M. Hendricks
Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D.
Ph.D., Religion, Princeton University
M.A., Religion, Princeton University
M.Div., with Honors, Princeton Theological Seminary
B.A., Political Science, Rutgers University
A life long social activist, Obery Hendricks is one of the foremost commentators on the intersection of religion and political economy in America. He is the most widely read and perhaps the most influential African American biblical scholar writing today. Cornel West calls him “one of the last few grand prophetic intellectuals.”
A widely sought lecturer and media spokesperson, Dr. Hendricks’ appearances include CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Fox News, Fox Business News, the Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC, NHK Japan Television and the Bloomberg Network. He has provided running event commentary for National Public Radio, MSNBC, and the al-Jazeera and Aspire international television networks. Dr. Hendricks has been a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Democratic National Committee, for whom he delivered the closing benediction at the 2008 Democratic Convention; served on the National Religious Leaders Advisory Committee of the 2008 Democratic Presidential campaign and served in the Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group at the U. S. Department of State under Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. He is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at The Democracy Collaborative in Washington, DC; has been an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for American Progress; was a Senior Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda social justice communications think tank; is on the Advisory Board of the Institute of Christian Socialism; and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Dr. Hendricks has been a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and Salon.com, a former editorial advisor to the award-winning Tikkun magazine, and a contributing editor to The Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. The Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation has called his work “the boldest post-colonial writing ever seen in Western biblical studies.”
Hendricks’ bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006), was declared “essential reading for Americans” by the Washington Post. Social commentator Michael Eric Dyson proclaimed it “an instant classic” that “immediately thrusts Hendricks into the front ranks of American religious thinkers.” The Politics of Jesus was the featured subject of the 90-minute C-SPAN special hosted by the Center for American Progress, “Class, Politics and Christianity.” The tenth anniversary of its publication was acknowledged at a major 2016 panel at the American Academy of Religion at its annual convention in San Antonio, TX. Governor Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, has called his book, The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic (Orbis, 2011), a “tour de force.” His forthcoming book, Christians Against Christianity: How Right-Wing Evangelicals Are Destroying Our Nation and Our Faith, will be published by Beacon Press in July 2021.
A former Wall Street investment executive and past president of Payne Theological Seminary, the oldest African American theological seminary in the United States, he is currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in the Department of Religion and the Department of African American and African Diasporic Studies; a Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary; and Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. An Ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hendricks holds the Master of Divinity with academic honors from Princeton Theological Seminary, and both the M.A. and Ph.D. in Religions of Late Antiquity from Princeton University.