Obery M. Hendricks, Jr., Ph.D.

Senior Fellow, The Opportunity Agenda

Obery Hendricks is one of the foremost commentators on the intersection of religion and politics in America. The scholar Cornel West calls him “one of the last few grand prophetic intellectuals.” Social critic Michael Eric Dyson calls him “one of the greatest intellectuals and most exciting scholars in America today.”

A widely sought lecturer and media spokesperson, Dr. Hendricks’ has appeared on C-SPAN, PBS, National Public Radio, BBC, al-Jazeera Television, NHK Japan Television, Air-America, Radio One, the Voice of America, Fox News, Fox Business News, MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, the Bloomberg Network, and numerous local television and radio programs. He has been a member of the Faith Advisory Council of the Democratic National Committee, where he delivered the closing benediction of the 2008 Democratic Convention; served on the National Religious Leaders Advisory Committee of the 2008 Democratic Presidential campaign and currently serves on the Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group at the U. S. Department of State. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Democracy at Work in New York City, an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for American Progress and serves on the board of the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington, DC. Dr. Hendricks is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, an occasional contributor to Sojourners magazine and 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.”

“Essential reading for Americans,” is how the Washington Post described Hendricks’ bestselling book, The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus’ Teachings and How They Have Been Corrupted (Doubleday, 2006). Michael 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, “Class, Politics and Christianity.” His most recent book, The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church and the Body Politic (Orbis, 2011), has been termed a “tour de force” by both scholars and politicians.

A former Wall Street investment executive and past president of Payne Theological Seminary, the oldest African American theological seminary in the United States, Dr. Hendricks is currently a Senior Fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communications think tank; a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University in the Department of Religion and the Institute for Research in African American Studies; and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at New York Theological Seminary. He 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.