Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Fernando L. Canale

Second Advisor

Raoul Dederen

Third Advisor

Miroslav M. Kiš

Abstract

This dissertation analyzes Thomas Oden's theological method in order to understand its structural elements, and thereby, to facilitate a clearer comprehension of his commitment to the classic Christian tradition in the context of the increasing contemporary emphasis on postmodernism in Protestant theology. Given Oden's affirmation of the Christian tradition and his simultaneous commitment to postmodern sensitivities, the dissertation strives to examine how Oden is able to harmonize what essentially appears to be a dialectical situation. Thus, although the emphasis on tradition in Oden raises the perennial issue of Scripture versus Tradition, the postmodern question raises the issue beyond the usual Scripture-Tradition controversy to a fundamental concern regarding the compatibility of the postmodern agenda and the classic Protestant tradition. The introductory chapter defines the problem which Oden's Vincentian method is designed to solve, and delineates the objectives, method, and limitations of the study. Chapter 2 provides an overview of Oden's theological development, noting his major concerns and the influences that have shaped him. In this chapter Oden's shift from liberalism to classical orthodoxy is considered. Chapter 3 develops a formal, theoretical structure for understanding method in general. The formal structure developed in this chapter is subsequently applied in chapter 4 to describe and analyze Oden's Vincentian method. The final chapter evaluates Oden's method in terms of the coherence of its parts and the consistency of its application. In this chapter, some tensions in the structure of Oden's method are noted with a few suggestions regarding what adjustments to the system may need to be made.

Subject Area

Oden, Thomas C, Theology--History--20th century, Postmodernism--Religious aspects--Christianity, Liberalism (Religion)--Protestantism, Andrews University--Dissertations--Oden, Thomas C.

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