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Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues [Paperback]

By Paul G. Hiebert (Author)
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Item description for Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues by Paul G. Hiebert...

Anthropology's contributions explored for cross-cultural understanding of epistemology, globalism, urbanization, church planting, and spiritual warfare.

Publishers Description
Anthropology's contributions explored for cross-cultural understanding of epistemology, globalism, urbanization, church planting, spiritual warfare.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.94" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.71"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1994
Publisher   Baker Academic
Age  18
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0801043948  
ISBN13  9780801043949  

Availability  2 units.
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More About Paul G. Hiebert

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! The late Paul G. Hiebert (1932-2007) was distinguished professor of mission and anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and previously taught at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also served as a pastor and missionary to India. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota and was the author or coauthor of numerous articles and books in the fields of anthropology and missions.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Anthropology > Anthropology
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > Missions & Missionary Work
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Archaeology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Missions

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Reviews - What do customers think about Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues?

Must reading for missionaries and pastors  Feb 23, 2008
Hiebert does a great job of presenting some very thought-provoking essays on questions of missiology and culture. In doing so he provides a valuable correction to the mono-cultural perspective of so many, who naively assume that the way things are done in their culture are the "right" way. I would recommend that that all would-be missionaries and pastors who have an interest in mission (which should be all of them) read this book. It will provoke serious reflection and thinking in important areas.

I do not per se agree with everything Hiebert says; personally I am not comfortable with how much he is willing to assign to the category of "cultural differences" and how little ends up in the "objectively true" category. However, this should not dissuade one from reading the book. Hiebert works very hard to fairly present the spectrum of views and will help your thinking whether or not you ultimately agree with him.
A Strong Start, Then Some Pitfalls  Apr 22, 2006
Paul G. Hiebert is a well known anthropologist and missiologist. He begins this book, unusually, with a prototheological phase -- a careful investigation of epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. "Most Christians," he writes, "do not examine their epistemological foundations." Thus he describes six major approaches to epistemology, methodically applying these to theology and missiology.

It was Hiebert who first introduced the term "excluded middle" to theology. This is originally a philosophical term which refers to the exclusion of "middle cases" between logical alternatives. The theological "excluded middle" has been a pervasive characteristic of the Church in the West. The Church has had "a theology of God in cosmic history", and "an awareness of God in natural history", yet it has tended to exclude "a theology of God in human history". This may refer either to God's present acts in "human history and . . . personal biography", or to the reality of "the spirit world". Thus Western missionaries have frequently found themselves in situations where they have been unable to address questions of "the middle level", to relate the gospel e.g. to the need for divine guidance or demonic influences.

In Hiebert's view, in order to contextualise the Christian faith, one needs to begin with two certainties -- at least, with two "maps". He proposes the necessity of a "metacultural grid" and a "metatheological truth". Once one has established these two universal systems, one may begin to "compare and translate", with a view to changing "old beliefs and practices". His universal "maps" are possible because, he writes, "no people confuse cows with pigs". That is, we may establish (by and large) objective universals for our task, since these reliably refer to reality. Yet things are surely not that simple. One may worship cows on the one hand, or create beef stroganoff with them on the other. This being the case, one surely would require something more radically transformative than "maps" for the task of translating culture.

One of the highlights of the book is an analogy that Hiebert draws between the Church and set theory. A set is essentially "a group" of things. However, the nature of sets can vary significantly. Two types of set receive particular attention, namely the "bounded set", and the "centered set". A bounded set, as the term suggests, has well defined bounds, while a centred set "groups things on the basis of how they relate to other things". Therefore in terms of a bounded set, we would classify the Church as a people who are "all the same in essence", while in terms of a centred set, "the church would be defined by its center, the Jesus Christ of Scripture". The trouble with the former, writes Hiebert, is that this may become too exacting and exclusive, while an advantage of the latter is that Jesus Christ becomes the focus of all that the Church is and does.

At the "heart" level, a lot of this book resonated with me. At the "head" level, I felt that Hiebert's arguments, after starting out strongly, began to fray. Further, his emphasis is clearly on "beliefs" rather than "faith" -- and on "practices" rather than "fruit" -- giving the overall impression of a scrupulous anthropologist working piecemeal at his task, rather than the power of a transforming relationship with Christ.
Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues  Dec 30, 1999
This is a collection of essays by one of the best missiologist/anthropologist writers of our day. Paul Hiebert provides lucid and stimulating papers on epistemology (also see his "Missiological Implications of Epistemological Shifts" (Trinity Press, 1999) Critical Contextualization (see also "Introduction to Folk Religion" co-authored with Shaw and Tienou (Baker 1999) and other great pieces on critical issues in cross-cultural ministry -- relevant not only for the overseas missionary or development worker, but also for people working in multicultural contexts in Europe, Canada and USA.
Excellent for those who are mission minded.  Dec 16, 1999
An excellent book which has helped me to look at aspects of culture which I never noticed before. Raising new, interesting questions and providing a deep insight into them, very much focused on the bible. Also a book from which you can get loads of quotes.

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