Anthropological Insights for Missionaries

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"This excellent book offers indeed what the title suggests: insights--deep, comprehensive, and very practical. . . . A good textbook in the field of missionary anthropology."--Gottfried Oosterwal, Religious Studies Review

The author's anthropological insights are meant to sensitize missionaries to non-Western cultures, to provide the tools for understanding cultural differences, and to increase the cultural relevance of the proclamation of the Good News.

The Author

  1. Paul G. Hiebert

    Paul G. Hiebert

    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...

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"This excellent book offers indeed what the title suggests: insights--deep, comprehensive, and very practical. They are offered with great warmth and wisdom by a person who is both an anthropologist and a missionary. . . . Hiebert's book offers a proper balance between anecdote and analysis, between story and structure. . . . With the addition of some questions for further thought and suggestions for reading, this book will make a good textbook in the field of missionary anthropology."--Gottfried Oosterwal, Religious Studies Review

"In this book Paul Hiebert has pulled together an impressive array of insights (from his own missionary experience and from the experience of other missionaries) which anthropology offers the would-be missionary. . . . The book has been written in an easy-to-read, straightforward style. Hiebert provides an abundance of primary sources for those who might want to pursue further individual insights. It is a book that will be valuable to mission executives, missionary candidates, and even experienced missionaries."--Jacob A. Loewen, Missiology

"This is a book that needed to be written. . . . No single volume focuses the insights derived from the study of anthropology so comprehensively and yet so practically on the life and work of the average evangelical missionary as does this one. While ideal as a supplementary text for a course in missionary anthropology, this book can be read with real profit by anyone engaged in or contemplating a cross-cultural ministry. . . . The book is replete with helpful tables, charts, diagrams, and carefully selected excerpts from other writers. The format is attractive. Illustrations abound. . . . The book is tightly organized and clearly written. . . . This is the kind of book that deserves to be read not only at the beginning of one's missionary career, but at five-year intervals thereafter."--Kenneth Mulholland, Evangelical Missions Quarterly

"A masterful tool. . . . [Hiebert] provides a sound treatment both of culture and the Gospel which denies the complexity of neither. He treats the task of living in another culture with much practical wisdom and a good deal of intellectual sophistication. He presents a thoroughly sound and persuasive approach to contextualization and the communication of the Gospel. . . . This is all done in clear, non-jargony language. Effective charts and diagrams sprinkle the text and go a long way towards illustrating difficult concepts and ideas. . . . This book is believable, convincing, and practical. I would recommend it for anyone involved in cross-cultural work. . . . It would be useful for courses in applied anthropology, missiology and missionary preparation, and the theory of culture."--Harley Schreck, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

"Evidence[s] [Hiebert's] remarkable success in translating the rather esoteric language of anthropology into a message that those missionaries with only a nodding acquaintance with the discipline can readily understand. . . . A superb book. . . . [A] valuable guide for those who are seriously trying to come to grips with the problem of incarnating the gospel message in a society in which they are strangers. . . . [It] deserves a wide readership. By adopting a writing style that avoids the excesses of academia, Hiebert succeeds in communicating a wide range of complex ideas in a stimulating and thought-provoking fashion. Both newcomers and more experience mission workers will find this book a source of inspiration as they experience the everyday reality of crossing cultural boundaries."--Wayne McClintock, International Review of Mission

"This informative and educational volume is a systematic reflection on missionary experiences and a collection of the helpful insights of an anthropologist. . . . This book can be a good guide to missionaries for obtaining the necessary sensitivity and clear perception in this intricate area of human cultures and their mutual interaction. . . . I would recommend [it] not only to missionaries in foreign lands but also pastors in a multi-cultural and pluralistic society."--Won Yong Ji, Concordia Journal

"Paul Hiebert has been more successful than most in maintaining a proper balance in the relationship of the gospel to human cultures. More importantly, his book offers many practical insights for missionaries on this subject. . . . While one may not agree with all the opinions set forth by the author, it is obvious that he writes out of a rich missionary experience. He also faces many cross-cultural problems of mission work which are rarely dealt with as forthrightly as in this book. Missionaries new and old as well as mission executives will find it both thought-provoking and useful."--E. H. Wendland, Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly

"[This book] is invaluable, not only for those entering the various fields but fully as much for every pastor, every member of mission committees and boards and for anyone vitally interested in fulfilling the Great Commission which our Lord has laid upon the churches for all ages. . . . Within relatively brief compass and in compact form all the 'essentials' are brought together here from a distinctively evangelical perspective. . . . The book is superbly organized and interestingly written, often with illustrations and examples from the writer's own missionary experience. . . . Here is a book not afraid to raise and ask penetrating questions."--Peter Y. De Jong, Mid-America Journal of Theology