UPDATE: An email was sent to me informing me of Paul Hiebert’s death on March 11. Thanks Linda. He was a great man and will be missed. I dont think I ever met him personally, despite studying at Fuller SWM.
“The Rev. Dr. Paul G. Hiebert, missiologist and missionary to India, has died of cancer on March 11, 2007 at the age of 74.”
ORIGINAL POST “Paul Hiebert Not Well” (Feb 20)
Mennonite missiologist Paul Hiebert seems to be finishing out his race in a hospice near Baltimore. According to an email, he is not in pain and does not pray for longer life. I read Hiebert’s “Cultural Anthropology” as part of my missiology training at Western Seminary. His thoughts on centered sets and bounded sets made a lot of sense and that meme has since reverberated through the emerging church over the past 2 decades. We are learning to see the church as people on a journey towards Christ as the center. There are also “fuzzy” sets and recently a few of us have been discussing “distributed” sets.
I have also quoted Hieberts ideas on a doxological or tropological theology that “is done in the context of worship, and stresses the mystical, sacramental and iconic nature of truth. The key question it addresses is, “How can we comprehend complex, transcendent truths about God and reality that lie beyond words, logic and human reason?” It uses nondiscursive signs and tropes such as icons, metaphors, types and parables to communicate transcendent truth.” (Paul Hiebert, Spritual Warfare and Worldview, p. 167, Global Missiology for the 21st Century, ed. William Taylor)
I have always wondered to what extent, if any, Paul Hiebert was influenced by the anthropology of Claude Levi-Straus, and if there was a direct connection down to Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of structuralism. Maybe if someone in the Baltimore area wants to visit Paul then they could ask him for me. Thank God for the contribution of Paul Hiebert. God make his days full of joy and peace and the satisfaction of a life well lived.