Religion: A Sheep Is a Sheep

Among the baffling problems facing missionaries today is how to convey scriptural concepts in the tongues of Stone Age tribes. The experts who were trying to translate the Bible for the Dani tribe in Indonesia were thrown by the verse "All we like sheep have gone astray" (Isaiah 53:6). Reason: most of the Dani had never seen a sheep. "So," says Linguist David Scoville, "we thought of using a pig as a 'cultural equivalent.' " But then the missionaries had to contend with the succeeding verse, believed by Christians to foreshadow the Crucifixion, describing a lamb that is quietly "led to...

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