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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Greenberg

David Ross Ph.D. from GIAL Endorses the Tree of Life Version (TLV)

Bible translation is a sensitive subject throughout the world, especially in countries where the Holy Scriptures have been made illegal to own, read or share. Such is the case for many translators whose mission field is the Middle East, Asia and the African continent. However, those who feel the calling to put themselves in danger for the sake of the Gospel are mightily equipped, both spiritually and academically, through the foundations laid by the educational institutions that train them in their future fields. One such facility is the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in Dallas, TX, now known as Dallas International University. (Article updated January 7th 2020 to reflect organization name change.)

Dr. David Ross, Founder of GIAL and Dr. Jeffrey Feinberg

David Ross, Ph. D., President and Founder of the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (Dallas International University), recently encountered the Tree of Life Version (TLV) of the Holy Scriptures by the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society. The following are his remarks about the translation.

It is a pleasure for me to endorse the Tree of Life English translation of the Holy Scriptures. Of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world today, there are approximately 2,000 languages, in which there is a translation of the New Testament but not of the Old Testament, Tanakh. Speakers of these languages must sometimes feel disoriented and frustrated as they read their scriptures—there must be a ‘back story’ somewhere, referring to some previous events, because these are referred to often, but these readers have no means of accessing this material! As I read the Tree of Life Version of the Holy Scriptures, I am often reminded of this, because the teachings and events are being presented in ‘different’ ways. Sometimes it seems a bit strange—I use the index to find my way around the Tanakh, I use the glossary to remind myself of the meanings of Hebrew transliterations, I find reference to persons such as ‘Yeshua’ and ‘John the Immerser’, and the devotional material included is clearly not from a tradition with which I am familiar. But it is all part of the wonderful ‘back story’ of the Bible. So many of our other English translations miss this completely. And, through it all, comes this glorious picture of a holy God, consistently revealing Himself throughout history, with a message which doesn’t change. A message revealed first to God’s chosen people, the Jews, but a message subsequently accessible to all who have faith in Yeshua the Messiah … A message relevant for all people, everywhere, not just for those who were fortunate to grow up in a ‘Christian’ or ‘Jewish’ environment! It is a particular joy to me to see an English translation of the scriptures which honors the translation practices of both Jewish and Christian traditions. With an over-riding care for accuracy of translation, the translators have produced a translation which is reliable, easy to read, and understandable by readers from many faith traditions, while clearly deeply reflecting its Jewish heritage – not an easy task! One fascinating example of this is the care the TLV translators have taken with the translation of Divine names. Many English translations make little distinction between the Tanakh ‘Adonai’ (the name of the Holy One), and the Greek ‘kurios’ (often meaning ‘sir’ or ‘master’), often rendering them both as ‘Lord’ (or similar). However, the TLV maintains an important distinction, referring to ‘Lord God’ as ‘Adonai Elohim’ in the Tanakh, and the ‘Lord Jesus Christ’ as ‘Lord Yeshua the Messiah’ in the New Testament. I recommend the TLV for all who seriously want to know more about the ‘Jewishness’ of the scriptures – the freshness and vitality of the translation will invite the reader into a new appreciation of the ‘God of all time’.” David Ross Ph.D., Founder of GIAL

Prior to founding GIAL, David worked as a Bible translator in Central Asia. Though the president does not speak for all of GIAL, his endorsement of the Tree of Life Bible is based on his personal experience and time spent with the text.

GIAL provides education in the areas of linguistics, culture studies, literacy and World Arts. GIAL alumni work as translators, linguists, literacy workers, language surveyors, Scripture engagement consultants, ethnomusicologists and cross-cultural workers in a variety of fields. They have used their GIAL training to serve with over 60 organizations in 75 different countries around the world.

The GIAL Abraham Center is the only accredited graduate program in the U.S. to grant a MA degree in Abrahamic Studies. In his work at the Abraham Center, Rabbi Jeffrey Feinberg, Ph.D., collaborates with the other members of the faculty to articulate the Jewish, Christian and Islamic dimensions of the Abrahamic faith traditions. Some of the courses which Dr. Feinberg teaches include a Survey of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, Hebrew Exegesis, and Abrahamic Studies (with a focus on Jewish Studies).

As New Covenant Text Manager of the TLV, Dr. Feinberg is well positioned at GIAL’s Abraham Center to keep the text up-to-date with the latest discoveries in archaeology, language and Biblical scholarship, as those matters pertain to text accuracy in Bible translation.

The Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award Baccalaureate and Masters Degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics. All questions not related to accreditation should be directed to GIAL.

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