Justice for All


Justice for All

How the Jewish Bible Revolutionized Ethics

Jeremiah Unterman

JPS Essential Judaism Series

320 pages
2 indexes


March 2017


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

March 2017


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

March 2017


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Justice for All demonstrates that the Jewish Bible, by radically changing the course of ethical thought, came to exercise enormous influence on Jewish thought and law and also laid the basis for Christian ethics and the broader development of modern Western civilization.

Jeremiah Unterman shows us persuasively that the ethics of the Jewish Bible represent a significant moral advance over Ancient Near East cultures. Moreover, he elucidates how the Bible’s unique conception of ethical monotheism, innovative understanding of covenantal law, and revolutionary messages from the prophets form the foundation of many Western civilization ideals. Justice for All connects these timeless biblical texts to the persistent themes of our times: immigration policy, forgiveness and reconciliation, care for the less privileged, and attaining hope for the future despite destruction and exile in this world.

Author Bio

Jeremiah Unterman is a resident scholar at the Herzl Institute, Jerusalem. He is the author of From Repentance to Redemption: Jeremiah’s Thought in Transition and numerous scholarly articles. 


"Certain to inspire readers to seek further study of the Bible in its ancient context."—Stu Halpern, Jewish Book Council

"I recommend this book as a careful comparative study of biblical ethics, written by a scholar with strong Jewish values."—Martin Lockshin, Canadian Jewish News

"Unterman’s book will enable us to open the Bible and will help us understand what it tells us in our time, as well as in the days when it came into being."—Rabbi Jack Riemer, Jewish News Service

"This book will appeal to general readers interested in serious Bible study. . . . An excellent choice for academic, synagogue, and public libraries."—Barbara M. Bibel, Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews

"Justice for All is an eminently readable description of the Bible’s conception of ethical monotheism and will be of great interest to anyone who is interested in ethics, religion, Biblical or ancient Near Eastern studies."—Abba Engelberg, Jewish Political Studies Review

"Justice for All is an enjoyable read, is well resourced, and is helpful for those engaged in the study of the Old Testament and those who are working in biblical ethics. Unterman's book would be a welcome addition to many libraries, as it fills a void in the literature of religious ethics."—Andrew J. Spencer, Books at a Glance

“A wonderful work—insightful and important. Jeremiah Unterman never loses sight of the fact that the Bible’s goal is to create a holy, moral people. He convincingly demonstrates again and again that this is not just a modern reading of the Bible but a statement of its original intent.”—Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and Biblical Literacy

“Take notice. Jeremiah Unterman has written a major book that expertly documents the supremacy of the ethical in the Hebrew Bible. It will affect not only how you understand the Bible but how you live your life.”—Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and best-selling author of The Ten Commandments: Still the Greatest Moral Code

“What makes this a particularly worthy contribution is its clarity and rigor, organized by topics that are so relevant today: how we treat the stranger, forgiveness, reconciliation, and repentance and redemption.”—Dru Johnson, associate professor of biblical and theological studies at The King’s College and author of Epistemology and Biblical Theology

“The enduring value of this book is that it demonstrates the moral imperative that stands at the foundation of the Hebrew Bible and of Judaism.”—Marvin A. Sweeney, professor of Hebrew Bible at the Claremont School of Theology and editor of The Cambridge History of Religions in the Ancient World, volume 1

Table of Contents

1. The Jewish Bible’s Unique Understanding of God: The Ethical Relationship of God to the World and Humanity
2. The Revelation at Sinai: Ethical Implications of the God-Israel Relationship
3. Providing for the Disadvantaged: The Stranger, the Poor, the Widow, and the Orphan (with a Note on Slavery)
4. The Primacy of Morality over Ritual: A Prophetic Innovation
5. The Requirement of “Return”: The Development of Repentance from Torah to Prophecy (with a Note on Theodicy)
6. The Establishment of Hope: The Prophetic Promise of Redemption
Subjects Index
Index of Hebrew Bible Passages

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